Pelvic floor exercise tracker Elvie has been going from strength to strength since winning Best R&D Product award at the AXA PPP Health Tech & You Awards 2015, a category that looked for up-and-coming innovations that push the boundaries of health technology.
Elvie is a ‘small pebble shaped pod’ worn on the inside and designed for women of all ages to help strengthen their pelvic floor muscles. The pelvic floor supports the bladder and the bowels, and helps to control when you go to the toilet.
Weakened pelvic floor muscles can lead to problems such as urinary incontinence (UI), the unintentional passing of urine. Between 3 and 6 million people in the UK experience UI and it affects twice as many women as men.
Elvie aims to educate women on the importance of pelvic floor exercises as they age, after they’ve had a baby, or if they do a lot of high impact sports. The device helps with exercises by using force and motion sensors to give real time feedback via a smartphone app.
CEO of Elvie, Tania Boler, explains how the Health Tech & You Awards had an impact on the continuing development of the innovation: ‘The awards were very high profile, and the partnership between AXA PPP healthcare, 2020Health and the Design Museum was really great.’
‘The awards raised awareness of Elvie through word of mouth and the press, which in turn meant we were seen as one of the industry leaders.’
‘In the same week, we won Best Start Up at the Wearable Technology Show 2015.’
What’s next for Elvie?
Tania described how they are shifting focus from development of the device to raising awareness of the importance of core strength exercise: ‘We wanted to shift from development to educating women on how Elvie could be helpful to them and to be conscious of their pelvic floor health.’
In line with this shift in focus, Elvie are currently preparing to launch a social media campaign, alongside partners Lulubaby, a London-based support group for mothers and mothers to be, and boutique fitness clubs Barrecore and Lomax, to make talking about women’s intimate health the norm.
‘We want to continue to empower women to take control of their core strength and focus on the prevention of weakened pelvic floor.’
‘There has been a big gap in the market for health technology that specifically addresses women’s health issues, which are often personal and discreet,’ Tania adds.
‘For those venturing into the health technology world, it’s important to focus on the market need. During the development of Elvie, I gained this knowledge after talking to over 40 physiotherapists and over 50 women of all ages, by asking them what they would want out of a wearable.’
‘Much medical technology is not designed with the end user in mind, and it’s important to clarify what the needs of the users are.’
For more health information, please visit our Health and Wellbeing centre. If you want to know more about pelvic floor health, why not ask one of our experts?
Visit theAXA PPP Health Tech & You site for the latest on our 2016 initiative and awards.