When we read News Headlines like these…

“Pharma giants like Novartis and Sanofi are betting that the future of healthcare looks more like an app or sensor than a prescription – Business Insider”

“Digital Therapeutics: The Future of Health Care Will Be App-Based” – Forbes

“Google and GSK form venture to develop bioelectronic medicines” – The Guardian

The new Apple Watch has a heart monitor and the FDA approves” – NBCNEWS

…it certainly evokes an interest about implications of digital technology into healthcare set up. let us try to understand, what digital therapeutics are & why pharma companies are positively pursuing this as the future of healthcare.

What is Digital Health?

Digital health aims to make the healthcare delivery better, more personalized and precise. It refers to the use of digital technologies in individual’s health, healthcare & society. Digital health leverages data and communication technologies to make the healthcare delivery convenient & organized with quick decision-making abilities.

Six Fast Growing Digital Health arms –

The digital health technologies include both hardware and software solutions including-

– Telemedicine

– Cloud-based analysis

– Email, Mobile phone applications

– Text messages

– Wearable & Sensory devices

– Remote monitoring sensors.

It is a multi-dimensional domain which involves many stakeholders including-

-Health Care Practitioners

-Research wings with expertise in healthcare

-Digital Engineering

-Public health experts & Health economics

-Management Professionals

-Regulatory Bodies (Digital Therapeutics are evidence-based products which are usually approved by regulatory authorities).

What is Digital Therapeutics?

Digital Therapeutics (DTx)Combines Technology and Evidence-based Medicine to Transform Personalized Patient Care. It’s no more a futuristic term, it has already become a reality.  DTx is swiftly getting integrated into the healthcare delivery ecosystem & it is strongly influencing the ways healthcare is provided to masses throughout the world. Data is a commodity now & the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse data  in order to design customized DTx delivery is becoming a consolidated solution to healthcare as we move ahead with a vision of Health for All.

With the advent of Digital therapeutics, the healthcare delivery frameworks are changing, definitions are changing & new behavior patterns are emerging from Pharma companies, Clinicians, Para-medics, Patients, Regulatory Bodies as well as health policy makers.

The following image gives few examples of digital therapeutics applications in healthcare industry-

How Digital Therapeutics (DTx) are going to improve healthcare?

-Addressing Unmet health care needs by providing new therapy options

-Augmenting the therapeutic effects of other therapies by providing synergistic effects

-May replace/augment current treatment therapies due to ease of use, convenience & data analytics ability.

-Once approved by regulatory bodies like FDA etc, has potential to become prescription product.

-Quick decision making due to strong data analytics results & significant success rates of therapy

-Both customized & mass level health care delivery possibility.

-Ability to get integrated into patient lifestyle with ease & patients also feel receptive to digital technology.

Digital Therapeutics Categories

Different Digital therapeutics vary in regulatory scrutiny & requirements, ease of access to patient & roles in treatment. It can be divided into categories as follows:

Today, Digital Therapeutics has emerged as a niche segment of medicines & the future looks positive for this. The past decade has shown a ‘J’ shaped curve in the growth of tech-based companies & this clearly shows that people are more receptive as well as sensitized to adapt to technology for their benefit. Health policy makers must feel positive about this change as Digital Therapeutics is certainly going to augment the efforts which are being taken to make “Health for All” a reality for this world.

References:

Bhavnani, Sanjeev P.; Narula, Jagat; Sengupta, Partho P. (7 May 2016). “Mobile technology and the digitization of healthcare”. European Heart Journal. 37 (18): 1428–38. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehv770. PMID 26873093.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/eladnatanson/2017/07/24/digital-therapeutics-the-future-of-health-care-will-be-app-based/#14560ec67637

https://www.businessinsider.in/Pharma-giants-like-Novartis-and-Sanofi-are-betting-that-the-future-of-healthcare-looks-more-like-an-app-or-sensor-than-a-prescription/articleshow/68084606.cms?fbclid=IwAR26C824oOJWiAtSL0ZMC5jDaCBUk96U93biloOOKl1B_peVGvhwMNP0DZY

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/aug/01/google-gsk-bioelectronic-medicines-verily-life-sciences-alphabet

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/new-apple-watch-has-heart-monitor-fda-approves-n908976

Widmer, R. Jay; Collins, Nerissa M.; Collins, C. Scott; West, Colin P.; Lerman, Lilach O.; Lerman, Amir (April 2015). “Digital Health Interventions for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 90 (4): 469–80. doi:10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.12.026. PMC 4551455. PMID 25841251.

“Digital health”. Food and Drug Administration. US Department of Health and Human Services. 30 August 2016. Archived from the original on 12 November 2016.

https://www.dtxalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/DTA-Report_DTx-Industry-Foundations.pdf

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