Digital Therapeutics: a way for patients to treat, manage, or prevent disease guided by evidence
Treating, managing, or even preventing diseases can be exhausting for a patient and incredibly expensive for the healthcare system. Luckily, Digital Therapeutics (DTx) are becoming more and more popular and completely changing the way people receive care.
We put together a breakdown of what Digital Therapeutics are and why some of our partners, such as pharmaceutical giant Roche are already leveraging technology to double down on it.
What is Digital Therapeutics, and how does it work?
Digital Therapeutics is changing the entire way we can detect, treat, and manage medical conditions and diagnoses — which can not only increase life expectancy but is likely to give patients a higher quality of life. This might look like: an app backed by clinical evidence sending you a reminder to take vital medication or track blood sugar levels and recommend whether you should modify your food intake, exercise, and more. In fact, studies have shown that Digital Therapeutics can improve medication adherence in diabetes. Suddenly, patients can stay on top of medical conditions without needing medical professional interference, which is impressive if you ask us.
These companion apps can be used alone or combined with other medications. It’s a new approach to healthcare — rather than being sent home with a prescription for medicine and a list of instructions from your doctor, we believe that in the future, you’ll be prescribed not only medication but also a digital product as well. We’ve already covered some aspects of prescription apps in our insight on DiGA: Health apps on prescription.
Why Digital Therapeutics makes sense
Healthcare systems all over the world are under immense pressure right now. Not only because of the pandemic, but generally, many are understaffed and are struggling to deliver high-quality healthcare.
We can clearly see that Digital Therapeutics can close the gaps traditional healthcare systems are showing. They can also allow for a more data-driven approach to tracking pharmaceutical performance and may give pharma companies the opportunity to have more direct and personal contact with patients — something they never really had before.
In our opinion, these are the biggest reasons why Digital Therapeutics makes sense:
- They’re providing evidence-based solutions backed by actual data and clinical evidence and can assist healthcare professionals in making quicker and more informed decisions.
- They are increasing the ability of patients to access healthcare from anywhere with a smartphone and get the care they need instantly. Providing that care in different languages is also easier to achieve because translating an app is usually easier than having medical professionals learn multiple languages.
- Up to now, clinicians couldn't offer patient care at home— it simply wasn't feasible. But now, home care is possible.
- These types of products must adhere to the same regulatory compliances as traditional medical devices, ensuring that the quality of healthcare provided is of the highest standards.
Digital Therapeutics examples: chronic and non-chronic disease management made simple
A great example of Digital Therapeutics is mySugr. mySugr offers an app that can be combined with an insulin monitor for diabetes patients to manage their medical condition and live a close to normal life. Based on your sugar levels, the app will give you indicators, tips, and warnings when it comes to your diet and more. These tips are based on clinical evidence and provide patients with immediate, affordable patient care.
Another prime example is Propeller Health’s platform — a digital therapeutic that helps asthma patients use their inhalers properly and monitors their disease activity, so they can better manage their condition. You can even connect sensors to the inhalers you already have, and they will track when you use them. The app learns over time when you have flare-ups and indicates when it’s time to take medication — making asthma management not only easier for patients but simpler.
Are Digital Therapeutics products safe?
Like the medicine you buy in your local pharmacy or a defibrillator you find in your local town square, digital therapeutic products must comply with national Regulatory Agencies and meet specific manufacturing requirements. The product claims also need to be supported by clinical evidence, and even the marketing claims need to be authorized. Depending on where you're located, this might be the FDA in the US, Notified Bodies as well as national authorities in Europe, or similar.
Why healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies should be thinking about investing in Digital Therapeutics
While it might be a concern that Digital Therapeutics will replace traditional healthcare and pharmaceuticals — to us, it’s incredibly apparent that this will never be the case.
It can be used to enhance your service, provide better healthcare, and finally get direct contact with patients who take your medication. These are the main ways we see how pharmaceutical companies can leverage Digital Therapeutics:
Direct patient contactOne of the biggest challenges of pharmaceutical companies is the lack of direct contact with the patient. Digital Therapeutics could open up an avenue for pharmaceuticals to have direct contact with patients and provide them with the information they need.
Early diagnostics and interventionTechnology like XUND’s Medical API can enable healthcare providers such as insurers to help patients identify their disease early on and find pharmaceutical treatments immediately.
AdherenceDigital Therapeutics can help patients remember when and how to take their medication — improving adherence and minimizing human error.
Ensure correct dosageStudies have shown that it is common to prescribe equal drug doses to women and men right now, which can contribute to female-biased adverse drug reactions. Digital Therapeutics can use indicators like body weight, gender, and lifestyle choices to provide dosage adjustments in seconds.
Real-time data insightsUnderstanding patient experiences better will enable more data insights and real-world evidence that can accelerate the process of R&D, identify trends, and make future predictions.
How the technology of XUND can accelerate the development of Digital Therapeutics
XUND can significantly cut down the development time of Digital Therapeutics. By integrating the app or API based technology, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies can:
- Build their own digital patient journey and transform unstructured data collected from patients into actionable insights.
- Deliver evidence-based digital therapeutics to both patients and healthcare professionals to prevent, manage, or treat the most prevalent diseases globally.
- Provide a medical device that is certified, CE marked and adheres to a quality management system according to ISO 13485 — aka a reliable source of medical information.
We have recently partnered with one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, Roche and its subsidiary RoX Health. By joining forces with pharmaceutical companies such as Roche, we can create endless opportunities to connect and develop the digital health landscape. Want to learn more about how your pharmaceutical company can integrate and leverage Digital Therapeutics? Find out more about how to digitize patient interactions and translate data into real-world evidence here.