The future of healthcare is digital.
Solving minor and major problems alike, digital therapeutics is providing all healthcare stakeholders with benefits and opportunities that did not exist before.
Here’s a brief account of what digital therapeutics has in store for healthcare.
Benefits of digital therapeutics
The top 4 benefits of digital therapeutics include:
Benefit #1: It provides proven outcomes for the treatment
Since automation is a key component of digital therapeutics, it works only around validated interventions to provide credibility to its output.
So you’ll find methodologies promoting better outcomes and compliance used as a base for digital therapeutics.
Benefit #2: It mitigates the financial burden
The financial burden of healthcare has always been the cause of disparities in health accessibility.
In 2020, almost 38% of people in the US reportedly skipped health care intervention because of financial burdens.
Improving the accessibility to healthcare via digital therapeutics presents a low-cost option in this regard. These solutions are based on remote plans, not requiring patients to shell too much money out of their pockets.
Benefit #3: It provides comprehensive care to patients
Digital therapeutics takes healthcare beyond hospitals and clinics. Its constant and continuous monitoring capabilities improve health outcomes.
It is also a means to deliver good care, as remote consultation can be used to address all patient queries patiently during the recovery phase. This accounts for better adherence to the practitioner’s suggestions as well.
Benefit #4: It facilitates updated reporting
Digital therapeutics works in conjunction with technologies like artificial intelligence and IoT. These enable regular data and analytics reporting to present a clear and consolidated picture before the physician.
Comprehensive reports help decide future treatment plans that are more effective than conventional ones.
Challenges of digital therapeutics
Here are some obstacles to the success of digital therapeutics.
Challenge #1: Regulatory problems
Clearance and approval from the FDA are necessary for any healthcare product.
Clearance primarily depends on the similarity of your product with existing ones, and approval requires rigorous testing. And both of these aspects are prone to ambiguity in the case of digital therapeutic solutions.
Challenges #2: Physician recommendations
From 13% in 2016 to 19% in 2019, the rise in the adoption rate for digital therapeutics is significant.
But, the percentage is still insufficient for a profitable business to thrive, at least in healthcare.
Since we are still transitioning from traditional healthcare delivery models, the role of physicians in adopting and recommending digital therapeutic solutions is immense.
Challenge #3: Payment and distribution pathways
Digital therapeutics cannot remain limited to consultation alone if it has to scale as an industry.
For accommodating other aspects of healthcare, the costs will rise.
To provide a viable payment pathway to customers, including insurance reimbursements, owners of digital therapeutic products will have to look for many new collaborations and approvals.
Challenge #4: Lack of trained professionals
If physicians and healthcare providers interested in using digital therapeutics are unaware of AI’s benefits in treatment, the whole purpose is defeated.
So, the launching of digital products has to be accompanied by training professionals to leverage the benefits of digitization.
Prospects in digital therapeutics
Here’s what you can expect in the future.
Prospect #1: Administrative support
Laws like the 21st Century Cures Act will make it easier for digital therapeutic companies to launch breakthrough products.
Besides, FDA’s Breakthrough Devices program will also help deliver valuable feedback at all stages of product development so that rejection chances are lower.
Prospect #2: More coverage for neuroscience indications
Healthcare accessibility is a significant challenge for the neurological patient population.
The upcoming digital therapeutic projects focus on encompassing delivery models for various conditions, including schizophrenia, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, etc.
Prospect #3: Great improvement in health outcomes
With the percentage of people using smartphones rising exponentially, digital therapeutics’ penetration will increase too.
This will enhance healthcare delivery models, reduce disparities, and improve outcomes.
Prospect #4: Structured assessment
Regulatory authorities are now working with mature digital therapeutic startups to make structured plans for assessment. This will help remove all ambiguities from the regulatory process.
The final argument
We were probably a little late in realizing healthcare, like any other industry, requires innovation, and digital therapeutics is a formidable step in that direction.
With all its benefits in perspective, it will be interesting to see how the concept develops in the future while tackling all its existing challenges.