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Peer-reviewed studies show better-quality outcomes from digital therapeutics, either alone or in aggregation with conventional protocols, in an extensive range of indications, including ADHD, cancer, asthma, schizophrenia, and insomnia.
FREMONT, CA: Investments in digital-therapeutics businesses in the U.S. have risen by an average of 40 percent a year over the past years to reach over $1 billion in 2018. Investors’ interest mirrors the burgeoning demand for digital-therapeutic tools and products across the healthcare ecosystem—demand that two main trends have sustained.
First is the technological progression that makes accessible ever more significant amounts of data from which advanced analytics can mine insights. It has enabled the creation of personalized hardware, predominantly smartphones, and wearables. Second is the increasing body of evidence that digital interventions work. Peer-reviewed studies show better-quality outcomes from digital therapeutics, either alone or in aggregation with conventional protocols, in an extensive range of indications, including ADHD, cancer, asthma, schizophrenia, and insomnia.
These trends advance the utility of digital therapeutics and, hence, attention from all healthcare system stakeholders. Patients familiarized to digital consumer applications want suitable and informative healthcare products. While physicians, many of whom are digital natives, are keen to achieve their patients and businesses digitally. Furthermore, providers and payers want digital tools that help them serve superior numbers of patients more efficiently and at a lower cost. Pharmaceutical and medical-device firms are seeking to develop digital solutions that expand current therapies and substitute new ones. Besides, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), eager to hearten digital innovation in healthcare, is developing the regulatory framework accordingly.
A peep at some of the start-ups with products coming to market gives a sense of numerous approaches to healthcare problems that these new digital therapies are employing. These products include video games to treat behavioral and mental and health issues; a digital therapeutic platform that integrates neurological music therapy, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and sensors to help patients who have suffered a stroke or other neurological disorder to rebuild motor skills. It also comprises a smartphone app that can conduct electrocardiograms anytime and anywhere.
Simultaneously, large technology companies are coupling their data-gathering and analytic capabilities with their vast scales to develop a new healthcare infrastructure. Altogether, it is not hard to envisage the emergence of a different healthcare system driven by digital technologies in the upcoming years.