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Digital Therapeutics: The Next Gen Healthcare

Digital Therapeutics (DTx) is the blend of medical intervention with digital platform. DTx unites software and drug or devices for better health monitoring, prevention and overall management resulting in better health outcome and lower healthcare expenditure.

Digital Therapeutics  are being integrated into clinical practice across wide range of chronic disease management. The major focus area remains the management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, substance abuse, asthma management, insomnia, PTSD, cardiac health and mental ailments like schizophrenia, ADHD, depression, among others. DTx comprises a wide range of products and service platforms types including mobile apps, wearable devices and eHealth and telemedicine platforms.

Large numbers of companies are coming up with digital wellness technology apps, with more than 350,000 health apps available in the market. The need to separate the same from effective platform has led to the development of regulations for digital therapeutic platform.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the mobile application platform to treat substance abuse, alcohol addiction, marijuana, and cocaine addiction. In 2013, WellDoc was the first U.S. FDA approved digital prescription app that claimed to help diabetes management via mobile app. In 2017, Pear Therapeutics launched a program aiming to curb substance abuse. This was the first prescription therapeutic that claimed to improve clinical outcomes in a disease.

Novartis AG entered in to collaboration with Pear Therapeutics in 2018 to develop software applications to treat patients with multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia. The government in North America and Europe are also showing positive approach towards the acceptance of the digital therapeutics. For instance, U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) approved the reimbursement of ActiPatch, a wearable device for chronic pain management.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also announced reimbursement of various digital therapeutic programs for diabetes prevention to encourage the adoption of technology driven healthcare.

Innovation in science and technology will transform the healthcare tomorrow leading to a better patient outcome. Digital therapeutics holds a great future to enhance patient care and create efficient treatment. However, the complexities in current healthcare scenario and cost associated to robust clinical trials will curtail the development of suite of digital interventions.

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