Digital Therapeutics- Everything You Need to Know

The healthcare world has been going through many changes in the past few years, with digitalisation growing tremendously. There have been better treatment opportunities through self-health monitoring facilities using smart medical devices and cloud-based data platforms. Under digital therapeutics solution (DTx), innovative tech software is developed to help patients cope with medical illnesses. Several clinics in Chennai and other big cities use digital therapeutics to cure millions of people everyday.

What Is Digital Therapeutics Solution?

A digital therapeutics solution is a high-quality, clinically proven software system to prevent, manage and treat patients with medical ailments. They use AI, MD and NLP to access patient data. Digital therapeutics offer behaviour recommendations, medicine intake alerts, health-related tips and exercise plans. Thus, it is unique and stands out from other wellness applications and covers a wide array of diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, depression, ADHD, anxiety, congestive heart failure, etc. Digital therapeutics functions as:

  1. Sources of information for diagnosing and making a treatment decision.
  2. Tools to track and monitor the patient's symptoms to improve their health.
  3. Preventative care activities for chronic or other severe diseases.
  4. Standalone treatments.
  5. Coupled treatment with traditional therapy.

Principles of Digital Therapeutics

The DTx products must follow certain principles, namely,

  • Develop a software-driven medical intervention.
  • Involve the end-users in developing and testing processes.
  • Incorporate patient security protection.
  • Prevent, manage and treat medical conditions.
  • Utilise the best practices to design, create, deploy, manage and maintain the DTx products.
  • Gain appropriate regulatory body validation.
  • Make claims which are compliant with regulatory status and clinical evaluation.
  • Get published with the clinically proven outcomes and trial results in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Analyse and apply the real-world evidence with product performance data.

Benefits of Digital Therapeutics Solution

Digital therapeutics has promising advantages for patients, physicians, distributors, payers, stakeholders and care providers. Being a relatively new concept, let us discuss how they are benefitted.

  1. Patients gain personalised care and treatment. They can access the digital therapeutics solution from remote areas and thereby increase the effectiveness of the treatment with good adherence to the therapy.
  2. Physicians are able to monitor patients in real time, improve the treatment's efficacy and reduce the number of patient visits by managing patients remotely.
  3. Distributors are able to manage the supply chain effectively, check the drug's usefulness and track its demand in big cities like Chennai and even in specific areas.
  4. Payers can increase their sales, reduce care activity costs, and improve health outcomes and patient experience.

Patients use digital therapeutics through software applications that can:

  1. Offer essential guidance and instructions about treatments.
  2. Augment the conventional medications assigned by healthcare providers.
  3. Promote behavioural change through motivational and cognitive stimulation.
  4. Analyse and collect the patient data to personalise treatment regimens.
  5. Connect to wearable and non-wearable devices and record the health condition.

Ways to Approach Digital therapeutics

There are a few steps to follow while developing DTx products. The four major processes while inventing any digital therapeutics solution are researching, deciding on a strategy, creating a design and developing them.

Research

The research process follows two potential areas. They are:

  1. Specific digital use case- This revolves around how a digital capability can be utilised as a treatment. However, it is a greater investment and requires a dedicated approach to seeking developments.
  2. Specific therapeutic area- The pharma companies decide what kind of digital therapeutics solution they must create based on therapeutic expertise and clinical data. This involves new approaches which either replace the existing treatments or complement them.

Strategy

Companies have to decide on how they are going to create the product. The DTx software may perform in-house or in-licensing product developments. Large companies follow in-house developments in places like Chennai with sufficient financial resources. They identify and hire professionals for the entire process. The professionals include clinicians, design experts, software engineers, data scientists, product managers and regulation experts. The process involves many cross-functional collaborations, which happen throughout the entire product design cycle. In-licensing development is used by companies that do not want to hire an additional workforce but wish to increase and expand their DTx portfolio. In such scenarios, instead of starting from the ground level, these companies can invest in ongoing research that any third party performs. This shortcut is beneficial for labs or centres with a financial crisis to complete their study and penetrate their digital therapeutics solution into the market using patient-centric software.

Development

Development is the most crucial stage for any DTx product. There are a few phases here, irrespective of the type of business strategy used to create the product. The first is the pre-clinical phase, which involves developing therapeutic interventions that are undergoing clinical trials or existing in scientific literature. This will get converted into digital records. The next stage is running the digital therapeutics solution or software trial version. It will be possible to evaluate the impact of the therapy in this step with an opportunity to determine its developments in future. The initial test will assess the product usability and the solution's accessibility to patients. Following this test, a pilot clinical study will be performed on a narrow group of patients, and specialists will control the usage conditions. This clinical study will decide whether the DTx product will enter the complete developmental stage. Only when the pilot stage is a success will the solution go through other clinical trials to gain regulatory validation from authorities, insurance companies, and healthcare providers. If not, it will be shut down then and there.

Wrap Up
Many ailments and diseases can be cured with digital therapeutics! A combination of sensory-stimulating VR with traditional cognitive behavioural therapy is used to treat ADHD. This is the most recent effective and successful digital therapeutics solution that treats kids between 7 and 12 years. It sends low electric pulses to the brain to improve their behavioural adaption and emotions. Thus, medical professionals will keep pursuing the development of digital therapeutics in better ways to provide remarkable healthcare. We can also expect more treatments and remedies for other specific disorders in the near future.

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