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Triumf Health offers a personalised approach to improve treatment outcomes and empower ill children to live healthier lives by delivering digital therapeutics through a mobile game. But what are digital therapeutics, and importantly, what value do they bring for the patient and the medical team?
Digital therapeutics (DTx)- an emerging health discipline that harnesses technology and software to prevent, manage or treat a broad spectrum of physical, mental, and behavioral conditions - are reshaping the health care landscape of disease treatment (1,2). They are evidence based therapeutic interventions delivered through smartphones/tablets/wearable devices that supplement or even replace traditional medicine and drugs.
DTx have been explored in the context of various health conditions. For example, DTx can help treat increasingly prevalent mental health related issues by offering software based Cognitive-Behaviour Therapies (3). Moreover, they allow personalised approach of targeting lifestyle issues, such as diet, inactivity, stress, that are associated with chronic illnesses (3). DTx can also be used in connection to existing medicine to help patients manage their therapies and maximising treatment outcomes (3). Many DTx designed to treat diabetes, central nervous system disorders and other conditions are expected to enter the market in 2019 (2).
DTx offer an extremely promising venue through which reduce health care costs, optimise treatment outcomes and empower patients to take charge of their own health (3). So, it is no surprise that they have generated great interest in pharma and insurance companies. For example, last year, the Food and Drug Administration in the US approved the first software based therapeutic for substance use disorder treatment and is now commercially available for clinicians to prescribe (4) Unlike traditional medication, DTx allow the constant stream of real-life data, which enables the delivery of personalised support services tailored to specific individual needs (3). As such, data related to patient’s behaviour, risk factors, physiological as well as emotional condition can be gathered and used for meaningful and effective treatment or prevention (3). Having said that, for successful adoption and most optimal outcomes, the medical teams need to be included in the process and incetivised appropriately. Although the data gathered through DTx presents a significant advantage compared to traditional medication, the data needs interpretation, which in turn, requires physician’s time (5). Therefore, thorough analysis of data streams is essential to make sure the medical team is presented with the right information at the right time (5).
Currently, according to ORCHA, there are over 327,000 health and wellbeing apps available. However, as only 15% of these apps meet the minimum standards, it is difficult to differentiate between general wellness apps and medical solutions that are safe but have also proven therapeutic value. DTx, on the other hand, should be grounded on robust clinical evidence as well as research and designed according to the international standards of regulations (5). That way, stakeholders can be confidence in the safety, effectiveness and value of these medical solutions, which would also facilitate the adoption of health technology in the sector (5).