When we go to a doctor, he examines us and prescribes a list of drugs that we need to take to get cured. Such prescriptions of drugs alone are soon fading away. A new class of Disease Management Apps is now been prescribed. This is Digital Therapeutics-Software Products that are being used for the treatment of medical conditions.
Most wellness apps can be directly sold to customers, once developed. Digital Therapeutics once developed, follows an R&D path just like drug development where regulatory approval has to be sought. Their evaluation is done in clinical studies. They are then prescribed by a medical provider. They are restricted to be used by patients only and are focussed on delivering clinical outcomes.
Various Mobile Apps involve Patient Engagement for improved clinical outcomes. The ways could be:
- Apps that teach techniques to overcome insomnia.
- Apps that work along with drugs for treatment of respiratory illnesses.
- Treatment of cancer with entering information on weight and measures of well being like pain, energy levels to allow earlier detection of recurrences
- Use gamification for behavioral change. Usage of software to create habits, trigger behaviors and train your brain.
- Connect with wearables and consumer electronics to track and capture vitals data and communicate with patients.
Recently many such apps have been made available in the market. Cardiowell is the first to integrate blood pressure monitoring, medication management, and mindful breathing.
Fig 1: Cardiowell the world’s first digital therapeutic for hypertension
Fig 2: reSET-O — a digital therapeutic to treat opioid use disorder (OUD)
U.S. Food and Drug Administration permitted marketing of the first mobile medical application to help treat substance use disorders (SUD). The reset application is intended to be used with outpatient therapy to treat alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and stimulant SUDs.
Patients are adopting digital therapies very quickly. Teleconsultation is also very convenient using these therapies. They are of both therapeutic and preventative value.
Moreover, as their usage could be tracked, the payors risk is mitigated. Such digital therapies would disrupt the future prescriptions.