Why Digital Therapeutics are a new growth opportunity for healthcare transformation

31st August 2022

DigitalTherapeutics are accelerating pharma and MedTech evolution by improving medication adherence and treatment outcomes while lowering costs. Explore how to build DTx go-to-market strategies, increase engagement and win HCP support in this Shine Podcast episode.

This episode of Shine covers what we all should know about DTx. Chris Scales, Director of Strategy, HealthTech is joined by the CEO of Evermed and the CCO of Cerebra to discuss product and go-to-market strategy, building payer partnerships and how to encourage impactful behavior change.

Whether used as a standalone therapy or in conjunction with prescribed medicine and medical devices, Digital Therapeutics are standing on the precipice of mainstream adoption. Companies like Omada Health and Biofourmis have already reached unicorn status, and that’s just the beginning as DTx companies continue to secure record-breaking funding rounds. 

So on this episode of Shine, we’ve gathered three experts to discuss what you need to know about DTx. They share different perspectives from MedTech, payers, providers and pharma, explore business models and reimbursement strategies, driving impactful behavior change and more. Like so many things in life, the future of healthcare is digital. Listen now to find out why. 

Facilitating behavior change with DTx 

Chris starts the conversation by defining Digital Therapeutics as “a digital solution used to support the treatment of a specific condition or disease. Often, this can be in partnership with a drug, medical device, or combination.” One of their key advantages is enabling healthcare providers (HCPs) to track patient adherence and make interventions remotely

In particular, Digital Therapeutics are powerful tools for encouraging positive behavior change. As such, it has already been immensely impactful in the management and treatment of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure as well as supporting mental health and sleep. Examples of DTx products include training exercises, programs, diet support and lifestyle management. 

Bozidar notes that “86% of US healthcare costs are driven by diseases that can be cured or slowed down by behavior change.” To him, Digital Therapeutics products are the clear solution. “If that large of a percentage of costs — measured in trillions — of the world’s most expensive healthcare system can be significantly improved by facilitating positive behavior change, it’s worth doing.” 

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DTx’s relationship with pharma 

Digital Therapeutics market growth initially presented a challenge to many pharmaceutical companies. Drug-free therapies would seem antithetical to pharma’s core business. Fortunately, we’ve seen that DTx and pharma are complementary over the past few years. It’s not one or the other, but both. 

And that’s empowering pharma companies to take on major challenges. For example, the Annals of Internal Medicine found that up to 50% of medication for chronic diseases is not taken as prescribed. The cost of which equals $250B in the US and $637B worldwide annually. With DTx, pharma can create new care pathways to improve adherence and outcomes. 

Harnessing these opportunities, however, requires different minds and thinking as Bozidar explains, “There’s a certain lens in which someone who’s been in pharma for 20 years sees the process of improving health. This is through a very long cycle of developing a product over 10 years, going through research and development and having difficulties adjusting it. With software, the development cycle is much shorter, the cost is much lower, and you can tweak the product.” 

Some of the questions you need to answer when creating your Digital Therapeutics business model include:

  • Is this a pre-prescription or a post-prescription product? 
  • Do you release it as a standalone or a side-by-side drug? 
  • Will this help me be more competitive when marketing my biopharmaceutical? 
  • How can I forecast and show commercial value to management and other stakeholders? 
  • Do you have the team members to ensure the solution will be viable?

Ultimately, DTx will be a very powerful tool for pharma companies to deliver value, improve efficiencies and differentiate themselves in the market. It starts by taking the right approach to product strategy. 

Discover more about Star:

Star is a global technology company that connects regulatory and product strategy, design and engineering services and helps companies to accelerate their product innovation. Our team of strategists, designers and engineers share an underlying passion for co-creating purposeful MedTech and digital healthcare products that bring value to people’s lives worldwide.

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