Arlington, VA: In June, the Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA) submitted formal comments in response to the United States Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander’s call for recommendations on pandemic preparedness. These recommendations are part of DTA’s ongoing global 2020 initiative to break down obstacles to patient access to digital therapeutics (DTx).
As part of our comments, the Digital Therapeutics Alliance highlighted how in the United States private insurers and employers are increasingly embracing digital therapeutic technologies to improve patient outcomes. Unfortunately, traditional Medicare and most Medicaid programs do not currently recognize and reimburse for these clinically validated therapies. Due to their flexible delivery platforms and ability to treat underserved populations, DTx products offer critical solutions for the three following lessons that we’ve learned during the Covid-19 pandemic:
The Digital Therapeutics Alliance recommends that policymakers take this opportunity to curate a cohesive, efficient healthcare system that includes the necessary spectrum of available digital technologies, including telehealth platforms, remote patient monitoring, and digital therapeutics. In particular, DTx products can begin helping the nation break down some of the health disparities that are experienced by minority populations, rural residents, and patients with chronic and mental health conditions, while additionally addressing other significant policy issues.
Digital therapeutics have clinically demonstrated reliable patient outcomes for numerous health conditions. DTx products for chronic diseases have demonstrated a 63% increase in asthma control, increased symptom free days for COPD patients by 35%, and decreased A1c levels in patients with diabetes by 1.7 to 2.0 points. DTx products have also demonstrated that 60% of patients with a depression-only diagnosis can achieve recovery criteria, 50% of PTSD patients can achieve remission, and the abstinence rate of substance abusers can double. This represents a fraction of the clinical outcomes that are being demonstrated by DTx products for physical, mental, and behavioral health conditions.
“We will have an unbalanced ecosystem in the United States until Medicare and Medicaid begin providing patients with access to remotely delivered digital therapies and enable the formal reimbursement of DTx products,” shared Megan Coder, DTA Executive Director. “While many patients who receive insurance coverage through private payors and employers have access to DTx products, low income and aging populations covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and other publicly funded programs are generally prevented from accessing these important therapies. Given that DTx products may be accessible via patient-owned devices, they can become important treatment options for many underserved and rural populations who require care but may not always have access to it.”
Digital therapeutics deliver therapeutic interventions directly to patients using evidence-based, clinically evaluated software to treat, manage, and prevent a broad spectrum of behavioral, mental, and physical diseases and disorders. These products differ from health and wellness apps, telehealth platforms, or tools solely designed for monitoring, diagnostic, and adherence purposes. DTx products comply with rigorous patient-centered core principles and best practices to ensure product integrity, user-centered designs, patient privacy through HIPAA (in the US), and validated clinical outcomes via randomized controlled trials (RCT) and real world evidence (RWE).
The Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA) is a global non-profit trade association of industry leaders and stakeholders with the mission of broadening the understanding and adoption of digital therapeutics into healthcare. DTA works to enable expanded access to high quality, evidence-based digital therapeutics for patients, clinicians, and payors in order to improve clinical and health economic outcomes. To learn more please visit: www.dtxalliance.org.