Earlier this year, the Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA) launched a series of Executive Roundtable discussions – a new opportunity for members that brings together senior leaders from member companies to discuss pressing industry-level issues. DTA Board Members Debra Reisenthel and Julia Strandberg facilitated these two most recent discussions with industry leaders that focused on patient and clinician engagement, the impact of reimbursement on Digital Therapeutics (DTx) access, and DTx integration into clinician workflows.
Authored by: Debra Reisenthel, Founding CEO, Freespira, Inc. and Julia Strandberg, Chief Commercial Officer, Pear Therapeutics
The use of software in healthcare has evolved greatly from its application in hospital administration to its growing role in enhancing care delivery. From isolated remote monitoring technologies to software applications that can treat chronic medical conditions, the ubiquity of software in healthcare has created a natural runway for DTx to deliver improved access to high quality care. It is time to engage the consumers of this technology, including clinicians, patients, and caregivers.
During our roundtable, it became clear that to promote the dissemination of these tools, DTx education needs to be up to date and universally included in continuing professional development activities. Furthermore, it is vital that DTx developers continue their dedication to patients and caregivers by including them in the product development and implementation phases. Due to substantial time pressures on clinicians, collaboration with patient advocacy organizations and circulating clinical evidence are crucial steps toward generating market awareness.
Internationally, payors, policymakers, and clinicians are gaining confidence in the clinical impact of DTx particularly in markets such as the US, Belgium, Germany, France, and the UK. However, some key challenges remain. Foremost, leaders from our roundtable acknowledged reimbursement as an important driver for clinician behavior and as an avenue to achieve policy objectives, such as improving access to care, quality of care, and cost containment. Importantly, payors ought to consider not just the cost of a DTx itself, but also the time that clinicians spend on its set up and output interpretation.
As a final area of focus, interoperability of DTx with existing digital health technologies, electronic health records, and prescribing/dispensing systems was discussed as another key challenge in advancing the industry. We believe that without architecting the data exchange between DTx and a clinician’s existing technical infrastructure, DTx developers risk low adoption of their products as clinicians will experience greater burdens on their time to access patient-generated data. With access to data, clinicians can more conveniently view a patient’s most important health information, resulting in timely, appropriate interventions and the facilitation of data-driven improvements in patient care.
DTA continues to make strides toward enabling the reimbursement of DTx, and plans to launch a new effort to engage and educate clinicians and patients to promote DTx adoption.