OCTOBER 16-18, 2019



October 16-18, 2019 | Boston, MA

Flip the Script: How Digital Therapeutics Can Redefine Medicine

Healthcare innovators are ushering in a new age for medicine.

Sometimes, an innovation in healthcare has the power to fundamentally change the treatment dynamic. Recent examples include biologics, immunotherapy, and gene-editing using CAR T-cell therapy.

The next game-changer has arrived: Manufacturers are using digital therapeutics to redefine how patients interact with treatment.


What are digital therapeutics?

Digital therapeutics — software prescribed like a medication or medical device — leverage clinical inputs, algorithms, and consumer technologies to treat physical and mental health conditions.

These treatments work primarily through digital interaction, with patients engaging to drive behavior change and improved outcomes. Current areas of focus include:

  • Substance use disorders
  • Diabetes
  • ADHD
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain

Digital therapeutics parallel traditional medications in several ways. Both are evidenced-based treatments for specific conditions. Both also can be reviewed and approved by the FDA and prescribed by a licensed health professional.


The path to FDA approval has already begun.

The FDA has taken notice of digital therapeutics and is finalizing guidelines for an approval pathway.

Until now, these products have mostly been aimed toward insurance plans and employer groups — most looking simply to provide patients with general wellness support and lower premiums.

But the ability to prescribe a mobile application — in coordination with traditional therapy or even as standalone treatment — could give healthcare providers a valuable tool for driving utilization.


Reimbursement and access challenges remain.

Prescribable digital therapeutics will face the same — if not more cumbersome — payer challenges as other treatments. Even if proven to be clinically effective, digital treatments are still in their early stages; payers might hesitate to adopt them. They will therefore require comprehensive patient access and reimbursement support.

Companies launching a digital therapeutic will need to have a keen eye on the payer landscape and play an active role in creating payer awareness. The same is true for patient engagement, as abandonment and adherence could also be challenges.

Want to learn more about digital therapeutics? Check out the 2018 Connected Health Conference, October 17-19 in Boston.

Scott Ward, client strategy and development manager at EnvoyHealth, contributed to this post.

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