A lack of funding in areas such as reimbursement by public and private health insurance providers is impacting the adoption of digital therapeutics (DTx), according to a new report.

The research by business analytics firm GlobalData, also reveals there is an unmet need for patient-centered care, which the implementation of DTx can achieve, while being crucial to manage health conditions efficiently.

Despite it still being very early in the timeline for this type of intervention, DTx is a branch healthcare that has quickly progressed with start-ups, from creating prescription video games for neurological conditions to companies developing mobile apps to treat depression.

Alessio Brunello, phrama analyst at Global Data, said: “Due to increasing levels in healthcare spending combined with declining research and development returns, DTx represents a new way of treatment for pharma companies in which regulatory approved digital systems are used to treat medical conditions as prescribed therapeutic interventions.”


How can funding for Digital Therapeutics increase?

Pharmaceutical companies are showing significant interest in DTx because of the  tangible potential demonstrated so far in improving treatment methods and accessibility.

According to the US-based New England Healthcare Institute, lack of adherence to medication regimens contributes as much as $290bn (£228bn) annually in avoidable medical costs.

The organisation also detailed patients’ failure to follow physician-prescribed treatments, which are estimated to account for 30% to 50% of failed treatments, resulting in 125,000 deaths annually.

These digital solutions are designed to enable patients to develop positive behavioural changes such as diet and exercise sequences, as well as initiatives to help them with appropriate medication intakes.

Digital Therapeutics funding
DTx will provide a new approach to treatment in which patients can learn more about their conditions and treatment options (Credit: Pixabay)

Digital Therapeutics Alliance defined DTx as “delivering evidence based therapeutic interventions to patients, that are driven by high quality software programs to prevent, manage or treat a medical disorder or disease.”

They state it can be used independently or with medications, devices, or other therapies to optimise patient care and health outcomes, and the diverse category includes mobile apps, wearable devices and telemedicine platforms.

With its wide range of support services that can be delivered cost effectively, and importantly have the ability to capture real-world evidence on patient outcomes, pharma companies are showing a keen interest on how they can be involved in the market.

The two ways they can envision their partner with a growing number of DTx companies to develop software and services complimenting their drugs, or they can start to build their own DTx to work with their products.

“The industry’s interest in value-based care and patient-centricity is helping drive the adoption of DTx as insurers and payers can use data and analytics to manage healthcare costs and help patients to receive appropriate treatment,” said Mr Brunello.

“This will drive the adoption of DTx as healthcare stakeholders are placing increasing emphasis on cost effectiveness.”

Due to need to control healthcare costs and increase in the incidence of chronic diseases, the global Digital Therapeutics Market was valued at $1.7m (£1.3m) in 2017 and is expected to reach $7.8m (£6.1m) by 2025 at an average annual rate of 20.7% per year.

Moreover, it was also revealed in GlobalData’s latest report – Digital Therapeutics and Their Impact on Healthcare that DTx has the opportunity to speed up clinical trials and create a more fit-for-purpose approach through improved recruitment and retention of patients.

Mr Brunello added: “Despite DTx technologies potentially reducing total healthcare costs, increasing trial efficacy and improving patients’ health, there are a few challenges to address before they become an integral part of modern medicine, such as better alignment between providers, pharmaceutical companies and payers.”