1. There will be more focus on the patient experience.
The healthcare industry is gradually shifting towards a more patient-centric model, where the needs and preferences of individual patients are at the center of care. This shift is driven in part by consumers who are willing to spend between $300 billion and $400 billion on healthcare expenses to proactively manage their health, according to a report by McKinsey & Company.
Digital therapeutic (DTx) solutions are enabling patients to take a more active role in their disease management, leading to an increase in empowered and informed patients. For example, these solutions may provide patients with access to remote monitoring and health tracking tools, allowing them to self-manage their symptoms and progress from the comfort of their own homes.
As a result, healthcare organizations and pharma companies are increasingly looking to embed patient-centricity in their blueprint for growth. By putting patients at the center of their care, companies can improve health outcomes and increase satisfaction with the healthcare experience. This involves tailoring treatment plans to each individual's needs, providing personalized support, and engaging patients in their own care throughout the entire disease journey, from symptom onset to diagnosis, treatment, and management.
Ivar Meyvantsson, Sidekick’s VP of Therapeutic Development, tells me,
Looking ahead, it will be increasingly important for healthcare organizations to make patient engagement a top priority, and to adopt a more predictive and personalized approach to care.
2. More payers will reimburse digital therapeutic solutions.
As digital therapeutic solutions become more accessible and prevalent in the United States, lawmakers are seeking to establish a national coverage policy for the Medicare population. A bill introduced in the US Senate in early 2022, the Access to Prescription Digital Therapeutics Act, proposes establishing a dedicated Medicare benefit category for prescription digital therapeutics (PDTx).
Providing digital therapeutics through national health insurance programs such as Medicare would make these treatments accessible to 44% of U.S. citizens who receive state healthcare support. This could also lead private insurance companies to increase their coverage of PDTx, making DTx solutions more widely available to everyone.
Pam Stahl, Sidekick’s Chief Commercial Officer & President of North America, is encouraged by these developments,
There is broad and increasing support for the Access to Prescription Digital Therapeutics Act legislation, and we are optimistic about its prospects in the coming years.
Even without this legislation in place, many payers and managed care organizations have already included digital health solutions in their fully insured commercial plans, for example, Kaiser Permanete, Humana and United Healthcare. Some pharmacy benefits managers, including CVS, Evernorth, and ExpressScripts, have also established digital health formularies to cover certain software products as a pharmacy benefit.
3. Big data will pave the way for preventative medicine.
A World Economic Forum study forecasts that the five leading chronic diseases – cancer, diabetes, mental health issues, heart disease, and respiratory disease – could cost the global economy $47 trillion in the next two decades. This heavy burden will be too much for our health systems to handle, which is why so many healthcare organizations are transitioning away from a model of intervention towards one of prevention.
Sam Oddsson, Sidekick’s Co-founder and Chief Clinical Officer, says,
The huge amount of healthcare data that has been and continues to accumulate via digital health wearables and digital therapeutic solutions can help doctors and researchers develop more personalized and effective treatments for individual patients.
This data can then be fed into AI or machine-learning algorithms to be analyzed and interpreted, offering medical insights that have never been accessible before. Such analytics offer opportunities for chronic disease prediction and prevention, and ultimately higher-value care.