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December 8, 2022
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Healthcare Providers Can Lean on DTx Solutions for Support. Here’s How.

The Pandemic and Society 5.0  

Technologies in healthcare—telemedicine, mobile health apps, AI-driven medical devices, digital therapeutics, etc.—are a product of a variety of factors such as patient demographics, health policies, social change, and education. The Pandemic has pushed us into the 5th Industrial Revolution, often referred to as the rise of a super-smart society.

Society 5.0 is more conscious, digitally aware, and freer than ever before. People have become healthcare consumers. With this shift, they expect to be more actively involved in their treatment journeys. 

Healthcare providers can prepare for this digital shift by updating their vision, strategy, and action plans.

Healthcare Providers Must Nurture Their Digital Capability 

According to the Future Today Institute, strategic planning for the future should include imagining possible scenarios and developing strategies to connect those scenarios to the present. 

With this in mind, technology and science trends that may affect healthcare providers include DIY health, direct-to-consumer healthcare models, home therapy, and prevention-oriented care. Additionally, the P4 medicine approach (predictive, personalized, preventive, and participatory medicine) indicates a bigger role for telemedicine, digital therapeutics (DTx), and patient monitoring systems. When it comes to adopting these technologies, healthcare providers must be clear on what technology is needed to achieve a desired set of outcomes. 

HCPs should also prioritize careful and strategic procurement over knee-jerk spending,
suggests Claudia Pagliari, World Health Organization Expert and Technical Advisor in Digital Health.

Trustworthy and dependable DTx can be advantageous when integrated into a methodical change management plan that establishes strong digital governance and increases digital knowledge among healthcare personnel and patients. 

These improvements can still be made incrementally. But that may soon change as we are increasingly experiencing new factors that accelerate disruptive innovation

  • increasing price sensitivity due to higher patient cost sharing, 
  • moving to bundled payments and Accountable Care Organizations, 
  • the decline in physician private practice and increasingly transparent prices, and 
  • the shift toward value-based care.

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How Healthcare Providers Can Use DTx Solutions To Support Their Work

Well-designed market strategies and smartly implemented digital solutions can future-proof healthcare providers and offer meaningful wins. 

In a series of interviews with industry experts, McKinsey asked about the primary purpose of providing digital health services. 61 percent of respondents wished to achieve precise and visible outcomes, which are still indirect; while 39 percent of respondents feared being disrupted.

The same report identified seven clear benefits of digital tools, summarized below. 

  1. Integrated journeys displace single solutions. DTx solutions can connect healthcare providers and patients, offering a seamless and more efficient experience. Patients benefit from well-orchestrated healthcare plans, while HCPs gain timely access to patient data so they can respond faster, improving the overall quality of care.
  1. Improved well-being and health outcomes. DTx solutions offer evidence-based and clinically-validated interventions that are easily scalable and accessible. After seeing a doctor, patients are prescribed a digital companion that guides them at home and extends molecule therapies. In this new relationship dynamic, patients benefit from flexibility and health co-creation with their care team.
  1. Access to data that supports clinical decision-making. Data generated from a DTx solution complements information collected in the electronic health record (EHR), and supports treatment planning as well as population health management. Healthcare professionals can follow patients’ progress, recognize patterns, and adjust therapies accordingly. Combining multiple data endpoints helps track the effectiveness of current business strategies and improve them.
  1. Cultivating a competitive advantage. Delivering multichannel care and a unique and personalized patient experience via a DTx solution will retain customers, bolster loyalty, and actively build a competitive advantage. 
  1. Seizing new market opportunities. Digital is now present in public health, the medical devices industry, and health policies. Here are a few examples: In 2021, the FDA authorized 115 AI- and machine-learning-enabled devices, 83 percent more than in 2018. The Access to Prescription Digital Therapeutics Act—introduced in the US Senate in October 2022—provides for Medicare and Medicaid coverage of prescription digital therapeutics. And the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control increasingly utilizes data to support population health studies. 
  1. Reducing administrative costs. Healthcare providers can leverage the power of digital health solutions to reduce inefficient and expensive administrative work, particularly when integrated with EHRs. Bills and claims processing could be automated. These solutions  can also help organizations eliminate redundant processes and automate patient support functions, reducing costs and labor.
  1. Building foundations for value-based care. Healthcare is shifting from the volume of services provided to the value and outcomes achieved. DTx solutions can support healthcare providers with data to make a quicker diagnosis and improved treatment options. The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) aims to tie nearly 100% of Medicare spending to value-based care contracts by 2025. 

Final Thoughts

Technologies in healthcare present many unknown opportunities. But, since they are novel, many concerns arise. Data breaches, cyberattacks, inadequate funds to implement cutting-edge technologies, lack of expertise, and healthcare workers worried about being supplanted by tech—even the most progressive and forward-thinking healthcare providers have doubts about new technologies. 

Empowering employees to recognize the benefits of transformation motivates them to facilitate a successful release and maximize business results, says Dr. John Kotter, author of "Leading Change". Kotter developed an 8-step change model that also helps healthcare organizations cope with digital technology transformation.

DTx are mature, evidence-based, trusted, safe-to-use solutions that address the shifts facing healthcare. Like drugs and medical devices, they are becoming a new form of therapy supporting patients and healthcare providers. They also provide a new communication channel facilitating doctor-patient relationships; a tool providing valuable data to sustain evidence-based clinical decision-making; an application improving population health management; a solution backing strong brands in healthcare, and reducing administrative costs. 

Given the rapidly growing capabilities, healthcare providers using new digital tools will outperform those who do not embrace them. 

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About the author

Artur Olesch

Artur Olesch is a Berlin-based freelance journalist and correspondent for digital health-related topics.

See all articles by this author
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