COVID-19 Impact on Digital Therapeutic in Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Industry

COVID-19 Impact on Digital Therapeutic in Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Industry

  • Pharmaceutical
  • Nov 19, 2020

COVID-19 Impact on Digital Therapeutic in Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Industry

Coronavirus pandemic has generated an unpredictable effect on human daily lives as well as on the global economy. The coronavirus has a knockout effect on healthcare industries too and created a notable effect or burden on the already pinched healthcare systems across the world. As the pandemic increases, day by day the healthcare professional overworked their duties to overcome the pandemic but a continuously rising number of cases cause major problems. Due to this patients are looking towards digital technologies for disease monitoring as well as for treatment.

COVID-19 outbreak has also made healthcare professionals look for alternative methods to traditional systems and processes. This is leading to an expedited adoption of digital therapeutics across the industry both from providers and consumers. During the pandemic, several healthcare systems have divided healthcare requirements into essential and non-essential based on urgency and the overall requirement for care. As the non-essential requirements are given less priority during the pandemic, patients are moving towards the digital therapeutics solutions. This is augmenting the adoption of digital therapeutics apps across a variety of therapeutic areas such as mental health illness, substance used disorders, opioid used disorders, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic diseases, inflammatory diseases among others.

Digital therapeutics are entered or invented a long time back they recognized and appreciated from few years especially in this pandemic time. During this crisis time, digital therapeutics play a vital need in self-monitoring as well as the management of chronic diseases. During the pandemic lockdown, there has been an even increased need for patients to self-manage their condition and react in real-time, while still having their doctor monitor their case remotely. These digital therapeutics defined as the “evidence-based therapeutic interventions”, which is supported by the high quality of programs and software as the main ingredient or key parameter to help or assist the patients in prevention, managing, and treating various conditions. Once again in this pandemic called digital therapeutics, as well as prescription digital therapeutics, has come to rescue the serious as well as the normal population.

These apps are easy to download on smartphones, laptops, and tablets and can be linked with patient's daily life and assist the users in disease prevention and overall health management. The COVID-19 outbreak has increased the reliability of patients on digital apps to take an active and informed role in their healthcare. The digital therapeutics solutions have helped to reconnect patients and doctors. Hence, it can be concluded that digital health tools are proving to be invaluable for patients with chronic disease and medical professionals.

The easy availability of smartphones and the need for alternative ways to take care of present health is a notable opportunity for digital therapeutics apps providers to expand features and usage. Companies are focusing on connectivity improvements and the interoperability of apps in terms of data storage and data transfer to healthcare providers. This level of data collection is also useful for tracking overall population health. Before the availability of this kind of data, health authorities were dependent on tedious population studies that had several limitations. Digital therapeutics can provide real-time population health information through mass data collection. As a result, healthcare authorities across the world are taking initiatives for digital therapeutics. Below chart shows the major regulatory change in digital therapeutics which creates a new opportunity for pharma as well as healthcare  industries.

Regulatory Changes to Digital Therapeutics Driving New Opportunity for Pharma and Healthcare Sector In this pandemic time, various digital therapeutics executives and other related professionals stated that the increasing demand for effective and scalable treatments as healthcare providers find their services lie down thin and patients find themselves cut off from in-person care. At this time everyone afraid of the coronavirus infection and for the good health patients are desperate and deliberately want some solutions.

According to the Akili Interactive “CEO (Eddie Martucci)” “he said providers should see that these walls are broken down, and they want to respond. Moreover, everyone understands that we have this taste of efficiency and rapid ability to serve the patient, and we're seeing it happen in real-time.

According to David Klein, CEO of “Click Therapeutics” digital therapeutics can deliver an effective treatment through a digital screen. He also said various healthcare industries fighting against this kind of good battle and proved that healthcare professionals can provide effective and better treatment through the digital screen without a waste of time. Moreover, he also said the coronavirus pandemic situation created a positive impact or effects on digital therapeutics and gain importance in that the emergency health crisis and yielded a near-perfect environment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the value of digital approaches more than ever before that are designed to help health professionals and the public to maintain communication about disease and stay updated with fresh information that will enable better strategic planning. The below table shows different uses of digital therapeutics and apps by healthcare providers:

Company

Product

Diseases

Pear Therapeutics, Inc.

reSET

Substance Use Disorder (SUD)

 

reSET-O

Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)

Welldoc’s

BlueStar

Diabetes

Akili Interactive Labs, Inc.

EndeavorRx

Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Kaia Health

Motion Coach

Movement Diseases

Omada

Omada

Diabetes, Hypertension, Behavioral Health

The digital health market is flooded with various digital therapeutics applications and consumers have a wide range of options to select one of them according to their needs and demand. But, there may be a significant variation in accuracy and capabilities. Till now, in middle or poor income countries or developing countries the adoption rate of digital health applications is primarily narrow due to the lack of awareness, low demand, and is restricted to providing information only. In the upcoming time as the demand and usage of these apps increasing in the market, multi-functionality is becoming common. In order to enhance, the consumer's experience in managing their health, multi-functionalities for online consultation, sending diagnostic test results to healthcare professionals for analysis, appointment scheduling, medication reminders, and review. These apps are superior in assisting consumers in managing and monitoring their health as compared to the information and education apps.

Moreover, apart from digital therapeutics, prescription digital therapeutics (PDTx) also attains importance in this pandemic time as well as in normal situations. PDTx are prescription based apps that is they can only be used when a doctor or physician may prescribe and these apps are approved by the FDA with high accuracy and efficacy. Most prescription digital therapeutics focus on indications with a strong behavioral component — using the smartphone’s components that were originally designed for communication & entertainment to capture, analyze, and transmit medical interventions.

For instance, Pear Therapeutics, Inc., a Prescription Digital Therapeutic based company releases its PEAR-004 app for Schizophrenia disorder during the coronavirus time. The press release also stated that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued temporary guidance to increase access to digital health devices for treating psychiatric disorders and reduce potential exposure to COVID-19. But, the company is launching a limited distribution program for its product candidate. As the position of digital therapeutics apps becomes more important in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, national health authorities are expected to launch rating and licensing platforms for higher efficiency and reduce crowding in the market.

For instance,

  • The National Health Service (NHS) in the U.K. has expanded their publicly funded prescribing platform to include consumer apps which are deemed clinically safe.

The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of population health monitoring systems and the burden on healthcare systems. Digital therapeutics has the potential to meet these requirements.

As the coronavirus pandemic increases the need for physical contact and social distancing also increases. The medical apps play a vital role in decreasing the infection rate of the novel coronavirus. The major healthcare authorities and organizations such as CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), WHO (World Health Organization), and other regional, country & state-level authorities have advised for the minimal physical contact between the general population as well as healthcare professionals and patients. This is because healthcare professionals work in very close proximity with infected patients they might likely contract the virus or act as a carrier which can be further spread to a healthy patient. With the help of digital therapeutics, patients can share their real data with the doctors & physicians without actually visiting the healthcare units or clinics. This approach will not only reduces the contact between the healthcare professional & health people but also reduces the other common infection that patient gets acquired from the hospitals.

The coronavirus pandemic increases anxiety, mood disorders, depressive disorders, and well-being awareness across the world. In a huge population, the pandemic has created a sense of fear of getting infected by the virus, which ultimately increases the adoption of digital therapeutics among the population through smartphones, tablets and laptops. Digital therapeutic applications, software and complementary wearables medical devices play a critical role in accessing information and getting a sense of protection. They provide correct and accurate feedback on body function including the body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and others which will help in tracking individual health.

For instance; Sensyne Health plc introduce CVm-Health app to monitor the coronavirus scenario. This app is only applicable in European countries. CVm-Health is a free of cost, easy to use web-based application that provides a secure way for individuals and families as well as sick people.

CONCLUSION

The pandemic of present and post-COVID-19 healthcare is expected to see a huge transformation of processes with high inclusion of digital therapeutics apps.

For instance,

Primary care and management of several non-communicable diseases transferred to digital mode. Several countries such as England have already started embracing telehealth for primary care and have been delivering a digital-first approach for overall healthcare provision.

However, the coronavirus pandemic created a positive and huge impact on the digital therapeutics to treat the patient illness in just a moment without direct contact. It also benefits their doctors who can use the logged-in data to analyze any gaps in the patient’s management of the disease. Using technology to better control chronic disease must become the new normal as we continue to make our way through the pandemic and even beyond.

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