DTx East looked different this year, but the insights and conversations were just as lively as ever! This was the first major virtual DTx event. While sometimes its location hinders who attends, it appeared that virtual attendees joined from all over the world.
Many panels and presentations echoed the same theme: digital health solutions have taken off since COVID-19 and the mandatory need for simple virtual healthcare. Big acquisitions and funding is resulting in tremendous exposure, adoption by providers, and patient engagement.
However, barriers still exist. Providers will still require clinical efficacy, training, and ability to be paid. Naturally, when our industry’s thought leaders collaborate, most discussions lead back to how can we work together to make it easier?
As Malinda Peeples, our SVP of Clinical Services, mentioned during a panel on going digital with clinical trials, “Healthcare requires a lot of evidence, communication, and building a language around this new digital therapeutics domain. This is a journey, and the destination is ours to define.”
One benefit of the virtual world we now live in is the expanded reach and opportunities for building clinical evidence. Malinda touched on the potential to reach patients all over the world when working virtually. Instead of being limited to a geographic region, we are now finding opportunities to reach more diverse populations, including Spanish-speaking patients for example. Although there is a lot of work to be done in reaching under-represented individuals who need care, Malinda mentioned that now there is data to support this and we can start to address it.
Our Chief Strategy Officer Dr. Anand K. Iyer also joined a panel discussing how digital health solutions should be impacting the lives of patients. When we center our work around patients, we should emphasize the importance of simplification. Digital health solutions should subtract from burden, not add to it.
Anand frequently uses the analogy comparing the patient journey to traveling across the country. If someone told you to get from Boston to Seattle, you would know that you need to head west, but you would encounter countless decisions and options along the way. The same goes for managing your personal health.
The panel was also heavily focused on the challenges and importance of the patient-provider relationship. Anand closed his thoughts stating, “The digital therapeutic is not a replacement. It’s augmentation of care because the clinician cannot be there with the patient every day. It’s a tool that raises the two equally. The patient and the provider stand on the shoulders of digital therapeutics.”
If you’re interested in learning more, we encourage everyone to visit the Digital Therapeutics Alliance’s website for the 10 foundational principles, which Anand referenced during the panel.
We really enjoyed learning from all of the digital health thought leaders at DTx East, and these takeaways especially stood out:
- Virtual health visits facilitate a better relationship between health care providers and their patients. Providers have a glimpse into their patients’ lifestyles, which allows them to see firsthand what else may be affecting their health, while removing the clunkiness of the traditional healthcare system.
- With so many companies dabbling into the digital health space, the importance of proven clinical efficacy is more important now than ever before.
- Digital health companies should seize the increased patient engagement as an opportunity to take feedback and adjust software, one of the major benefits of utilizing technology to improve outcomes – its agility.
- Payers represented, including Anthem, are heavily-focused on finding digital health tools to support all health conditions – from physical therapy, sleep, behavioral health, weight management, etc.
- While gathering robust data, the ability to customize care and connect across healthcare teams are essential in this new normal of virtual care delivery.