Millions of Americans’ health is at risk today, but there is an easy solution – technology. Consider that 75 million Americans have hypertension according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. An additional one in three Americans have prehypertension- blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal. Patients with prehypertension can make lifestyle changes to lower blood pressure naturally and prevent full blown hypertension.
But for most people behavior change is hard. Behavior change is possible though, if it is easier for individuals to measure and track progress.
That’s where an emerging category of health technology called digital therapeutics comes in. Digital therapeutics, commonly defined as technology that can improve a person’s health equal to a drug, but without the same costs and side-effects, can empower individuals to change their behavior and improve their health. With the use of digital therapeutics individuals can manage chronic conditions and try alternate treatments to accompany or even replace pharmaceuticals.
Here are three examples of Consumer Technology Association (CTA) member companies making a difference in lives with digital therapeutics:
2breathe Technologies created RESPeRate, a solution for individuals to manage hypertension through timed breathing exercises that naturally lower heartrate and blood pressure. Remember being told to breathe slowly and count to ten when you are stressed? That could have been the best advice you ever received if you’re hypertensive.
Livongo, created a glucose meter and diabetes monitoring system that gives patients a connected platform with real-time coaching to prevent diabetic episodes and adjust insulin levels to improve health and well-being. The ability to control how you feel when you’ve been diagnosed with a disease that makes you feel powerless is unbelievably powerful.
Quell has developed a FDA approved drug free solution to treat chronic pain. Through advanced neurotechnology, Quell taps into the user’s natural pain relief response. The Quell app allows patients to track progress, change therapies and understand their treatment in real-time. Delivering pain management without the use of opioids could save thousands of lives.
These solutions are game changers and the key is patient empowerment. Empowerment isn’t limited to the patient though, digital therapeutics also empower doctors with real time patient generated data and in some instances, lifesaving information. CTA’s research shows that the U.S. could reach a critical mass of physicians using patient generated data by 2020. The combination of the empowered patient and technology friendly physician could lead to overall better health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs in America.
The increased adoption of these solutions is exciting, but new questions, opportunities and challenges come with this promising new category of health technology. So what’s CTA doing to help? A lot.
CTA recently partnered with the Personal Connected Health Alliance to conduct research on digital therapeutics that will focus on understanding the state of the category and explore potential opportunities for new developments. We lobbied the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reimburse doctors for time spent reviewing data from remote monitoring devices and digital therapeutics. We know device accuracy and data validity is important to physicians and consumers, so we created standards for step counting, heart rate capture and sleep monitoring. Lastly, we know privacy is key so we wrote Guiding Principles of the Privacy and Security of Personal Wellness Data. We’ll discuss this work and hear from the companies leading the way in digital therapeutics during the Disruptive Innovations in Healthcare conference at CES 2018.