Does digital health work?Β πŸ€”Β β“β“ Daniel Young 25 April 2024

Does digital health work?Β πŸ€”Β β“β“

Does digital health work? A digital health agent working online

Does digital health work? Not according to Peterson Health Technology Institute (PHTI), who published a blunt report on digital diabetes tools concluding that they “do not deliver meaningful clinical benefits and result in increased healthcare spending.”Β πŸ˜•

Considering the failure of Pear Therapeutics last year, the digital medical landscape looks a bit scorched.Β πŸ”₯Β πŸ”₯

None of this is good news; however, it doesn’t mean digital health failed. In my biased opinion, digital health works… but it needs to work differently.

Digital health is at a crossroads. The legacy approach to commercializing has been ad hoc, inconsistent, and siloed.

We need a β€œDigital Health 24” model that promotes demonstrable value. As we venture deeper into this idea, these narratives emerge:

Quest for Clinical Value πŸ’Ά πŸ’°

Clinical value translates into fiscal value with real improvements in quality and delivery of care, and the evidence to back it up. Investment does not equate to impact. Despite the billions invested, these diabetes tools failed. Companies need a new plan, starting with a value-by-design approach.

Adaptation & Diversification πŸ”„ πŸ“Š

The journey of digital therapeutics firms, like Freespira and Akili, highlights the essentiality of flexibility in business models. From seeking payer partnerships to embracing direct-to-consumer approaches, the evolution of their strategies underscores the necessity of adaptability.

Collaboration with Payers 🀝 πŸ› οΈ

Freespira’s focused strategy of forming deep partnerships with payers, aiming for ‘success-based’ contracts, showcases an innovative approach to proving value and efficacy to both payers and patients.

Consumer Empowerment πŸ‹πŸΌ πŸ’ͺ

Calm‘s direct-to-consumer approach with its meditation and sleep aid app tries to bypass traditional reimbursement revenue models, a business plan that used to be a sure pathway to failure but is becoming more plausible for the right digital products.

Enhancing Care Management πŸ₯Β 

BehaVR’s merger with Fern Health to form RealizedCare, focusing on chronic pain management, illustrates the potential of digital therapeutics to augment existing care models, making them more efficient and effective.

Evidence & Equity πŸ”¬ βš–οΈ

The call for solutions that not only demonstrate clinical efficacy but also address health equity is louder than ever. As digital health continues to evolve, its ability to serve diverse populations equitably remains a paramount goal.

The bottom line: success starts with value. The answer to the question does digital health work resides on engineering value into your product, demonstrate value and impact with real-world evidence, build partnerships, and diversify revenue opportunities.

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