Digital Therapeutics from Bench to Bedside (npj Digital Medicine 2023), Digital Therapeutics for Mental Health & Addiction (Elsevier 2023), Large language model AI chatbots require approval as medical devices (Nature Medicine 2023), Benefits, Limits, and Risks of GPT-4 as an AI Chatbot for Medicine (The New England Journal of Medicine 2023), Wearable sensors enable personalized predictions of clinical laboratory measurements (Nature Medicine 2021), The advent of health technologies associated with artificial intelligence (AI) will be the most radical change in how medical care is delivered in our lifetime (The Lancet Digital Health, 2023)
What are the implications and rationale behind the recent developments in digital therapeutics?
Digital therapeutics (DTx) are software-delivered interventions for managing and treating disease. DTx may leverage digital biomarkers, digital coaches and healthcare chatbots, telemedicine, mobile and wearable computing, self‐tracking, personalized medicine, connected health, smart homes, or smart cars.
In the 20th century, healthcare systems specialized in acute care. In the 21st century, we now face the challenge of dealing with the specific characteristics of chronic conditions. These are now responsible for around 70% of all deaths worldwide and 85% of all deaths in Europe and are associated with an estimated economic loss of $7 trillion between 2011 and 2025. Chronic diseases require an intervention paradigm that focuses on health-promoting behavior. Lifestyle (e.g., diet, physical activity, tobacco, or alcohol consumption) can reduce the risk of suffering from a chronic condition. However, a lifestyle change is only implemented by a fraction of those affected, partly because of missing or inadequate interventions or health literacy, partly due to sociocultural influences. Individual personal coaching of these individuals is neither scalable nor financially sustainable.
Against this background, the question arises of how to develop evidence-based DTx that allow medical doctors and other caregivers to scale and tailor long-term treatments to individuals in need at sustainable costs. At the intersection of health economics, information systems research, computer science, and behavioral medicine, this lecture aims to help students and upcoming healthcare executives interested in the multi-disciplinary field of DTx to understand better the need, design, assessment, and reimbursement of DTx.
After the course, students will be able to…
- understand the importance of DTx for the management of chronic conditions
- understand the anatomy of DTx
- know frameworks for the design of DTx
- know evaluation criteria for DTx
- know technologies for DTx
- assess DTx
- know about reimbursement strategies of DTx
- discuss the advantages and disadvantages of DTx