Digiceuticals: Is this the future for healthcare?

Due to the increasing number of chronic diseases and lifestyle-related diseases, the growing geriatric population, the need to control healthcare costs, and technological progress, the global digital therapeutics market is experiencing considerable growth. A growing focus on preventive healthcare and an increase in investment in venture capital is encouraging market growth. The advantages of digital therapeutics, such as improved drug adherence, the ability to induce behavioral changes, and patient comfort worldwide, drive market growth. The market for preventive application segments is expected to grow faster during the forecast period, based on the type of application, due to increasing government initiatives to increase preventive healthcare.

In the 21st century, data is the most important resource. In the modern world, digital technology can produce terabytes of data with enormous potential. In improving and sustaining patients’ health, pharmaceuticals play an important role. Their healthcare budget expenses, however, are a big concern. The treatment of chronic and lifestyle conditions has become an area of great clinical concern worldwide due to its high prevalence and adverse effects. In our overburdened healthcare system, harnessing this digital technology will maximize treatment outcomes and even replace the current treatment. Health officials, including the United States The Food and Drug Administration (1), acknowledge its potential. The Center for Devices has set up the Digital Health Program and Radiological Health of the FDA to promote public health and provide continued regulatory transparency by improving outreach to digital health consumers and developing and implementing digital health technology regulatory strategies and policies (2). 

With the rise of social media platforms, smartphones, and mobile applications, wearable devices (3), cloud-based data platforms, real-world evidence studies, and the like, the world has witnessed a digital health explosion in the last decade. Consequently, general wellbeing and health monitoring are gradually extending through various smartphone applications from space-bound activities restricted to hospitals and clinics to the widespread digital world. In this context, all technologies that engage patients in their health and wellbeing are covered by Digital Health and include concepts such as mobile health or mHealth, telehealth, smart devices, sensors and wearables, health information technology, and personalized Medicine.

Technology has influenced any at the time to strive the way for modernity. With the world rapidly changing and population rising, Medicine has been strictly a need for the masses. The future of digital therapeutics is as crazy as your world never seems because that way, one will be dealing with life is on a different scale now. Apps and much more today are just the tests for a much bigger way of communicating health and welfare. There was a time when one would go to the doctor all the way to communicate a sickness or a tiny problem that could have been solved on a phone call. Shift years later and the abundance of doctors would eliminate the time taken to travel, but the way you could solve such tiny problems is a factor. Weight loss, does it need a doctor to tell you to exercise? So, that’s why Digital Therapeutics do for you; it guides and tells you the best appropriate steps to do for any problem with knowledge from a guided physician.

What is Digiceuticals?

Digiceuticals (4), or digital health resources and facilities, are also known as digital therapeutics. The premise behind them is that by helping you properly treat, control, or avoid a medical condition, they can improve your health. In combination with drugs, some digiceuticals are used, while others are intended to eliminate the need for them, often with lower costs and virtually no possible side effects (5). Some people think of wellness applications as digital goods, such as one that aims to help you get calm by asking you to take a few minutes to pause and relax regularly. However, clinicians oppose the word for any digital health solution that does not produce confirmed outcomes through clinical trials in the still-developing field of digital therapeutics.

Digital therapies, usually based on medications and occasional face-to-face coaching, can be as effective or more successful than traditional therapies. For this reason, digital therapies are much more flexible than drug-based therapies and human suppliers, which have high variable costs and can be extremely cost-effective (6). And they are active in transforming conduct, which in the United States is the greatest obstacle to 21st-century healthcare.

MoovCare, described as a “web-based patient-reported follow-up solution” by its creators, seems to suit the concept of a digital solution. By asking them to self-report hard data such as weight and indicators such as pain and energy levels, and appetite, the Israeli-designed digital health solution assists lung cancer patients. The results are assessed by sophisticated algorithms and help spur earlier treatment interventions. New research showed that patients who used MoovCare with advanced lung cancer lived seven and a half months longer. Last year, CVS Health decided to collaborate with Big Health, based in San Francisco, which created the Sleepio app (7) to treat insomnia based on facts. Sleepio uses a virtual sleep specialist and a virtual narcoleptic dog. It sounds adorable and entertaining enough but what Sleepio does is offer cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, through a mobile device to help users make behavioral improvements that facilitate better sleep.

Digiceuticals is proving to be a large organization. Since 2011, investors have poured almost 40 billion dollars into digital health startups, with 40 percent of that amount increasing in 2018 and 2019, according to an article published last year. Digital startups(8) raised more than half a billion dollars in the first three quarters of 2019, according to a CB Insights study that monitors venture capital investments. So how can digital media change the way doctors provide care? The ability to make better evidence-based decisions based on powerful data-driven analytics for care treatment plans is extremely enticing. As legal drugs that physicians administer, the Food and Drug Administration allows more and more digiceuticals, which clears the way for them to be protected by insurance plans.


Technology through the ways of Medicine

Digital applications may take on a more formal role in treating diseases, despite some caution from venture capitalists. In certain cases, either as a standalone medication or conventional medications, this may involve an app prescribed by a doctor. For clinicians, digital therapeutics or “digiceuticals” have not yet emerged as a commonly available treatment option. But with more competition from drug makers and as more mobile solutions get approval from the Food and Drug Administration, that might change. According to the Economist, as many as 150 companies around the world are designing digital therapeutics(9), But crowdsourcing for these projects has not yet reached its pace, as many venture capital firms are waiting to see how current solutions operate and how insurers can pay for apps that earn the FDA’s approval stamp.

It was announced that Reset, a mobile medical application that earned FDA approval in September to treat opioid abuse disorders, set the stage for other app developers to seek FDA scrutiny (10). It provided a signal to developers that validated mobile solutions could be a bigger part of addiction recovery, particularly in the substance abuse industry. The digital health industry is generally getting noticeable headwinds from the FDA. The agency introduced a pilot program last year to alter the way it regulates mobile applications and offer new guidelines on mobile health apps. Among the pilot’s nine participants and Apple, Google and Fitbit are Pear Therapeutics, which developed the Reset app. The pre-certification pilot aims to establish a direction that allows regulators to assess enterprises rather than individual products, which will help alleviate the regulatory pressures associated with gaining approval from the FDA (11). 

Using information and communication technologies, patients receive care and communicate with healthcare systems is evolving rapidly. Digital technologies such as wearable devices, remote surveillance, patient portals, mobile applications, and emerging service models such as telemedicine and virtual visits transform health care. This article presents the use of digitally activated tools and ICT, including electronic health records, telehealth, remote patient monitoring, and mobile health applications, through a study of the existing literature. For patients interested in actively investing in their wellbeing (12), these powerful and creative digitally accessible resources have extended the choices. The technology of information and communication will enhance health outcomes, improve patient care, and reduce costs. To better communicate with patients, practitioners must remain fluent with ICT options.

More than 80 plus million American adults, or more than a third, are projected to be obese, and obesity-related medical expenses are as high as 147 billion dollars a year (13). Type 2 diabetes, which affects about 40 million Americans, is one of the most prevalent and most expensive obesity-related diseases, while about 11 million are undiagnosed. Busy lives, lack of exercise, inadequate diet, sedentary lifestyles, and genetics contribute to the diabetes epidemic, but lack of social support is an often-overlooked factor. The fact that people have less time for face-to-face contact is one of the ironies of today’s digitally linked world. Omada Health, a digital health organization based in San Francisco, aims to promote healthy behavior by leveraging technology to build a network of social connections. To accomplish this, the Prevent app, a mix of digital technology and social networking, has been developed by Omada Health, which educates people about diet and exercise while matching them with similar people with similar objectives (14). 


Digiceuticals in India

India’s healthcare market is expected to reach 372 billion dollars by 2022. The industry has become one of India’s largest sectors, both in revenue and employment, driven by rising incomes, greater health awareness, and better health insurance (15). As the ecosystem evolves in the future, business and technology will drive each other together; digital therapies or digital therapies are a case in point for the latter. The change from a treatment-specific approach to a therapeutic and holistic approach is another interesting trend developing in the industry. The innovative application usage of the mix of artificial intelligence and machine learning will bring about non-invasive, digital diagnostic, and treatment solutions as Medicine becomes more personalized. With five technologies disrupting the healthcare industry for the better, the next few years are expected to witness a paradigm shift (16). 


Market Structure and the future of Digiceuticals

From 3 billion dollars in 2020, the global digital therapeutics market is projected to reach 7 billion dollars by 2025, at a CAGR of 28 percent during the forecast period of 2020 to 2025 (17). Factors such as government preventive healthcare initiatives, technological advances in mobile healthcare, a significant increase in venture capital investments, and the benefits of digital therapeutics, such as the ability to induce behavioral change, which is a major healthcare challenge, user-friendliness, patient conviction, are the main drivers of the growth of the digital therapeutics market. On the other hand, lack of awareness and access to digital therapeutics programs in developing countries, concerns about patient data privacy, unstable payment models, and resistance from traditional healthcare providers are challenges to some extent to this market’s growth (18). 

Based on the region, North America had the largest market share in digital therapeutics and is expected to continue to dominate during the forecast period. The ever-rising growth of this region is due to reasons such as an increase in the geriatric population, an increase in the prevalence of chronic diseases, an increase in demand for wireless & portable devices, and the availability of sophisticated expenditure-minimizing reimbursement structures (19). Due to a highly fragmented population base that turns into a large target base and rapid urbanization that involves a rapidly evolving technological landscape, the Asia Pacific is expected to experience the highest growth rate during the forecast period. The market will also try to benefit from ongoing reforms in countries to address the lack of adequate infrastructure and financial inclusion, sustainable development (20). 

Digiceuticals are certainly paving the way for better research and development for the betterment of humanity. This sort of medical treatment could reduce budgets and enhance the scope of reach within any technological medium. Like any other technological medium (21), Digiceutical is certainly going to be the epitome of healthcare in the second half of the century and thus solve the economic problems we are currently facing.

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My passion is Reading and writing. Basically, an optimistic introvert. Always striving to be better. Writing as a passion leads me to become stronger and focused.

Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article have been curated for our audience and does not warrant a 100% accuracy. All the information mentioned in the article is subject to change according to the changing viewpoints. Feel free to reach us at [email protected] for any change or copyright issues.

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Abraham George
Abraham George
My passion is Reading and writing. Basically, an optimistic introvert. Always striving to be better. Writing as a passion leads me to become stronger and focused.

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