If looked at Digital Wellness and Digital Therapeutics combined, one can see how both of them are not only growing rapidly but also the connection becomes apparent. DTx would arguably be part of the Digital Wellness family, while inhibiting a much more narrowly defined space.
Consumers are looking for ways to manage their health holistically and digital tools are here to help. Many say DTx is creating an entirely new modality in medicine, and as such, they should also inhabit their own “house” with specific settings to support it. Maybe it shouldn’t be seen any longer as just one piece of the bigger Digital Health house or ecosystem, but rather give them their own. In this regard all the loosely guided industry standards we mentioned above, may also need to be brought in to question and set up in a DTx-focused way.
As you may have read, G4A focuses on creating ventures anchored in human-centered design, meaning we create solutions with consumers and patients together in a very iterative way. We sit with them to understand their problems and desires. This means there is a lot of time spent “in the wild” to fully understand our consumers’ beliefs and worldviews, as much as their daily habits. Already today we have many difficulties ensuring patients stay adherent and compliant to their medications, with DTx being entirely left alone to its software-based behavioral interventions, a smooth integration into patient’s lives is key. Additionally, to the interventions DTx deliver, the solution relies on the software’s User Experience/User Interface (UX/UI) to drive the use of their product. Human-centricity is, therefore, the most important aspect of creating a successful DTx. And with that, the apparent connection between G4A and DTx are also a key driver for us.
It’s not a big surprise that Pharma has been looking at DTx with mixed feelings. Some have doubled-down and acquired DTx, others are betting big on it by signing big commercial deals; another group is investing from seed to late-stage; and yet others are sitting on the sidelines watching the spectacle play out in front of them. In our preceding DTx blog <link to blog>, Javier alluded to the question of “whether Pharma and DTx are a match made in heaven.” The questions remain: should or shouldn’t Pharma get into DTx? But is that really the right question to ask? I doubt it.
I would rather ask whether DTx can or can’t help patients live better, healthier and happier lives. And if the answer is yes - and everything seems to point to a big YES - then what exactly are all industry players waiting for? We need the entire industry to embrace this new form of medicine to truly move the needle. Frankly, the amazing advancements and continuous push by, and even collaboration amongst, DTx companies is impressive. I was humbled to see the collaborative spirit we saw during the recent DTx Europe conference in London and would love to see this community growing.
Let’s join this conversation and shine a light from all angles on the current structures and how we need to frame them to enable DTx to live up to the promises.