BY ONOME AMUGE
Digital therapeutics, as described by medical experts, are clinically validated software programmes for the treatment of chronic medical conditions, either independently or in conjunction with other therapies.
Now, according to new research by Juniper, a global hi-tech research and analytical services provider, digital therapeutics facilitate the proactive mitigation of chronic medical conditions before they require costly interventions, enabling health insurers to reduce long-term costs per patient.
The research titled, “Digital Therapeutics & Wellness: Key Trends, Business Models & Market Forecasts 2022-2026”, found that digital therapeutics revenue from health insurers will increase to $8 billion by 2026, up from $1.1 billion in 2022, representing a growth of 610 percent over the next four years.
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Juniper forecasts that the number of people using digital therapeutics will increase by 381 percent over the next four years, adding that machine learning will be key to this growth by facilitating advanced data analytics, remote patient monitoring, and real-time conversational coaching.
The research also posited that insurers will benefit from an ongoing shift among digital therapeutics vendors towards engagement-and results-based payments.
However, it highlighted that the insurance savings will be limited to health insurers in developed regions, where consumer devices and digitalised health infrastructure are ubiquitous.
As such, it asserted that health insurers in Africa and Latin America will contribute less than two percent towards health insurer-led digital therapeutics revenue in 2026.
Juniper recommends that therapeutics providers looking to leverage the digital therapeutic trend prioritise the development of performance benchmarks, as demonstrating improvement and preventing patient abandonment will become a direct monetary issue.
Describing the technological impact of digital therapeutics in the health sector, Adam Wears, the research author, explained that as developers and healthcare providers increasingly grapple with issues of liability and malpractice, machine learning will transition from a patient-facing role to a diagnostic tool offered through provider-facing dashboards; to be used by clinicians and specialists in a manner akin to traditional computer-aided diagnostics.
On the flipside, Juniper cautioned that an ongoing lack of standards surrounding the use of machine learning within digital therapeutics will result in vendors limiting its role in their offerings.