A discussion on the evolution of the DTx industry – from solutions to platforms DTx 1.0 to DTx 2.0

By Gary Monk

Digital therapeutics are taking off but are they meeting the needs of all stakeholders?

Due to pharma’s vast size and their desire to ‘test and learn’ they often create multiple DTx ‘point solutions’ which leads to issues not just for themselves but also for other stakeholders.

Patients

  •  May have multiple comorbidities therefore experience ‘Digital poly-pharmacy’ having to juggle multiple Digital Health apps
  •  Often find solutions are often not personalized to their specific needs 
  •  Realize DTx apps are often long on data but short on insights

Physicians

  • Often don’t believe the solution reduces their burden or helps their practice 
  • Can be overwhelmed, experiencing numerous solutions, from multiple companies for many therapy areas 
  • Are not even sure if the solution is really helping their patients

Payers

  • Find ‘real world data’ is usually not available or there is no clear and credible value story 
  • Rarely have evidence the solution works across entire patient population, aligned to health outcomes and lowering cost of care

Pharma

  • Generally create narrow solutions i.e. focused on one disease and a single part of the patient journey and product lifecycle
  •  Experience a lack of adoption due to a failure to meet the needs of all key stakeholders 
  • Often find themselves a distributor of various solutions but an owner of none 
  • Realize solutions that work in one geographical area won’t work in another due to differing local needs.

I spoke to 2 key players at Wellthy Therapeutics about these challenges, to get their perspective on how the next era of digital therapeutics can meet the various  stakeholder needs.

They believe the answer lies in creating a single integrated platform or operating system, on top of which different solutions may sit. They are calling this DTx 2.0

 

Gary:  So DTx 2.0 sounds impressive but what is it? 

 Theo:  We believe the industry needs to move from a DTx 1.0 approach answering one specific need to an operating system approach encompassing multiple needs. This will allow high levels of configuration to each stakeholder need, so every stakeholder has a different experience, yet one solution. It will enable localization to ensure solutions work across geographies, e.g. differing regulations, user journeys, integration and interoperability with local health systems.

Gary:  The approach makes sense but doesn’t DTx 2.0 risk becoming just another industry jargon term?

 Theo: The reason we call it DTx 2.0 is based on Web 1.0 vs Web 2.0. Web 1.0 was about point solutions while Web 2.0 included social media, user-generated websites and greatly enhanced connectivity. Call it what you want but we believe the term DTx 2.0 nicely reflects this much needed operating system approach. 

Gary: I totally get the need for an integrated approach but if we are moving away from point solutions don’t we risk having a ‘one size fits all approach’? 

 Abhishek: Stakeholder needs and challenges are not homogeneous with a variety of subcultures and unique needs. One size clearly does not fit all. The future of DTx needs to be highly personalized, manage an array of conditions yet be highly scalable. And to add to the challenge it needs to fit neatly into a HCP’s workflow, making their life easier not harder!  

 Gary: The highly personalized approach sounds great for patients. But how does this scale and won’t it make a HCPs job harder vs easier?  

 Abhishek: Yes we do need multiple solutions personalized to each patient but having these wrapped in the one operating system model that Theo described, enables this multiplicity to scale. And the system provides each HCP a singular view of each patient or all their patients, enabling efficient care and management.  

 Gary: Ok we have discussed patients and physicians but what about payers and pharma 

 Abhishek: The beauty of the operating system for payers is we can gather real world evidence across the entire patient journey and also encompass the entire patient population who are using DTx tools. It enables a single data lake for real world insight mining. 

 Theo: Pharma will clearly benefit by having met the needs of all of the stakeholders above. You can only direct stakeholders towards pharma’s required behaviors once those stakeholders are having their primary needs met as well. And delivering a range of solutions inside one wrapper will ensure they can be much more efficient and faster in deploying those solutions.  

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The adoption of DTx is growing but solutions risk following a divergent path and not meeting stakeholder needs. It is thus important to converge solutions around each stakeholder offering a personalized solution and one clear entry point, for example the operating system approach to DTx discussed above.  

If Pharma uses an integrated approach they can provide personalized solutions to patients, seamlessly integrate into a physician’s workflow and offer payers meaningful and actionable Real World Evidence.

By focusing on the needs of these stakeholders, Pharma will quickly find they are also meeting their own needs.

About Wellthy Therapeutics

Wellthy’s mission is to advance health equity through digital care in all parts of the world. We solve difficult global challenges including disparities in access, poor patient outcomes and socio-economic barriers to care. We deliver patient-companion and concierge solutions that leverage behavioral science mechanisms to deliver clinical and business outcomes at scale. Our platform enables our partners to build and own next-generation digital solutions through a single, commercially and clinically validated front-end, on a regulatory compliant back-end.

Abhishek Shah is Wellthy’s Chief Executive Officer

Theo Ahadome is Wellthy’s Chief Business Officer. 

For more information, please visit Wellthytherapeutics.com.

About Gary Monk

Gary Monk is a well respected thought leader, writer & speaker in the Digital Health field and put this insight into practical use daily through high profile multichannel strategy & customer experience consulting projects.

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