Nearly 25 health technology companies have joined the Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA)® new initiative to develop standards for the use of digital therapeutics – an emerging field that uses software-based interventions to enhance or provide care. The group, which includes Google, HP, Philips, Doctor on Demand and ResMed, will recommend best practices for the definition, application, use and performance requirements for the field.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing faster innovation across all aspects of digital health including digital therapeutics,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “This field takes the application of technology beyond just wellness tracking. Companies are now developing solutions that can manage pain, allergies and even address mental health problems. As more people take control of their own health in the comfort and safety of their homes, we must understand what this technology means and how to advance its adoption.”
A relatively new branch of digital health, digital therapeutics uses software applications to enhance clinician decision making, optimize the dose and delivery of other forms of medical treatment through monitoring patient data in real time, or act as a standalone intervention. The tech solutions can be used with, or sometimes in place of traditional pharmaceutical interventions. Examples range from digital exercise programs specifically designed for patients with diabetes to virtual reality-based mental health apps for patients with PTSD – ultimately aiming to reduce dependence on drugs.
The current challenge is the wide variety of terms used within the industry, from digital devices to digital medicine. The goal of the initiative is to set an industry foundation on the common use and application of this technology, eventually educating consumers as well.
“There are vast opportunities to innovate in this space to improve patient outcomes and lower costs,” said Kerri Haresign, director, technology and standards, CTA. “But to increase use and adoption, we need to document a common understanding of the technology. The group will also focus on distinguishing between general digital health technology and technology used for intervention.”
“Similar to pharmaceuticals, digital therapeutics are rapidly developing as an integral category in the healthcare ecosystem,” said Gaurav Gupta, director, corporate and business development, MindMaze, and chair of the initiative. “CTA is providing an important platform for leading companies to establish key standards that will guide the industry, enable wider medical adoption and significantly improve patient outcomes.”
Organizations participating in this initiative include:
- Amalgam Rx
- Doctor on Demand
- GlucoseZone by Fitscript
- Google Health
- Propeller Health
- The Omega Concern
- Tivic Health Systems
Earlier this year, CTA released the first-ever digital health standard
on the use of artificial intelligence in health care, developed by more than 50 tech and health organizations. CTA also released standards on performance requirements for physical activity
and stress monitoring
CTA will hold a session on digital therapeutics during the Technology & Standards Fall Forum
where panelists will delve into the science and application of this new field.