Published on: Feb 28, 2024

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Patient-Centricity 2.0: The Role of DTx in Enhancing Quality of Life

Patient-Centricity: The Role of DTx in Enhancing Quality of Life
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Abstract

The integration of digital technology into diabetes management is revolutionising patient-centric care. It fosters personalised and collaborative experiences between patients and healthcare professionals while enhancing medical adherence. This blog examines the potential of Digital Therapeutics (DTx) in enhancing patients’ quality of life.

What is Digital Therapeutics?

Digital therapeutics is the implementation of high-quality health software for generating and delivering clinically proven medical interventions. These interventions will likely deliver demonstrable positive therapeutic impacts on patients’ health and produce real-world outcomes. Sepah et al. coined the term digital therapeutics for the first time in 2015. He formally defined the concept as “evidence-based behavioural treatments delivered online that can increase accessibility and effectiveness of healthcare.”

In the context of diabetes management, DTX empowers patients to actively participate in their therapeutic journey, offers personalised guidance, stimulates medication adherence, encourages self-monitoring of blood sugar levels, and promotes lifestyle modifications. 

Relationship between Digital Health, Digital Medicine, and DTx

Digital health is an umbrella entity of technologies, platforms, and systems utilised across all healthcare verticals to improve the lifestyle, wellness, and health of end-users. Health information technologies, telehealth systems, and clinical care administration tools are all examples of digital health. 

Digital medicine consists of evidence-based software or hardware products to evaluate and intervene in human health. Remote monitoring devices, digital diagnostics and digital biomarkers come under the purview of digital medicine. Digital therapeutics is a further sub-set of digital medicine. As pointed out earlier, it consists of scientifically proven therapeutic interventions to prevent, manage, or treat a disease.

Relationship between Digital Health, Digital Medicine, and DTx

Fig 1: Relationship between Digital Health, Digital Medicine, and DTx

Benefits of Using DTx in Diabetes Care

Digital therapeutics is an emerging treatment approach that can potentially transform healthcare delivery globally. Here are some of the significant benefits of implementing DTx in diabetes care:

  • Real-time Monitoring of Patients

DTx is immensely beneficial in the real-time monitoring of patients as smart devices like CGM sensors and insulin pumps immediately nudge and alert users whenever their glucose readings go out of range. Patients can also seek correct advice from doctors based on their current blood sugar readings.

  • Behavioural Changes to Manage Diabetes

Psychological counselling and behavioural modifications are crucial for managing multi-faceted metabolic disorders like diabetes and obesity. Long-term sustenance of treatment strategies is largely possible by adopting healthy lifestyles. Patients can effortlessly integrate these behaviour modifications through DTx where they receive prompt feedback on achieving a specific goal. Several DTx platforms even launched gamified challenges and incentives to improve adherence to the recommended diet, exercises and medications.

  • Personalisation and Tailored Interventions

DTx platforms like Fitterfly can seamlessly connect users with personalised coaches who can design customised diabetes care digital therapeutics plans. These platforms run a personal profiling of members including their current health status, family history, and diet and exercise preferences to come up with unique tailored interventions. Coaches also serve as the missing link for post-follow-up monitoring and consultations. 

  • Improved Patient Engagement

Digital apps, fitness trackers, and AI-driven chatbots have gone a long way in driving patient engagement. These digital products empower patients to take control of their therapeutic journey. Moreover, maintenance of health records on health apps reveals patients’ steady progress since onboarding and encourages them to strictly adhere to treatment plans.

  • Promoting Predictive Analytics 

Several DTx platforms like Fitterfly store personal health insights like Personalised Glycemic scores and blood sugar readings through Virtual CGMs, thus enabling the platform to go one step ahead in predictive analytics via data crunching. 

Challenges in the adoption of DTx in India

Fitterfly recently conducted an internal survey on The Advocacy of Digital Therapeutics amongst Clinicians in India by gathering responses from 232 doctors from over 99 Indian cities. In this study, physicians pointed out that despite a growing awareness of DTx solutions among healthcare professionals, confidentiality, affordability and patients’ ability to manage technology are some of its biggest challenges. Healthcare stakeholders should work on minimising these doubts for the successful integration of DTx in diabetes care.

Challenges in the adoption of DTx in India

Fig 2: Challenges in the adoption of DTx in India

Key Takeaways:

  • DTx employs high-quality health software for generating and delivering clinically proven medical interventions.
  • Digital Health, Digital Medicine, and DTx are closely related wherein digital health is an umbrella entity and digital medicine and DTx are subsets of it.
  • DTx helps in remote monitoring, behaviour modifications, improving engagement and promoting predictive analysis in diabetes care.
  • Major challenges in adopting DTx in India include confidentiality, affordability and patients’ ability to manage technology.
- By Fitterfly Health-Team

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