Healing through App, instead of a drug? It’s not science fiction, but the result of advances in technology in the medical field: a concrete possibility of supporting treatment capable of improving therapeutic efficacy.
We’re talking about Digital Therapeutics – that is, clinically validated technological solutions, designed to integrate or potentially replace traditional therapies, ensuring greater patient involvement and at the same time a better overall quality of healthcare in the long term.
The systems developed as part of Digital therapeutics are flexible and must be able to adapt to the needs of care and the type of assistance required. But what does Digital therapeutics mean and how can it be translated?
The Anglo-Saxon term Digital Therapeutics, whose definition we’ve borrowed from wikipedia.org, can be translated into "Digital Therapies" and indicates "... a field of digital medicine: evidence-based therapeutic interventions, guided by high-quality software applications, in order to prevent, manage or treat ailments or diseases. Companies that develop digital therapies must publish the results of significant clinical studies in scientific journals. Treatment is based on changes in behaviour and lifestyle, induced by digital stimuli (omitted)"
The first investments in the Digital Therapeutics sector started ten years ago, when we initially ventured into unexplored territory, and now the first results are beginning to show. The solutions available at the moment are aimed at solving the problems of specific sectors: for instance, there are video games designed for the treatment of children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)), online programs to aid weight loss by decreasing cardiac risk, mobile platforms and sensors to support the management of respiratory diseases and apps with a three-month program for the treatment of addiction to substances such as alcohol, cannabis and cocaine. These are just a few of the more well-known digital therapies on the US market, and which in most cases are aimed at patients suffering from chronic diseases or neurological disorders, frequently overlooked by the traditional healthcare system. Furthermore, these new therapies offer cheaper treatments, thereby reducing the work for doctors.
The exponential increase in the diffusion of technology allows us to envision an expansion of the scope of application to widespread pathologies, which also impact an elderly population, who are in this day and age increasingly accustomed to the use of smartphones and its applications. The development of Artificial Intelligence techniques makes it possible to personalize therapies and move them further away from a simply digitized version of traditional therapies.