Key Learnings from DTxWest Digital Therapeutics

I spent the past few days at DTxWest, the third Digital Therapeutics Summit ever held. The lineup was a Who’s Who in this nascent space, and unless you work with some of these guys (yes, guys mainly), you cannot get any closer to the source and action: Anand Iyer (WellDoc), Eddie Martucci (Akili), Alex Waldron (Pear Therapeutics), Brent Vaughan (Cognoa), Matt Cook (Omada), Peter Hames (Sleepio/Big Health), Andree Haag (Sandoz), and the list goes on. 

Through fascinating presentation and thoughtful discussions, I flew home with some key thoughts swirling in my head that all in this area of business should know:

  • Pharma is paying close attention, and its representatives filled half the room. As much as they grapple with the notion of DTx, they clearly take digital therapeutics seriously and are working on business and disease models that include them, with or without drugs.
  • Clinical evidence is key, and necessary to raise interest and funding. No proof, no glory. Trailblazers like WellDoc and Pear, have done an amazing job collecting that evidence, meeting rigorous scientific standards that set them up for regulatory approval and/or reimbursement. 
  • Health economics has to be part of the equation. What is the cost per treatment? Cost per patient? Cost savings? Or, as Matt Cook put it: Make clinical outcomes financial. This, again, takes data that must be collected along the way.
  • Brad Burkett from MatchPoint, a top early investor in DTx, recommends setting yourself apart clearly from digital health (e.g., EHRs), which has failed in the eyes of many. Explain what DTx is (treatment through software), and sell the opportunity, not the product.
  • The opportunity lies in patient data (#realworldevidence) and reported outcomes (PROs), as well as access. The clinician gets data he/she never had before. The patient gets access to treatment where and when he/she wants or needs it.

Did you attend DTx West? I’d love to hear your take? And if you didn’t attend, but wished you had, do you have any questions? Let me know. I’m happy to share more of what I learned.

Chantal Kerssens understands how people think, make decisions, and behave. And she knows how people interact with new health technologies. Contact Chantal for all of your digital health application needs. 

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