Who Gets to Call the Shots—Digital Health Care Reinvented

By Maya Gurarie

An elderly patient needs help with balancing exercises because he keeps falling. Unfortunately his doctor can’t see him because COVID-19 patients take priority. This scenario and others like it can be remedied by an emerging field in medicine. Digital Therapeutics (DTx) are evidence-based therapeutic interventions driven by software programs to prevent, manage or treat a disease or condition. This technology can extend a physician’s reach, by overcoming time, space and personnel to reach a patient.

“I think we’ve seen that the future of digital therapeutics is not a conversation that will be in the future. The future is actually now. We’ve seen how digital health has reinvented patient care at home, and there will be blend of hybrid moments,” said LINUS President Kristin Apple.

This field of medicine is still evolving, with many ethical questions that come along with it. Should medicine prescribed digitally be infused, inhaled or injected? Who will lead the adoption of therapeutics—complex health systems, consumers, startups, or a combination of all of them? Patients have been able to access health care from home during the past 16 months, which has changed the game for digital delivery of care.

The Health Track at Boulder Startup Week (BSW) is featuring a panel of experts to discuss these topics. Select the link and log onto Revnt to access the event. The Future of Digital Therapeutics (DTx) and the Impact on Care will happen on Friday, May 14, 10:00 – 10:50 a.m. MDT.

Coming back to the scenario with the patient who kept falling, there’s a digital solution for that. Ed Likovich is the CEO of Nymbal Science, which provides a training program through a mobile phone. The program helps older adults with balancing exercises for greater mobility and independence. Likovich will speak on the BSW panel, along with Abby Mercado. She heads up Best Shot, which provides a digital solution that helps patients understand fertility and engage with their therapy. Finally,  Robert Niichel founded SmartTab. This innovative startup offers several types of ingestible capsules with a microprocessor that delivers medicine at the push of a button. 

BSW’s theme is resilience this year. The demands of the pandemic have tested health care as to what it can deliver in the moment—both in traditional and novel situations. Some solutions such as remote diagnoses and monitoring are here to stay.

It’s interesting to see which startups have entered health care during the pandemic, and how large companies have adapted. Big players such as Amazon are setting their sights on delivering care in the comfort of patients’ homes. As early as next year, people with a prime membership could access Amazon Care. Amazon promises diagnoses and health care visits straight to members—in their homes and through their mobile phones. The next frontier in medicine may depend on who patients consider the authority in delivering their care. Join the conversation at BSW to see what’s next in digital health care.

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