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March 25, 2022

Sprint: DTx Last Mile Delivery - HCPs and Patient Adoption

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HealthXL team & HealthXL community

The HealthXL Sprint 2-part meeting series connects senior leaders across our community to solve the latest health challenges. In our most recent sprint we discussed HCP and patient adoption of DTx solutions. In this blog we’ve pulled out the top 5 takeaways from this series. 

Experts included: Abhishek Shah (CEO at Wellthy Therapeutics), Alexander Klein (Group Leader Digital Health at Roche), Anish Shindore (Digital Health Advisor), Christopher Hall (Vice President, Pharma at Mobio Interactive), Chris Wasden (Chief Strategy Officer at Happify Health), Jim Howard (CEO at Readout Health), Katie Archer (Director, Health and Welfare Benefits design, planning and analysis at The Hartford), Kevin Darcy (Director, Link Strategy at Veeva Systems), Marina Simonian (VP, Product Management at ChronWell), Shrawan Patel (Managing Director at Strategy Health), Meaghan Schedel (Digital Health Consultant at HealthXL)

*All opinions are participants’ own and do not reflect the stance of their respective employers.

5 Key Recommendations: 

Help HCPs introduce DTx to their patients: HCPs can help drive patient adoption, but they need key talking points to best present a digital therapeutic (DTx) treatment solution. Supporting HCPs with the right vocabulary to explain the DTx treatment option can help them better provide this option to a patient. Clear guidelines should also be developed for DTx that need to be prescribed in order to help HCPs better navigate the type of therapy the solution supports as well as which solutions need to be used with a drug or other therapy vs. those that can be prescribed as standalone solutions. HCPs should also present the option of DTx treatment to all eligible patients and should not prejudge or prequalify patients for DTx by assuming whether or not they can or will use the technology.  

Create a value story: Focus on providers with value-based care arrangements. The added incentive is already there to implement new solutions that help to get the patient well. Outcomes are important and helping HCPs understand the specific, clear and measurable outcome a solution will achieve can lead to greater adoption. Health plans also need to see the value of a solution reflected in their data. CPT codes are a natural next step in creating a viable and maybe more importantly, a recognisable framework in which DTx products can sit. However, health plans will still need to understand that the new cost of a DTx is associated with an overall lower cost of treating the patient as the DTx can offset other medical expenses. Efficiency benefits are a strong driver for hospitals and in some instances hospitals have even paid out of pocket for solutions where they’ve seen an efficiency benefit. 

Do you really need EHR integration or is it just creating more work? DTx solutions create the opportunity for capturing additional patient information and insights. However, more data isn’t always better. There are only key use cases where EHR integration actually helps the HCP improve care during workflow integration. Access to the data may also create a responsibility and liability for the HCP to review and act on the data. Depending on the solution, the amount of data may be extensive and create an added burden for the HCP. In many cases EMRs don’t have predefined places for the vast majority of data collected by DTx companies, like activation, engagement, completing of activities, etc. The data that DTx companies collect that is of value to integrate into the EHR are data that already have a predefined home in the EMR, these are things such as already used assessments that are part of the EMR. For example, in mental health this can be PHQ-9 or GAD-7. 

Start small to get big: Invest your efforts in one practice to understand what the adoption and pain points are. This will help you improve and achieve higher patient and practice adoption rates, higher engagement and likely better outcomes. If you are able to achieve this in one practice, it will be easier to bring the solution to other places. There is strength in HCP word of mouth. You need to get your KOLs speaking at conferences, on webinars and talking to other HCPs. Advocates support your solution and can vouch for it in other practices.

There’s an opportunity to serve patients detached from healthcare: In certain instances patients become experts on their own disease and may be more willing to try out non-traditional solutions than physicians. We have also seen that most patients would prefer a non-pharmacological treatment solution. However, while direct to consumer DTx solutions may have their place in helping to improve outcomes, there also needs to be cautious consideration of marketing both prescription and non-prescription DTx directly to patients. In some instances where patients have complex and/or polychronic needs, a HCP may be needed to determine if the DTx supports or conflicts with their provider-led treatment plan. 

Future Gazing 

DTx and digital tools are still a very new area. Over time patients and HCPs will become more comfortable with these types of tools through experience and engagement and this will increase their use and adoption. Until we reach this broader acceptance and usage, DTx will need to continue to create value stories that are clear about how the solution makes money. This can be through new sources of revenue or from cost savings. Employers and health plans are strongly invested in saving money from DTx so there needs to be a clear explanation of why and how this happens. In value-based care practices, HCPs aim to save money while in fee for services practices, HCPs make money by providing treatment. Strong cost saving anchors are things like decreased hospitalization, ER visits, inpatient visits, medication costs, etc. Increased revenues will come from CPT billing for using a DTx in the practice of medicine. These are the types of value stories that will lead to DTx success.  

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We can provide an introduction on your behalf so that you can contact them directly with any questions/queries on this topic. Simply click on the link below to request an introduction.

Request an Introduction

We can provide an introduction on your behalf so that you can contact them directly with any questions/queries on this topic. Simply click on the link below to request an introduction.

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