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Digital health summit brings together leaders in digital therapeutics

The Summit will focus on the future of clinically validated digital healthcare.

Players from across the healthcare industry — including providers, payers, researchers, regulators and investors — will converge on Hanover Wednesday, November 2 for a digital health summit entitled “Clinically Validated Digital Therapeutics: Paths to Deployment.”

The event, hosted by the Center for Technology and Behavioral Health (CTBH) and The Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship at Dartmouth College, will cover the current state of digital therapeutics, and explore the paths to global deployment of this innovative type of healthcare.

“We have a community, here at Dartmouth, that’s very well known for expertise in digital therapeutics,” says Lisa A. Marsch, Ph.D., Director of CTBH. CTBH is a nationally recognized Center of Excellence, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“Currently, there’s so much happening, and such strong interest in digital therapeutics,” Marsch says. “It feels like this is the moment to bring all these parties together to talk about where we are and what the vision for the future is in this space.”

Digital therapeutics include any software used to prevent, treat, or manage a medical disorder or disease. At a time when the burden of chronic diseases is increasing and a provider shortage is challenging the delivery of care, digital therapeutics offer a solution, says Barry Schweitzer, Ph.D., D’82, Associate Director for Strategic Initiatives at the Magnuson Center for Entrepreneurship.

“We are seeing a number of converging trends that will ultimately lead to a dramatic increase in the use of digital therapeutics in the treatment of diseases,” Schweitzer says.

The pandemic and associated boom in telehealth has served as a proof of concept for the role that technology can play in healthcare, he adds.

“The use of technology has become so ingrained in our society that the potential for driving down the costs of providing healthcare while increasing patient and provider engagement is within our grasp,” Schweitzer says.

And yet, to reach their full potential, digital therapeutics must find its way forward within the complicated healthcare industry, says Andy Molnar, CEO of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA), a trade organization serving the clinically validated digital therapeutics industry.

“That’s hard, because within healthcare there’s hundreds, if not thousands, of important stakeholders,” says Molnar, who will be speaking at the Summit. “Each one, if they hold back, breaks the entire chain.”

He points to pricing compendia within the pharmaceutical industry. These directories feed into Electronic medical records (EMRs) systems around the world. If a therapeutic is not listed in the pricing compendia, doctors can’t prescribe it, Molnar explains. Until recently, the compendia were unwilling to list digital therapeutics, until the DTA stepped in and advocated for the inclusion.

“We didn’t think listing would be a problem, but it was a huge problem,” Molnar says. “Luckily, that’s been solved now.”

Still, larger hurdles loom, including meeting government regulations and getting insurance companies and government payers on board with covering the cost of digital therapeutics. Those challenges underscore the importance of an event like the Summit, where stakeholders from different sectors can work together to move digital therapeutics forward.

“This will generate discussion about some of the key issues that have the potential to impact the adoption of these important products, including but not limited to value-generating business models, reimbursement, and patient engagement,” Schweitzer says.

Marsch is eager to see how leaders with a variety of perspectives on digital therapeutics will come together to shape the future of the field.

“Together, we can accelerate the implementation of state of the science digital health solutions and ensure that the products we get into the hands of providers and patients really are the best,” she says.

Learn more about the Summit — including a speaker list, agenda, overview and registration — here.