The news: Physicians debated the clinical value of digital therapeutics (DTx) at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) annual meeting that was held June 25-29, according to STAT.
How we got here: The digital diabetes market is maturing, with more payers covering the tech and more investors pouring funding into the startups developing it.
The bigger picture: Even though payers are increasingly covering digital therapies, doctors have to be willing to prescribe the tech—something they won’t do if they’re skeptical about the quality of clinical evidence backing it.
DTx players will have to showcase unbiased clinical evidence to land in doctors’ good graces—especially those being reimbursed under value-based schemes. It’s ultimately up to the physician to decide whether or not a digital therapy is a good fit for their patient. Considering more physicians are becoming tied to value-based agreements (67% of Humana Medicare patients are treated by physicians in VBC contracts, for instance), it may be too risky for them to prescribe digital therapies if there’s uncertainty around whether they’ll actually improve health outcomes for all types of patients.
For example, when DTx companies conduct cost and clinical analyses of their programs, some firms selected patients who have already agreed to try the service—which means that patients participating in these clinical studies may already be “more motivated, healthy users who might do well regardless of whether they were using the app or not,” according to doctors at the ADA conference.