Digital and videogame therapeutics have the potential to revolutionize the way we approach healthcare, offering innovative solutions to a wide range of neurocognitive conditions, like depression, ADHD, Parkinson's, multiple-sclerosis, autism, and more. While there has been some hesitation on the part of traditional healthcare providers to embrace these technologies, the truth is that doctors and clinicians are more than willing to prescribe digital and videogame therapeutics – as long as the clinical data supports their effectiveness.
The Misconception of Healthcare Provider Resistance to Digital and Videogame Therapeutics
In the past, digital health solutions have struggled to gain widespread acceptance within the healthcare community. In my experience consulting with digital health companies, stakeholders often attribute this to resistance from healthcare providers to adopt new technology, or, in the case of videogame digital therapeutics (an area that I have a particular focus on), an aversion to videogames. However, in my professional interactions with physicians and clinicians, as well as my speaker engagements for digital health companies, I have not found this to be accurate. In fact, I have often seen the opposite – clinicians are often excited about adopting new technologies that have the potential to positively impact their patients and improve patient engagement. It's not the technology that has prevented healthcare providers from using digital therapeutics in patient care; rather, it's a lack of strong clinical data, similar to what might cause a provider to hesitate to prescribe a new or controversial drug therapy.
Clinical Data is Key in Digital and Videogame Therapeutics
Due to their relative newness, digital health solutions and digital therapeutics have historically struggled to accumulate strong clinical data. However, as these technologies have continued to evolve and mature, the clinical evidence supporting their effectiveness has grown significantly. I have seen this directly leading to an increased number of healthcare providers prescribing digital and videogame therapeutics for their patients, with many getting very positive feedback.
It's crucial for digital health companies to carefully think about and plan their approach to clinical studies. hey should be aware of their in-house expertise and recognize when they need outside help to determine the best study design to achieve their targeted outcomes. This can also streamline the regulatory path, if necessary. It's important for companies not to make the mistake of assuming that doctors are resistant to change and therefore resistant to prescribing new digital therapeutics. Instead, they should understand that doctors are simply resistant to prescribing treatments without evidence of their effectiveness.
The Price has to be Right in Digital and Videogame Therapeutics
Of course, clinical data is just one part of the equation. Cost is also a major consideration for both doctors and patients, particularly in today's healthcare environment where rising costs are a concern for many. That's why it's so important for companies developing digital health solutions to carefully consider their business model and ensure that their products are both effective and affordable. One potential avenue for achieving insurance coverage for new therapies is through the regulatory process, although this can be a lengthy process. Companies should also consider alternative models that can help their products generate revenue while the regulatory process or clinical studies are ongoing. This could involve focusing on the wellness industry or even the entertainment industry (for videogame therapeutics) while also working on the healthcare industry. By finding a way to make their products cost-effective, companies can increase the chances that they will be adopted by healthcare providers and patients.
Focus on Scalability and Accessibility in Digital and Videogame Therapeutics
In addition to clinical data and cost, there are several other key factors that companies should consider when developing digital and videogame therapeutics. One of these is usability – it's important for the technology to be easy for patients to use, whether that means it's a simple app that can be downloaded onto a smartphone or a more complex videogame that requires a console, controller, virtual reality headset, or computer to play. The usability of the technology can also impact its cost and scalability. Another important factor is accessibility – the technology should be tailored towards the target patient population. For example, a VR stroke rehabilitation game should be carefully designed to be used by patients who have motor impairments. Consulting with subject matter experts or patient advocates can be crucial in this process.
Overall, the key to successfully developing and implementing digital and videogame therapeutics is to focus on the clinical effectiveness of the solution, the business model that will allow it to be successful, and other important considerations such as usability, accessibility, and scalability. By prioritizing these factors, companies can create solutions that are both clinically effective and financially viable, making them more likely to be adopted by healthcare providers and patients alike. This is why it's so important for companies to focus on these aspects and to be willing to seek out subject matter experts who can help them make an impact in the field of digital health.
About The Author:
Dr. Amiad Fredman is a health designer and content creator who specializes in the medical design of digital health products, digital therapeutics, and games for health. He is the co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Aegis Digital Health, where he is working to revolutionize the remote patient monitoring space for diabetes patients and their healthcare providers. In addition to his work at Aegis, Amiad is an active speaker and opinion leader on the topics of health design and games for health. He hosts his own YouTube channel, Digital Doc Games, and writes a health design blog, where he shares his insights and expertise. Amiad is passionate about using his skills and knowledge to create effective and engaging health solutions that improve patient outcomes and experiences.
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