A Brave New World of Health Technology and Digital Therapeutics

October 19, 2019

As digital health and therapeutic capabilities continue to grow, it is vital that managed care organizations keep one eye toward the future.

Today, healthcare runs on information technology (IT) systems. This goes far beyond electronic health record (EHR) platforms. As IT continues to evolve, increasing in both functionality and sophistication, the healthcare industry now has a new arsenal of tools to help them to both improve care and lower costs. Cory Kidd, PhD, chief executive officer at Catalia Health, a company that uses IT to provide deep insights to help healthcare organizations optimize the efficiency of their services, says it is imperative that managed care organizations understand emerging trends in the healthcare IT space so they can be ready for what the future holds.

Kidd will join other industry experts, including Rachel De Jesus, vice president of strategy and partnerships at SMRxT, Yuri Maricich, MD, MBA, chief medical officer of Pear Therapeutics, Benjamin Parcher, PharmD, MS, Manager of Strategic Market Access and Intelligence at Xcenda, Malinda Peeples, MS, RN, CDE, vice president of clinical services, programs, and research at WellDoc, Charles Ruetsch, PhD, president and chief executive officer at Health Analytics, LLC, and Patty Taddei-Allen, PharmD, MBA, BCACP, BCGP, senior director of clinical analytics at WellDyneRx, at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) Nexus event, to be held October 29-November 1, 2019, in National Harbor, Maryland, to discuss tomorrow’s brave new world of IT offerings in the session, “AMCP Talks: Future Trends in Health Technology and Digital Therapeutics.” The panel will be held on November 1, 2019, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.

Kidd says that the adoption of digital technologies has really picked up over the past five years-and will continue to do so in the foreseeable figure. He says there are vast opportunities for healthcare organizations to benefit from those technologies, provided stakeholders understand what they are and how they can have impact.

“Today we have true digital therapeutics available-a combination of some kind of device or app with a drug that needs to go through the FDA. We’ve seen a few of those in the last few years and expect to see more-which is excited,” he explains. “But there are also a lot of services that can be provided around a drug that can help specialty pharmacy and managed care organizations scale up interactions with patients in ways that simply weren’t possible before, giving you data about what’s going on with those patients and their outcomes.”

Related: Real-World Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

The emergence of artificial intelligence-machine learning, in particular-is also something to watch, Kidd says.

“There’s a lot of rich data that is out there to help us understand what might going on with a patient,” he says. “These kinds of programs can help analyze all that data to help healthcare organizations understand what’s going on in a way that we’ve never been able to do before. And those analytics can be done on an individual patient, across a group of patients, or even across a large population. There are a lot of exciting opportunities around that.”

Kidd admits that it can be easy to be intimidated by a lot of the emerging applications and technologies. A few years ago, everyone was talking about smart phone or tablet apps – and most were built with the idea of that developers would figure out what to do with them after the fact. So, he suggests that healthcare organizations think carefully about future IT investments and what problems they are actually trying to solve before making any big decisions.

“These are investments that offer some real opportunities for specialty pharmacy,” he says. “But some people don’t realize that this is something they should be looking at on the pharmacy side. Maybe they think it’s a program that the payer or manufacturer should be paying for. But in order to understand whether they are the right investment, stakeholders first need to understand what these new technologies are and what they can really do for them.”

Kayt Sukel is a science and health writer based outside Houston.