ICER and Nonprofit to Develop Framework to Assess Digital Health Tools


The newly formed Peterson Health Technology Institute was launched with $50 million to analyze clinical benefits and economic impact of new health technologies.

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) is teaming up with the newly formed Peterson Health Technology Institute (PHTI) to develop a framework specifically to assess digital health tools. Peterson Health Technology Institute was formed to analyze evidence about the clinical performance of health technologies and will identify the most promising technologies.

Michael A. Peterson

Michael A. Peterson

“It’s clear that digital tools and artificial intelligence can provide a range of benefits to patients, but we have an inadequate understanding of what works and how much it should cost,” Michael A. Peterson, CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, said in a press release.

The global digital health market was worth more than $233.5 billion in 2022 and is expected to growth at a compound annual growth rate of 15% between 2023 and 2032, according to a report by Global Market Insights. This market includes wearables, telehealth, remote monitoring, healthcare apps and digital health systems. Driving this growth is the increasing use of smartphones and a rising demand for remote patient monitoring, analysts said.

Investment in digital health last year was $15.3 billion, although that was down from $29.3 billion in total investment in 2021, the highest ever for digital health investment, according to Rock Health Digital Health Venture Funding Database.

Peterson Health Technology Institute was launched by The Peterson Center on Healthcare with a commitment of $50 million to develop evidence-based assessments that will analyze the clinical benefits and economic impact of digital health solutions. The Peterson Center on Healthcare is a nonprofit organization founded in 2008 to develop strategies to improve quality and lower costs of healthcare. The PCH collaborates with universities, foundations, policy centers and other stakeholders, such as KFF and Civica Rx.

Steve Pearson, M.D.

Steve Pearson, M.D.

Initially, ICER is partnering with the PHTI to establish an original assessment framework developed specifically for digital health tools, ICER’s President, Steve Pearson, M.D., told Formulary Watch.

“The framework will have core elements on clinical impact and economic value but the methods for each will be tailored to the differences in the landscape for digital interventions,” he said. “In addition, there are distinctive contextual issues related to the competitive landscape, privacy and security, and the proposed role in therapy that will be part of the new framework.”

Pearson said there are some of the differences in assessing digital tools versus prescription drugs. These include:

  • There is no clear pathway or requirement for FDA approval for many digital interventions.
  • There are different considerations regarding “usability” and “accessibility”
  • This is a potential for ongoing expansion of the digital platform beyond the initial clinical target
  • There is a heightened importance of whether evidence on the impact is generalizable across different insurance types, delivery systems, clinicians, and patients

Beyond establishing the framework for assessing digital health tools, PHTI is still considering the range of groups it will partner with on the assessments.

“The Peterson Health Technology Institute can play an essential role in cutting through the hype surrounding new digital health technologies and the commercial interests behind them, providing independent, evidence-based evaluations of their potential for improving care and lowering costs,” said Drew Altman, president and CEO of KFF and a member of the Peterson Center on Healthcare’s Advisory Board.

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