Digital Therapeutics Promise a New Future for Healthcare 

The U.S. nonprofit association ‘Digital Therapeutics Alliance’ was founded on October 24,2017. It is sieged in Arlington, Virginia. 

The U.S. nonprofit association ‘Digital Therapeutics Alliance’ was founded on October 24,2017. It is sieged in Arlington, Virginia. 

One of its goals is to raise awareness among the public, healthcare professionals, and government officials about the importance of digital therapeutics, gaining recognition for them, and supporting research and development in the field to ensure the delivery of effective and safe solutions for patients. 

It also aims to enhance the partnerships and collaborations between the members in order to improve the quality and availability of digital treatments. The alliance is also seeking to establish and implement standards and guidelines to ensure the quality and effectiveness of these treatments, as well as to effectively integrate them into existing healthcare systems worldwide. 

For its part, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approved the first of its kind digital smartphone app called reSET, as an effective treatment for addiction and disorders resulting from the use of drugs, alcohol, and stimulants. Thus, by the end of 2023, it By the end of 2023, the FDA had approved over 40 digital treatments, including: 

EndeavorRx, a video game developed by Akili Interactive, which can now be prescribed to treat children aged 8 to 12 with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

BlueStar, a digital app developed by WellDoc for managing type 2 diabetes, providing assistance in maintaining healthy habits. 

Kaia Health, an app offering various convenient ways to relieve back pain by providing a series of exercises for the back, abdomen, and legs, as well as relaxation techniques to reduce pain and improve quality of life. 

While Natural Cycles” helps prevent pregnancy by calculating fertility days based on body temperature readings and information related to the menstrual cycle. 

In this context, Germany is the primary European country adopting digital healthcare. To this end, the German parliament passed legislation for a digital healthcare system, approving the use of digital medical applications in treatment. 

The German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices maintains a register of approved digital health applications. These can be prescribed by doctors and psychotherapists and covered by insurance companies. Examples include: 

Kalmeda: an app for tinnitus therapy. 

Velibra: a digital app for anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, agoraphobia, and social anxiety disorder, using cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. 

Vivira: designed for treating back, knee, and hip pain, offering a physical therapy program to help manage and alleviate pain. 

M-sense: a digital app aimed at managing headaches, including migraines, through tailored treatment plans. 

Somnio: a sleep training app designed to help users with insomnia by providing individualized sleep improvement techniques. 

Digital Therapeutics, often referred to as DTx, involve software applications that have acquired clinical approval and have been evaluated by health regulatory bodies. These apps, which patients can download onto their smartphones and various devices, provide medically authorized treatments and interventions. 

It is worth noting that DTx are fundamentally different from telemedicine, as using them requires downloading therapeutic apps from app stores like Apple Store or Google Play. 

In regard to the market, digital therapeutics are expected to reach approximately $6.1 billion in revenue by 2023 and $21.9 billion by 2028, according to MarketsandMarkets. 

This growth is attributed to the availability of digital applications that help prevent, manage, and treat chronic diseases and medical disorders, leading to increased investments in the field. The market is divided into devices, software, and services, with software and services accounting for the largest share. Digital therapeutics include apps related to diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, the central nervous system, respiratory system, smoking cessation, digestive disorders, depression, anxiety, and more. Studies indicate that these therapies have proven effective in supporting preventive care, diagnosis, treatment, management, and improving health conditions associated with the mentioned diseases. 

It seems that this field has a promising future, as it is more integrated with healthcare management. AI, machine learning, and personalized medicine are also expected to lead to the development of more advanced, tailored applications to meet individual needs. 

Moreover, with the increasing focus on preventive healthcare, apps that monitor and encourage healthy lifestyle choices will become progressively important. As data security and privacy continue to improve, user confidence in these apps will increase, accelerating their adoption. 

However, despite some countries such as e UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar are showing interest, the adoption of digital health applications in most Arab countries still faces challenges. These include the absence of regulating laws, low awareness of their importance, and limited integration with existing healthcare systems, especially health insurance systems. Additionally, the weak internet infrastructure in poorer Arab countries is also a fundamental obstacle.  

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