SummaryIt is no surprise that innovation in the world of digital health is transforming the way healthcare is delivered.
Simply by using a smartphone, patients can monitor their personal medical data, manage and treat chronic disease symptoms, communicate with clinicians to receive medical consults, and set alerts that encourage medication adherence. While digital health solutions hold great potential to help improve healthcare delivery, it is imperative to understand their evidence base and review how these solutions improve access and impact cost and outcomes.
In today’s rapidly growing market of digital health solutions, payers, guideline developers, and health technology assessment organizations are starting to evaluate the evidence supporting the use of these innovations. Recent developments include:
- The World Health Organization released it first guideline on digital health solutions. It outlines recommendations on using digital health platforms, including mobile apps and telemedicine, to strengthen health system operations and broaden access to healthcare coverage and services.
- Pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) Express Scripts’ announcement launched a stand-alone digital health formulary for plan year 2020. Like a medication formulary, Express Scripts describes the digital health formulary as “a curated list of technology- and software-enabled applications and devices that help patients prevent, manage or treat a medical condition.” The PBM will assess a variety of factors, including therapeutic value, security and privacy, and cost effectiveness, to determine formulary positioning for digital health technology tools.
- ICER recently released its list of potential 2020 assessment topics, including the assessment of alternative types of interventions that could potentially make an immediate and significant impact. Specific non-drug topics in 2020 may include: oncology care pathways, digital apps to reduce health disparities for people with disabilities, and telehealth approaches to treat behavioral health conditions.
Digital health solutions have the potential to solve complex issues in today’s healthcare system. However, their potential can only be realized if they are able to improve access and generate the cost and outcomes evidence that physicians, hospitals, insurance plans, and patients seek. Widespread adoption of digital health guidelines will help improve the evidence base and encourage competition in the market.
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