As we all know, our healthcare industry is in the midst of a digital transformation. As healthcare consumers (patients), we believe all of us are thinking “it’s about time!” It’s great to finally have access to our own medical records on our computer or phone. However, in medtech business terms, the impacts of digital healthtech are still sometimes ambiguous due to a combination of misalignment on both terminology and various stages of technology adoption.
As there are multiple segments within digital healthtech, we thought we would highlight some of them for our TMD community to reference as we go forward. These include:
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in SaMD (software as a medical device): While AI and ML are often used interchangeably, AI is the development of intelligent computer programs while ML is an AI technique used to design and train software to act on data continuously. SaMD is software intended for one or more medical purposes performing these functions without being part of the medical device hardware. Examples are software trained to detect cancers in radiology applications or software used for surgical planning with an AI (or ML) assist.
Digital therapeutics or (DTx): DTx deliver medical interventions directly to patients using evidence and clinically evaluated software to treat, manage and prevent a broad spectrum of diseases and disorders. An example is reSET-O, which has various applications that lead patients with stimulant use disorders to track their substance use, cravings, and triggers.
Wearables: These items can be placed anywhere on the body or garments of an individual. This huge and trendy category includes textiles, necklaces, rings, patches, watches, and more, often used in remote monitoring. Consumer wearables are taking the lead in adoption, while medical-grade technologies have yet to find the reimbursement momentum for full-scale adoption. There’s a huge opportunity for a medtech company to breakthrough in this area!
Cybersecurity: The more devices become connected, the more exposed they are to outside threats. Therefore, the FDA has an office dedicated to ensuring new digital health tech products will be secure. Meanwhile, many companies are playing catch-up with previous generations of devices with exposure. Hopefully, you’ve done your homework and are ready,
We’ll likely cover many more aspects to digital health tech in future issues. Our industry is evolving. The key is to understand the opportunities being created by this digital makeover for each of our medtech businesses.
We’re confident the future will continue to allow our industry to create and adopt digital technologies that improve efficiencies, save costs, and improve outcomes. As you consider your next digital health tech moves, we wish you the foresight and courage to take the steps to change our lives and those of our children for years to come.