A very interesting field of digital health is the “digital therapeutics”, a new frontier for people care, in addition to pharmacological and psychological therapies.
Although the definition is not new – the first quotes date back to 2015 – we are witnessing a growth in the areas of application of these therapies and the continuous improvement of the technologies used.
The development of digital therapies covers both widespread chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular or respiratory diseases, and diseases related to mental or neurological disorders such as depression, attention deficit and hyperactivity syndrome (ADHD), anxiety, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
In the first case, digital therapies are focused on changing patients’ behaviour and helping them to manage their own pathology. The primary objective is to stimulate patient engagement by providing them with information, suggestions and instructions on how to improve their health.
In the second case there are the cognitive behavioural therapies (CBT), for example in depressed patients, with anxiety or applications to stimulate areas of the brain and thus reduce cognitive deficits.
Akili Interactive Labs is an American company that creates digital neurological treatments to directly improve cognitive deficits. The company makes interactive video games, designed with proprietary technology to hit cognitive deficits at source.
The company works in three areas:
- selective management of stimuli for cognitive control based on the prefrontal cortex, to improve attention, working memory and executive functions
- space navigation
- reSET-O, a cognitive behavioural therapy app to help increase retention (the amount of time a patient participates) in an outpatient treatment program for individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD). reSET-O, the first FDA-approved app, should be used in addition to outpatient treatment under the care of a health care professional, in combination with treatment that includes buprenorphine and emergency management.
- Quit Genius, a cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) app to stop smoking, that works with animated videos, audio sessions and interactive exercises.
The list of digital medicines under development is very extensive. On DigitalHealth.blog we will keep you updated on the most interesting news.