Thank you to the great speakers and panellists who shared their insights with 102 people at our summit, in person and virtually on Tuesday 24 May 2022.

A positive, energetic spirit in the room ensured there was plenty of interaction during the program and between sessions.  We only wished we had had more time for connecting and talking between the jam-packed sessions.

As endorsed by speakers at the Summit, collaboration and working with the diversity of stakeholders in this field is the key to unlocking the potential of digital therapeutics and digital medicine (DTx) to transform healthcare.

Speakers were united in their view that the value proposition of DTx for patients and the health system is strong, especially with the increasing global burden of chronic health conditions and medical workforce shortages. Unlike health and wellness apps, DTx aim to prevent, manage or treat a medical condition, and require robust clinical and health economic evidence before being adopted into standard practice.

Work is underway globally to harmonise expectations related to DTx, led by our partner organisation, the Digital Therapeutics Alliance, who were at the Summit to present their newly released 'DTx Value Assessment & Integration Guide'. Read below for more details of this significant step forward in developing an industry-first framework for global harmonisation.

Keynote speaker Corey McCann, CEO Pear Therapeutics, emphasised the criticality of building a strong evidence base for DTx, as Pear has successfully done with their key products for treatment of substance and opioid use disorders, and chronic insomnia. Not only does this ensure safe and effective therapy for patients but collecting data that demonstrates the achievement of treatment endpoints in real world studies or randomised controlled trials provides sound arguments for reimbursement, essential for successful commercialisation.

It is important, he said, to win the hearts and minds of front-line prescribers. His advice to up and coming digital product entrepreneurs: make the product easy for clinicians and patients to use, integrate it into electronic medical records as seamlessly as possible, demonstrate the product’s clinical value in real world studies or randomised controlled trials, and secure reimbursement for clinicians’ time.  

We were delighted to have the unique privilege of having leaders from four pharmaceutical companies participate in the panel discussion:  'Clash of the Titans? Big Pharma on Digital Medicine' The Way of the Future or Necessary Distraction’. A great discussion affirming that the collaboration of all players is essential if DTx are to realise their full potential.

A panel of clinicians explored how to engage clinicians in prescribing DTx as part of their practice, including discussion on what level of evidence is required for a digital therapeutic with a low risk profile compared to a drug with a high risk profile. This is an important question, given the tension between the time and investment required for randomised controlled clinical trials and the faster, more agile technology product development methods that incorporate real world studies.

This discussion segued into how regulation and reimbursement frameworks are evolving in Australia and overseas, using the example of the German framework DiGa which will allow doctors to prescribe digital healthcare apps just as they prescribe medications. Fit-for-purpose regulation and reimbursement frameworks are critical to the growth of Australia’s digital health industry. ANDHealth will continue to bring international developments and expertise to the conversation over the coming months.

A last word from ANDHealth CEO, Bronwyn Le Grice, who unfortunately at the very last minute was not able to attend the Summit. “I was devastated not to attend”, said Bronwyn.

“There is no doubt that digital therapeutics are at the forefront of transforming our healthcare system.

“Bringing members of the international and Australian digital health ecosystem together, as we do at our regular Digital Health Summits, is critical for us as a sector so that we build on shared knowledge and experience to meet the challenges of building a strong and viable Australian digital health industry. ANDHealth is proud to work together to improve health and economic outcomes for all Australians.”

Feedback is still coming in but here are a few comments already received:
“The summit provided me with the information (and time to reflect) I needed to understand some of the challenges and form an opinion for further investment strategy.”

“The Summit provided a valuable opportunity to explore the digital therapeutics landscape through a variety of expert speakers, as well as the chance to converse with fellow attendees during breaks.”