Every year 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes, adding to the whopping 29 million who have already been diagnosed as of 2018. With such a high and rapidly growing prevalence, diabetes is an epidemic with a devastating physical, emotional and financial toll on those it impacts. And as we look back to the past year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this struggle. But in the midst of it all, rose a greater importance for digital therapeutics as patients and providers had to quickly adopt new ways of receiving care.
Digital therapeutics (DTx) is a growing medical trend that offers behavioral interventions to people where they live via digital technology. With a now greater need and use for new tech, we can expect to see a new diabetes landscape that places DTx at its core. There are two key trends that will likely lead the charge for this change:
Smart Medical Devices Became Increasingly Important
As many patients were stuck at home, smart health devices became even more important to keep them connected with their providers and on top of their treatment plans. In diabetes, a recently new generation of technology made this smart tech-focused approach to insulin delivery devices even more crucial during this time: smart insulin pens (SIPs). While SIPs have been around for the last few years, these latest advancements in technology have helped them to become more connected, efficient, and personalized than ever before – especially during the pandemic. Patients are able to calculate and track their doses more accurately, send diabetes data to their providers remotely and connect their health data to their smartphone, smartwatch or other diabetes data tracking wearables- all from their home. With the possibilities of this kind of smart technology, we can expect to see patients have new expectations for being able to manage their health activities remotely, without having to solely rely on in-office visits.
Patients and Providers are Turning to Remote Monitoring
Being able to monitor patients continuously and actively is a crucial part of the diabetes health journey and an important step that many providers were unable to perform in-person during the pandemic. With cities limiting or prohibiting face-to-face interactions, those in healthcare were left to turn to remote patient monitoring solutions to support their diabetes patients when and where possible. While adoption has historically been low with this kind of tech, the pandemic was able to shine a new light on its importance and the increased need for connected technology to keep providers and patients in touch with each other regardless of where they are. In fact, 60% of C-suite and clinical leaders now see remote patient monitoring becoming a new standard of care over the next two years. As offices and hospitals start to open their doors again, expect some healthcare providers to incorporate remote patient monitoring in their practices as patients adjust to a new normal and remote care remains prominent in healthcare interactions.