That Digital Health keeps going from strength to strength is a well-known and documented fact, and the Digital Therapeutics subsector is providing much of the power behind this progression.
What is Digital Therapeutics?
Digital Therapeutics solutions comprise digital tools and platforms that empower consumers to proactively track, treat and manage their own medical conditions. The biological, environmental, and behavioral data of the consumer is collected and analyzed and then translated into actionable insights and recommendations for health improvement. These tools are especially effective when applied to chronic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and can also be used for physical training and rehabilitation.
Patient Empowerment – Putting the Patient/User in Charge
One of the core recent developments in Digital Health is the shift towards Patient Empowerment, due to a range of new solutions that are radically changing the journey of a patient throughout the medical system. These new Digital Therapeutics technologies offer patients more control over their data and diagnostic capabilities, as well as solutions for managing chronic conditions, helping reduce visits to clinics and hospitals. The healthcare industry recognizes that patients want to be consumers, just as in any other service industry, and have more control in their treatment process.
One of the key aims of Digital Therapeutics is a focus on prevention, detection, and cost reduction. Since the population is living to a greater age than ever before, and due to the increased pressure on healthcare systems from a higher number of more prolific chronic diseases, this is particularly compelling today. Digital Therapeutics also perpetuates Lifestyle As a Medicine: by eating healthier, making improved lifestyle choices, and doing more exercise and sport, patients take better care of themselves, plus this will eventually lead to cost savings and reduced readmission rates for healthcare providers.
The Influence of the Wellness Market
The expansion of the Wellness market has also greatly influenced the emergence of patient-focused solutions. Technologies have grown due to rising demand, and unsurprisingly, suppliers are recognizing an opportunity to offer products with a faster time to market, and less need for regulatory approvals. Wellness kept its place as one of the top three most funded value propositions in 2018. There was also increased demand for medical grade solutions, which has led to many new products that straddle both fields by starting as Wellness apps, then gradually progressing towards applying for regulatory approvals.
Digital Therapeutics in Israel
As a sector, Israeli Digital Therapeutics has not grown significantly in number, but has remained steady, comprising 25% of all Digital Health companies. According to the Start-Up Nation Central Report “Israeli Digital Health in 2018“, this subsector is showing some interesting developments. While many Digital Therapeutics companies are early-stage, there are also many later stage companies that are driving this success. Company longevity is increasing, and Digital Therapeutics solutions are gradually becoming accepted as mainstream, although this is more of a marathon than a sprint.
B2B: the “B All and End All”?
In terms of funding, Digital Therapeutics companies in Israel did quite well in 2018. Globally, companies in the Patient Empowerment space received a total of $3B in 2018, the largest share of funding for any function within Digital Health. While Israeli tech’s famed capability for deep tech B2B solutions places Digital Therapeutics outside of Israel’s core strengths, some very strong Digital Therapeutics companies are emerging. Furthermore, due to the increasing global demand for patient empowerment solutions, players in the sector are increasingly gaining scale.
Notable Success Stories
Two notable companies that gained funding in 2018 were Hello Heart and Lumen. Hello Heart, a chronic disease management platform that offers solutions for high blood pressure prevention and heart risk reduction, as well as diabetes and activity-tracking. Lumen offers a device that measures metabolism in real time, telling users whether they are burning fats or carbs and what they can do about it, and also has a virtual nutritionist application, that provides dietary and exercise recommendations based on the user’s metabolism.
No review of Digital Therapeutics in 2018 would be complete without mentioning Nutrino’s acquisition by Medtronic. Nutrino have created a virtual personal nutritionist technology, that creates a personalized food plan for users based on their health goals, dietary needs, medical profile, taste, and lifestyle. It also uses the user’s location to recommend specific dishes from local restaurants.
Click here to download your copy of Start-Up Nation Central’s Report “Israeli Digital Health in 2018” and read more about the state of Digital Health innovation in Israel.