Digital Therapeutics- A Future Proof Solution for Employee Wellness
Over the years technology has changed the way employees work. It has enabled managers to communicate and carry on their regular business effortlessly through the apps and services.
The digital world has also empowered the wellness industry and the impact of Digital Therapeutics on corporate wellness has been explored with utmost interest. As we move ahead in the path of technological marvel, the application of technology to enhance employee health and wellness will increase further.
Wearable devices have become the trend. It has gained its place in many workplaces and their wellness programs. With rapid advancements in Artificial Intelligence and Nanotechnology, more organizations will start evolving digitally to take care of their employees for better engagement and wellness.
Hence companies are more likely to invest in technologies to improve the employee experience and achieve their employee welfare targets efficiently.
Before we jump to understand how digital therapeutics have shaped the health of employees, let us start with some basics.
What Are Digital Therapeutics?
Healthcare and technology have merged and created a new category of digital health known as Digital Therapeutics. It is an evidence-based therapeutic intervention driven by high-quality software programs to prevent and treat a medical condition. They are used independently or collaborated with medications or devices to optimize health outcomes.
They hold the same standard as any other conventional medication or therapy. This means that these can have an application to a patient’s treatment along with other treatments. Closing gaps in healthcare and using evidence-based technology makes this category of digital wellness an exciting prospect for patients.
Examples of Digital Therapeutics include- Wearable devices, Digital sensors, and AI-powered devices.
The Growth of Digital Therapeutics
The most important driving force behind the rapid growth and adoption of digital therapeutics is the ability to help individuals take control of their health. According to Crunchbase, over $600 million had already been invested in digital therapeutics. These numbers are bound to improve, as digital therapeutics become more widely adopted and new use cases are proven out.
Data from pwc.com shows that more than 50% of people are interested in having digital therapies as a treatment option. In addition, an increasing number of doctors are supporting the use of digital therapies and devices while treating their patients. This suggests that the doctor-patient relationship looks very different in this digital landscape.
Digital Therapeutics for Workplace Wellness
The corporate world has embraced digital therapeutics like how a duck takes to water. Employers are recognizing the possibility to use digital solutions to help prevent and treat some of the costliest chronic conditions in the business like hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. Modern lifestyle has brought various sets of questions for maintaining employee health. Cardiovascular diseases and mental health keeps a major cut of budget for every company.
With technology prevention and management of employee health can be more effective and accurate. A Mercer study says that 68% of employers are planning to invest in digital health in the coming five years.
Digital therapeutics is an attractive prospect for employers because they-
- Can easily integrate with existing wellness programs
- Are low cost compared to traditional treatment options (hospitals, medications)
Employees have a major role to play to popularize digital health tools. A Mercer report says that two-thirds of employees would feel more confident using a digital health tool if it’s provided by their employer. It helps to build trust and willingness from the workers to invest their faith in digital solutions.
Employers are just starting to explore the unknown. As more digital therapeutic companies arrive and collect data to prove that their solutions work, growth is paramount in this field.
But regulations need to be put in place to maintain the quality of the products.
Digital Therapeutic products are clinically evaluated and evidence-based technology and have the ability to:
- Economically Optimize health outcomes.
- Deliver high-quality therapies to the needful population
- Easily accessible through sophisticated devices
- Available at home with convenience and privacy
- Revamping the way employees understand and engage with their healthcare
- Support medical team in wellness assessment and setting up with health care infrastructure
- Lower costs of Healthcare
Advantages of Digital Therapeutics
Digital therapeutics is becoming an essential part of the healthcare delivery system. They eliminate gaps in the healthcare services by providing services like:
- Delivering wellness therapies using smartphones, wearable gadgets, and similar technologies
- Increasing employees’ access to clinically safe and effective therapies
- Offering health services with privacy and individual comfort
- Providing multilinguist therapies for universal audiences. For example- English, Spanish, Arabic, German.
- Providing holistic insights on personalized goals and outcomes to employers. This helps them to customize their wellness programs for their employees.
Application of Digital Therapeutics
From depression to physical conditions, digital therapeutics can enhance and replace medications and other behavioral interventions effectively. For example, an employee who is experiencing back pain will be prescribed physical therapy along with digital therapeutics specifically designed for skeletal health. It will help them follow an exercise plan and monitor their pain.
In most cases, digital therapeutics have made improvements in health status and have reduced healthcare costs. In some situations, it can help save a life.
It is important for certain employees with a chronic health condition to monitor their biometric health indicators in real-time to ensure it doesn’t impact their work performance. The most common metrics are blood pressure, calories intake, and glucose levels.
An employee can have an abnormal reading and can’t go visit a doctor at that time. Depending on the numbers, they may be directed to information about this reading and explain what it means. This avoids random panic stations and the employee can approach the health condition in a much calmer way.
Having a piece of critical health information at your fingertips will also boost confidence levels and improve patient advocacy.
For other health conditions, digital therapeutics may be used to support patient health through specified health policies. This includes reminders to attend a virtual therapy session or take the prescribed medications. In either case, it can solve a problem that is all too common in healthcare — they help employees’ access to care when they need it. They also provide necessary preventive and follow-up care that the majority of healthcare professionals are unable to provide on short notice.
Wearable technologies are a part of digital therapeutics and it has shown remarkable growth in the last few years. Wearable technology can be a powerful means by which employers can promote workplace wellness culture among their employees. They can integrate the wearables with their wellness services and have a positive impact on improving their employees’ health. Digital gadgets like fitness trackers, smartwatches, & wearable glasses will entice your workforce to actively participate in healthy activities and raise their performance at work.
Is it Safe?
Digital therapeutics are clinically trialed and are usually regulated through national and regional agencies. Similar to traditional medicines, these products also adhere to similar safety and quality standards. These include-
- Compliance with national regulatory bodies, meeting the manufacturing standards.
- Registration with the applicable product regulatory agency.
- Product supported by clinical and marketing authorization.
- Strict adherence to advertising regulations.
The digital world is going to boom further as we move deeper into this century. It is definitely going to define the way we work and provide a whole new dimension to employee welfare services.
Although a lot of R&D is yet to be done to weed out the concerns regarding its efficiency, it is very important that organizations are more open to implementing digital solutions in their Employee Health Policies.
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