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How are digital therapeutics improving mental health outcomes?

Article-How are digital therapeutics improving mental health outcomes?

Image via Canva Pro digital therapeutics
DTx, set to be worth US$11.82 billion in the global market by 2027, demonstrates several advantages over traditional treatments.

Mental health conditions are a significant global health issue. Research from the World Health Organisation indicates that almost 792 million people worldwide are affected by mental health disorders. It also highlights that one in every eight people lives with a mental illness. 

Despite the widespread prevalence of such concerns, those suffering do not get adequate mental health care. For example, almost 60 per cent of adults with a mental illness do not receive adequate treatment. 

What operates behind inadequate mental healthcare? 

Even though mental health care is essential, several barriers prevent people from accessing adequate mental health care. These include societal stigma, limited access to mental health professionals, and the high cost of treatment. Interestingly, even in a country as advanced as the United States, only 28 per cent of the mental health clinician need is met. 

Fortunately, digital therapeutics (DTx) is emerging as a growing field that offers novel ways to treat mental health conditions and improve patient outcomes. 

What is DTx? 

Digital therapeutics, or DTx, refers to the use of digital technologies, such as mobile apps, to deliver therapeutic interventions for patients. It is quite well received worldwide, and estimates suggest that the global DTx market will reach US$11.82 billion by 2027, with a CAGR of 20.5 per cent from 2020 to 2027.  

As such, DTx has several advantages over traditional forms of therapy. Here are some ways in which digital therapeutics are helping to improve mental health outcomes: 

Accessibility and affordability 

Often, people needing mental health support struggle to access traditional therapy due to geographic or financial barriers. DTx offers a cost-effective alternative that can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection. This elevates accessibility and affordability.  

Personalised patient care 

Since every individual is unique, their mental health issues also vary. In that sense, personalised treatments are essential for proper outcomes and adequate patient engagement.  
DTx offers the advantage of personalising treatment to each individual's unique needs. Leveraging algorithms and data analytics delivers tailored interventions to address specific symptoms, behaviours, and preferences. For example, the DTx product Woebot uses natural language processing and provides users with personalised cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). 

Continuous monitoring

 When it comes to patients with chronic mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, it's always better to have regular monitoring and real-time feedback. DTx renders the ability to track symptoms over time, providing clinicians with valuable insights. This data-driven decision-making ultimately enhances the effectiveness of interventions. 

Integration with traditional care 

Digital therapeutics can also be integrated with traditional care to provide a comprehensive approach to mental health treatment. By combining digital tools with face-to-face therapy, patients can receive more support and access to care when they need it. 

In conclusion, DTx is emerging as an effective answer to address the prevalent gaps in modern-day mental healthcare. In a survey,  31 per cent of respondents, including healthcare professionals, industry experts, and patients, have chosen it as a top mental healthcare option. With the deepening of its roots, we can expect a healthier and happier tomorrow. 


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