John Fox, MD: It was a rich and varied conversation. Thank you very much for your time. Why not take the last few minutes and give people a chance to sum up? Give us your elevator pitch to explain why they are a benefit and why we should improve access to them. Does anyone want to start?
Arwen Podesta, MD: I’m going to start. PDT [prescription digital therapeutics] are effective tools based on evidence and research to improve outcomes. New technologies are coming into the pipeline in the general space every day. Why not use it therapeutically to [improve] health? I want to mention something we haven’t talked about but hopefully assumed: safety exceeds almost any prescription I’ve ever written as a psychiatrist. Many of my patients come to me because they don’t want to take drugs or they want to get away from drugs that cause harmful side effects, and using these tools is a game-changer.
Scott Whittle, MD: I like this. For me, PDTs offer solutions in a number of very difficult spaces. They offer part of an access solution. Access to care is incredibly difficult. They offer the element of engagement that traditional processing has struggled to provide. They offer a solution in the space of ensuring that the treatment provided is evidence-based. It’s not a knock on my colleagues who offer talk therapy, but you don’t know what kind of product you’re going to get. But with this, I absolutely know what product I’m going to get.
The other [thing] What I like is that it helps me deliver in a space where I have a lot of vendor burnout. I apologize for bringing this up late in the discussion, but the provider suicide rate in this space is high. We have a challenge ahead. We regularly lose providers to dissatisfaction with providing care when the tools needed to be effective and the work that motivates them are not available. Provide something to our suppliers [that helps them] feeling that they can be effective is absolutely essential.
Timothy Aungst, Doctor of Pharmacy: I agree with all of this. For me, health care changes dramatically with different things out there. We can consider the hospital at home. We have different diagnostic tools. Digital health is a huge umbrella term. You get into digital medicine, new digital biomarkers of how things are going and digital therapies, which have evidence that they can provide care themselves.
If we accept the fact that digitization [is happening] in all industries, and healthcare itself and the way we deliver healthcare is changing dramatically, so we have to accept that these things are going to be what consumers want. People are going to want this because they’re not going to back down. They’re going to say, “Why do I have to keep going into an office? Why do I have to keep dealing with these things? Why hasn’t health care adapted like every other industry out there? This will be the big draw.
I’ll throw it over there for me. I am a millennial. I don’t want to function in a health care system like baby boomers do. It’s not my expectation. I’m going to want to do something more nascent, as a digital native. Sometimes I think I’m building health care for myself for the future, but that’s the reality of the situation. This huge demand on how we expect to access our health, how we manage it, and the personalization we want for it is going to become very important, because we see the same everywhere else.
Scott Whittle, MD: Agreed.
John Fox, MD: Thanks Tim. As a baby boomer, I don’t want the kind of health care we have, and I’m willing to embrace new technologies. I appreciate your point that everywhere we interact with society is digitized, so why not healthcare?
Thank you, panelists, for your time, insights and dialogue. On behalf of our sponsor, the Managed Health Framework® and Psychiatric time™ Payer-provider perspectives programs, thank you very much to our audience.
Transcript edited for clarity.