Prescription Digital Therapeutics Blend Technology with Patient-Centered Care

Technology continues to revolutionize how patients and providers tackle complex medical conditions. The latest example? Prescription digital therapeutics.

As a new “Fast Facts” from the Alliance for Patient Access explains, these software-based applications can support treatment for a variety of mental and physical conditions. Health care providers can prescribe them as part of a traditional treatment course or as an alternative, particularly for conditions that require behavioral adherence, like diabetes and substance use disorder.

Like other prescribed treatments, prescription digital therapeutics must be approved by the FDA. At present, nine are approved, but many more are likely to be in coming years. Nearly 150 are expecting clinical trial results in 2022 alone.

How Prescription Digital Therapeutics Work

Prescription digital therapeutics capture and store a patient’s data in real-time, then transmit it to their health care provider for assessment. This allows providers to make treatment adjustments without patients having to wait for their next appointment.

Also, by eliminating unnecessary office visits, prescription digital therapeutics can help reduce providers’ overhead costs without sacrificing care quality.


Several barriers prevent widespread access to prescription digital therapeutics, however.

Low awareness among providers is one. The American Medical Association reports that only 22% of physicians have prescribed prescription digital therapeutics. Logistics related to acquiring necessary product activation codes and wearable hardware could pose barriers, too.

Insurance coverage is another major hurdle. Medicaid coverage varies from state to state and, in most states, express legislation would be needed to authorize coverage. Private insurers have likewise been slow to authorize prescription digital therapeutics, mischaracterizing them as “experimental,” despite their having received FDA approval after a rigorous review process.

The Future

Prescription digital therapeutics present an immense opportunity to improve patient-centered care in the United States. From diagnosis to treatment through follow up, prescription digital therapeutics afford providers and patients a more seamless, synchronized care experience. As more are introduced in coming years, they show promise of helping a wider array of patients receive more personalized care.

Learn more by reading AfPA’s “Fast Facts: Prescription Digital Therapeutics.”

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