The Journal of mHealth Vol 2 Issue 4 (August) - Page 20
Continued from page 17
own vantage points for observing certain
To help sew the information together
into a larger picture, the MIT Hacking
Medicine program—which examines the
intersection of technology and healthcare—is being spun out as a non-profit
institute that will gather health-care
stakeholders together and hammer out
actual methodologies to determine the
value of digital health products.
“There’s so much hype now,” said Zen
Chu, MIT senior lecturer and faculty
director of Hacking Medicine. “It’s great,
in a way. It’s early stages, and there are so
many start-up companies. But they’re all
having the same trouble. What’s actually
working, and how do you prove that?”
digital-health landscape is big on bold
claims, but short on conclusive evidence.
“The country is moving to value-based
care,” said Malay Gandhi, a Rock Health
managing director, about the move to reimbursing medical costs based on patient outcomes rather than the number of patients
treated. “So [digital-health products] need
to be able to prove they are valuable.”
Mr. Gandhi said getting to that point
will be far more complicated than simply
proving a product works.
“Clinical trials can show efficacy,” he
said. “For digital health, you need to
show effectiveness. That’s different. The
people who pay for things, like insurers,
they want to see effectiveness.”
Apps, connected medical devices and
other high-tech bells and whistles don’t
just need to be embraced by consumers,
he said. They need to be accepted and
recommended by doctors, as well as reimbursed by major insurance companies.
Where a drug can be shown to be efficacious when taken as directed, a digitalhealth program—for example, a weightloss application—will in many cases have
to demonstrate it has caused significant
behaviour change in a patient in order to
be deemed effective, he said.
Rock Health, a San Francisco seed
investor and major engine for new digital-health innovations, agreed that the
The digital-health companies being
evaluated will have to show data on user
engagement and behaviour, the way
other tech companies do, he said.
Most importantly, digital-health companies will need to show they actually cut
the cost of administering care if they
expect to be embraced by hospitals and
insurance companies, Mr. Gandhi said.
According to Mr. Chu, who will be helping to run the new non-profit institute, this
data on human behaviour change can be
attained—but only by bringing together a
wide range of different stakeholders.
The Hacking Medicine Institute will
invite pharmaceutical and medicaldevice companies, policymakers, hospital
administrators, doctors, insurance companies, self-insured employers and company founders from across the spectrum
of digital health, Mr. Chu said.
The institute will come out with white
papers that offer guidelines on evaluating
digital-health programs, and will evaluate
digital products that seek to help in the
treatment of major diseases.
The institute aims to form its first working groups in early October, Mr. Chu said.
Source: WSJ n
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