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Digital therapeutics: A new frontier in the management of chronic conditions

Digital therapeutics are digital health management solutions that treat chronic conditions by helping patients make behavioral changes that lead to improved clinical outcomes.

These typically consist of software solutions that can be deployed directly to patients, and are often paired with a coaching service. Digital therapeutics have been effective in producing clinical outcome improvements for several chronic diseases including prediabetes, diabetes, and obesity.

In a new study published in the Journal of Human Hypertension, this approach was shown to be effective in preventing the development of hypertension in individuals who are at high-risk of developing the condition.

“Digital therapeutics gives consumers the option to engage digitally with the health care system,” said Jay Rajda, M.D., MBA, FACP, Aetna’s chief clinical transformation officer and one of the authors of the study. “As we develop more personalized approaches to helping individuals manage their health, digital therapeutics provides the important ability to enable digital engagement. Digital engagement solutions also greatly improve the efficiency of human coaches, and enable us to develop meaningful solutions that we can deploy for prevention of chronic diseases or management of low-risk chronic conditions.”

Prehypertension is a condition where blood pressure is elevated without meeting the definition of hypertension. Prehypertension often leads to the development of hypertension, unless lifestyle changes are made. Researchers of the study, “Efficacy of a mobile hypertension prevention delivery platform with human coaching,” wrote weight loss and a reduction in sodium intake are key ways to reduce the risk of hypertension.

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