• Rick Bartels, MBA

YOU BUILT IT... BUT WILL THEY COME???What's the secret sauce to DTx Utilization?

By Nick Harsh

Recent technological advancements have given us the current rapid rise of the Digital Health Landscape. From the advent and implementation of telemedicine, to the use of mobile health technologies, including sensors, wearables, wireless devices and the improved communication from the patient to their care team is allowing for real time management and connectivity.

The acceptance of Digital Therapeutics as a credible medical management tool is on its way to being a normal and regular part of the physician’s tool box. As we’ve previously discussed payers and pharma partners are seeing the value of these therapeutic, evidence based interventions. As more and more of these intervention tools are developed the question we may be left with is….

> What stands in the way of physicians or patients finding you and your solution?

- What are the barriers?

- Is reimbursement still the mystery of DTx Utilization?

- Does the clinical profile clearly show “value”?

- Do you understand how to drive demand?

> Does your “go-to-market” strategy makes sense?

- You’ve made the decision to conduct robust clinical trials and the results are fantastic and the FDA agrees…but can you afford the effort to go that road alone?

- Or perhaps you are confident that a non-prescription DTx is appropriate and you will gain utilization from a consumer driven model.

> What is the next level of investment required to enter the defined space?

- Utilization Strategy = Reimbursement + Demand

- Does your value story call for value reimbursement risks?


All the above questions are important factors to consider as you prepare to launch, but possibly the most important question to ask is:

> Do you have a well thought out demand generating marketing plan?


A successful digital therapeutic must ring true to the user (the patient). It must make sense to everyone in the care team…. It must have a clear and easy to understand solution that is simple to use and can be made part of everyone’s daily routine.


But even the most exquisitely designed digital therapeutic with robust clinical and economic outcome data won’t sell itself. No product sells itself!


Whether you have a new business entering the market or an existing business launching a new product, or a product targeting the healthcare system or a product built for the consumer; the customer product adoption process is the same.


It is important to create a strategy and the necessary tools to successfully take your target customers through the following 5 stages of product adoption. If you can nail this, then you are in business. The last piece of advice; marketing your product is as important, if not more important, than creating the product itself.


There are 5 stages of product adoption

Stage 1 – Product awareness

Stage 2 – Product interest

Stage 3 – Product evaluation

Stage 4 – Product trial

Stage 5 – Product adoption


The DTx products currently in the market and under development must continue to focus on the clinical profile of the solution. Where does it fit…does it replace a current therapy or become an efficiency tool?


However, the only way to generate demand is to strategically bring the patient and the care team through the entire product adoption process.


It is common and often necessary for both the healthcare provider and the patient to go through the product adoption process, however the way each of them progress through the steps often differs. For example, a physician may become aware and interested in a product from advertising directed to healthcare providers.


A patient on the other hand may become aware and interested in a product through a physician recommendation which is a result of the physician going through the adoption process. Alternatively, a patient may become aware and interested as a result of DTC advertising. In turn the patient may discusses the product with the physician. In this case the patient may be making the physician aware of a new product.


There are many variation of how target customers progress through the adoption process which makes things much more complex in healthcare marketing.


Don’t miss this critical step. A well thought out marketing demand generation strategy and plan may indeed be your DTx product’s “special sauce” to utilization.





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Nick Harsh: 610-283-7760

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