Physician Views: Do doctors understand 'digital therapeutics'?

Novartis brought the concept of digital therapeutics to greater prominence earlier this year when it announced a collaboration with specialist player Pear Therapeutics focused on schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis. Speaking last month, Novartis CEO Vasant Narasimhan suggested that in time digital therapeutics could become "a new business line" for the company.

It is, or course, early days for these types of product, but we wanted to get a better understanding of how familiar prescribers are with the concept of digital therapeutics and how they may use them in the future. So we are snap-polling US based general practitioners and neurologists (the type of physician Novartis and Pear are hoping to target) with the following questions…

Do you know what a 'digital therapeutic' is?

Yes - I have prescribed one

Yes - But I have not prescribed one


A digital therapeutic can broadly be defined as a clinically validated software intervention designed to improve patient outcomes; sometimes in combination with a prescription pharmaceutical or device. They usually include patient facing applications, clinical assessment and outcomes tracking, clinician monitoring dashboards and HIPAA-compliant data storage.

Do you therefore think these should be approved by the FDA?

No - I would recommend/prescribe a digital therapeutic irrespective of whether it has been FDA-approved

Yes - Ideally they should be approved, but in some cases I would recommend/prescribe a non-FDA approved digital therapeutic

Yes - I would only recommend/prescribe an FDA approved digital therapeutic

Would you be less/more likely to recommend/prescribe a digital therapeutic that has been developed or co-developed by a pharmaceutical company?

Less likely

More likely

Would make no difference

How significant a role do you think insurance coverage of digital therapeutics will potentially have in driving their broader utilisation?

No role

Moderate role

Significant role


In the long term, do you think digital therapeutics will...?

Become irrelevant/not widely used

Find an established position which enhances the effect of prescription therapies

Find an established position and in some cases actually replace the use of prescription therapies  

Results and related analysis will shortly be published for FirstWord Pharma PLUS subscribers to read, with the opportunity for non-FirstWord Pharma PLUS subscribers to purchase these findings. To be notified when poll results and analysis become available, please click here.

As always, FirstWord would very much like to receive your feedback and suggestions. Note: FirstWord Polls are powered by Medefield MedePolls, a fast-turnaround service to conduct instant polls of up to five questions with guaranteed samples that include physicians from dozens of specialties and over 100 markets. To conduct this poll with a different audience, or an entirely different poll, contact us at

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