In the News: June 18–25

FDA Approves First Game-Based Therapeutic

A recent MobiHealth News article highlights the FDA’s approval of Akili Interactive’s video game digital therapeutic, EndeavorRx, for children between the ages of 8 and 12 with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This is the first game-based digital therapeutic that the FDA has approved for any condition, but Akili, along with other organizations, have a variety of similar software therapeutic products in the process of being developed.

EndeavorRx is associated with improvement in children’s symptoms associated with ADHD but is not intended to be used in place of clinical care. Instead, it should be leveraged as a tool in a comprehensive therapeutic program for children with ADHD. Within the digital therapeutic game, the player navigates an avatar through a course that includes on-screen prompts. While playing, the application monitors the player’s movement and behavior and adapts the game to the player. Soon, EndeavorRx will be available to families with a prescription, and parents and caregivers of children using this app will have access to ADHD Insight, a behavior-tracking application, as well as Akili Assist, which is a direct line to caregiver support services.

As behavioral health conditions continue to rise and resources remain limited, it is imperative for organizations to identify where to direct their limited resources for best effect. To learn more about how organizations should approach the decision about which services to invest in for pediatric behavioral health, please see the Sg2 FAQ Prioritizing Resource Investment in the Pediatric Behavioral Health System of CARE.

Insurer’s Population Health Initiatives Show Improvement

A recent Forbes article highlights Humana’s new report demonstrating improvement in the health of seniors in private Medicare plans through improvement management of patient populations. In 2015, Humana began its “Bold Goal” initiative that monitors both physical and mental health and leverages measures defined by the CDC to track an individual’s “unhealthy days” over a 30-day period. For the first time since the project began, the number of healthy days among all of Humana’s Medicare Advantage members, across all markets, improved.

The “Bold Goal” initiative began in 7 communities across the US, but the success from the initiative encouraged executives to expand the program to a total of 16 cities. With this program, Humana emphasized the need for health-related social needs screening, which prompted conversations between insurer and member about needs for access to transportation, social support and healthy food. In 2019, Humana was able to exceed their goal of completing 1 million screenings to provide more than 2.6 million health-related social needs screenings to its members.

As health care systems continue to determine their involvement in addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) within their community, it is important to consider a variety of factors. To learn more about how health systems can weigh their options of participation in SDOH initiatives, please see the Sg2 report Social Determinants of Health: Stitching Together Solutions.

New Survey Highlights Digital Technology Trends

A recent MD+DI article highlights 5 takeaways on digital technology trends from a Jabil Healthcare and Dimensional Research survey of over 420 health care professionals who are involved with existing or planned digital health care products.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been both disruptive and transformative—not only impacting business and economy throughout the world, but also fast-tracking health care trends and making remote digital health solutions that much more popular. Health care professionals are taking a new approach to health care, including remote-care solutions like virtual visits and wearables, as they attempt to position themselves to serve patients better in a COVID-19 atmosphere. And as the adoption of innovative technologies in digital health ramps up, consumer demand, wearables and on-body devices, shorter development timelines, interoperability, and external partner collaboration are at the forefront of digital health technology trends.

Health care is ripe for innovation, but the industry lags behind others when it comes to technological advancement and R&D investment. Provider systems must not cede innovation to others whose mission is not the provision of care. Learn how your organization can assess your current efforts and get guidance on future initiatives in the Sg2 report Innovation.

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