A new study from Juniper Research (www.juniperresearch.com) finds that digital therapeutics software, clinically proven to treat medical conditions, will be adopted enthusiastically by many healthcare stakeholders. The number of people using digital therapeutics will increase from an estimated 4.5 million in 2018 to 130 million by 2023, according to the research group.

Juniper says growth will be fueled by self-insuring businesses in the US wanting to save on costs, as well as interest from healthcare providers and insurers. Compared to medical bills for chronic conditions, digital therapeutics subscriptions, costing a few hundred dollars per person per year, offer large savings on drug costs and their inherent potential complications. Juniper anticipates revenue from self-insured employer-paid digital therapeutics will exceed $5.2 billion in 2023.

The research found significant opportunities for businesses that manage healthcare systems and integration, as well as for health insurers. Insurers could also potentially offer digital therapeutics for some conditions without reference to drug companies. Juniper expects annual spend from insurers to reach $6.3 billion by 2023. However, this is dependent on being able to integrate digital therapeutics into existing healthcare workflows.

Investment by drug companies in this area has been limited so far. Juniper considers digital therapeutics to be both an opportunity and threat for pharmaceutical companies, as it could offer new business for them, but also erode their revenues through insurers developing or acquiring their own treatment platforms.

“Our research shows that the average time from development to commercialization for a digital therapeutic is 3-4 years,” notes research author James Moar. “This gives drug companies and insurers an opportunity to bring chronic condition treatment to market in a fraction of the time and cost of drug development.”