Digital health does not replace a visit to the doctor

  • Digital health is one of the hottest spaces for investment, with companies raising $1.6 billion in venture capital in the first quarter of 2018.
  • Digital health companies are getting really good at screening populations of people for health problems before they develop into serious medical issues, but they struggle to get patients into their doctor.
  • Medical experts say that digital health can’t do much for users that are already sick, or at high risk of a serious medical condition.

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DTC advertising benefits consumers

  • DTC advertising is designed to provide scientifically-accurate information to patients so that they are better informed about their health care and treatment options.
  • There is never any requirement or obligation for physicians to prescribe a particular medication, as was confirmed by 91 percent of physicians in FDA’s survey.
  • Beyond increasing patient awareness of disease (including undiagnosed conditions) and available treatments, DTC advertising has been found to increase awareness of the benefits and risks of new medicines and encourage appropriate use of medicines.
  • In addition, DTC encourages patients to visit their doctors’ offices for important doctor-patient conversations about health that might otherwise not take place.

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Change is coming to drug pricing, whether it’s painful or not

  • Some pharma companies have seemingly defied the emphasis on drug costs by raising drug prices.
  • Change is coming to prescription drug pricing, whether it’s painful or not for pharmaceutical companies,” Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said in a speech Monday at a health policy conference.
  • “The drug companies that recently increased prices will be remembered for creating a tipping point in U.S. drug pricing policy,” Azar said.
  • Drug prices were raised because Wall Street is their primary customer, not patients.

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TeleHealth bust or the future?

  • 82 percent of U.S. consumers do not use telehealth.
  • In 2016, researchers posing as patients turned to 16 different telemedicine apps to diagnose skin issues. The results? Some of the online doctors misdiagnosed conditions like syphilis, others prescribed unnecessary meds, and two of the sites used doctors who aren’t licensed to practice in the state the patient was located.
  • Even in the digital age, a lot of people simply want to see their doctor in person. They’re not Luddites. But sick, vulnerable people often need in-person reassurance from another human being in the room. A smartphone app simply won’t cut it.
  • Still telehealth is going to find a niche.

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Let’s blame drug companies for OUR poor health

  • Physical inactivity is a primary cause of most chronic diseases.
  • Population levels of physical activity, inadequate to meet current guidelines can place a health burden on the U.S. population that results in higher health care expenditures.
  • Regular physical activity is associated with important health benefits, including reduced risk for premature death, cardiovas­cular disease, ischemic stroke, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancers, and depression.
  • A study of one million people has found that physical inactivity costs the global economy $67.5 billion a year in healthcare and productivity losses, but an hour a day of exercise could eliminate most of that.
  • Just 23% of US adults get enough exercise, CDC reports

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