By 2025, the market for digital therapeutics (DTx) is expected to reach $7.8 billion – but what are digital therapeutics?
DTx is a subset of the digital health sector that provides evidence-based therapeutic interventions to alleviate symptoms of physiological and neurobehavioral conditions such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and more.
Knowing this, video games may help patients build key skills, including improving their memory, executive functioning, and selective attention. Here’s how it works:
By being powered with adaptive algorithms to adjust to each player’s skill level, the gameplay is specifically designed to guide gameplayers into subconsciously utilizing the aforementioned key skills. Furthermore, sensory and motor stimuli are deployed to target and activate key areas of the brain and build new neurological links through regular practice. An example of how this technology works can be seen in the Akili Interactive’s Selective Stimulus Management Engine (SSME), which over time may alleviate symptoms of ADHD, Autism, Multiple Sclerosis, and major depression. However, this is not guaranteed, and the best results will be brought upon in combination with therapy and doctoral consultation.
In the future, new gaming algorithms such as the Spatial Navigation Engine (SNAV) and Affective Engine (AAFF) will be designed to help patients with Lupus, ICU delirium, and traumatic brain injuries. Cutting-edge therapies are also under development, such as immersive virtual reality to help patients with their pain management.
Gaming with biofeedback is available, which can help patients identify what triggers their anxiety or attention levels. Similarly, Pear Therapeutics launched their first digital rehabilitation platform to gain FDA approval back in 2018. Their reSET and reSET-0 programs provide digital cognitive behavior therapy to complement outpatient treatment for substance and opioid use disorders.
In the heart of the digital era, it seems there isn’t anything technology can’t do. Are video games the next frontier in medicine? Check out the infographic below to find out.