Your smartphone as medicine: Digital therapy is here to stay

The next blockbuster therapy is probably already in your pocket or purse.

The FDA recently approved the first prescription digital therapy, Pear’s Reset appand program, which is focused on substance abuse. Others are likely to follow. That means your next trip to the doctor could include a prescription for a mobile app in addition to, or instead of, medicine.

Digital therapy represents a powerful yet provocative new idea in health care. Software brings a precision to therapy and with it an ability to personalize treatment. This gives digital therapy a big role to play as we transition to value-based care.

But can software be a therapy all by itself? Or, as MIT’s Technology Review recently asked, “Can ‘digital therapeutics’ be as good as drugs?”