A government-funded initiative to seamlessly connect hospitals, government, insurers, and medical device manufacturers in the whole care process based on digital therapeutics and big data has commenced at Yonsei University Health System.
Yonsei’s Severance Hospital recently started prescribing the insomnia DTx Somzz through the integrated platform called Connect-DTx.
HOW IT WORKS
Connect-DTx can collect health data from the patient user in near real-time once prescribed for DTx. Doctors can use this data to adjust and personalise their patient’s treatment. When used by admitted patients, Connect-DTx can link to the hospital EMR to also collect their data.
Beyond the care team, the platform also connects with government regulators and insurers. The National Health Insurance Corporation and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, for example, can easily inquire into the progress of DTx-based treatments and process insurance claims and reviews through Connect-DTx.
Additionally, DTx manufacturers can track which health institutions are using their products without reaching out to them individually to confirm.
Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, Boramae Hospital, Wonju Severance Christian Hospital, Korea University Anam Hospital, and Seoul National University Bundang Hospital are all in the process of onboarding and implementing Connect-DTx. More DTx devices for other conditions, such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and smoking cessation, will be introduced soon.
WHY IT MATTERS
In 2022, YUHS received 7.8 billion won ($5.8 million) from the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy to develop Connect-DTx. The aim is to provide convenient and safe access to patient health information collected in near real-time from DTx devices and hospital EMRs. This allows doctors to tap into data and be better informed before making personalised treatments for their patients. It also enables the government and insurers to easily review and process insurance claims.
THE LARGER TREND
Somzz, an insomnia DTx developed by Aimmed, is the first of its kind to be approved in South Korea. It delivers cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) that is said to help increase sleep in patients. Just four months after Aimmed’s clearance in January 2023, Welt received the second approval for its insomnia DTx called WELT-I.
These market approvals come as the number of South Koreans dealing with insomnia increased almost twice over the past decade. Today, at least 15% of the population is dealing with chronic insomnia. CBT has become a first-line treatment for this condition, and incorporating it in mobile applications is helping bridge access to this treatment, which is said to be more effective than popping regular sleeping pills.
ON THE RECORD
“The development of the Connect-DTx platform has made it possible for industry stakeholders such as medical institutions, government ministries and medical device companies to conveniently and safely utilise medical data as well as provide personalised treatment to patients,” YUHS Digital Health Department head Joon-Seok Lim said about Connect-DTx.
“We expect this to be a catalyst for an era of cutting-edge medical care based on big data that systematically analyses patients’ daily life algorithms and treatment patterns that were once difficult to ascertain,” he added.