Editor’s Note: In the fall of 2023, GreenBook’s IIEX Health event took place in Philadelphia, bringing both useful and inspiration content to insights and analytics professionals spanning the healthcare, pharmaceutical, medical, and wellness industries. Attendees found the content so valuable that we wanted to make much of it available to all who could not attend this in-person event. Before even reading this post, know this: You can view all the sessions on-demand now!
If you aren’t in those industries … how might you apply the learning within your own? At GreenBook, we believe that IIEX is more than a conference series. It’s a mindset. These are the forums in which the most important insights innovations are revealed, demonstrated, debated, and championed. What starts at the events drive change in our world. It is in that spirit that we bring you, directly, some of the poignant content we heard at IIEX Health.
Enjoy our On-Demand Video
Join client services and marketing research professional, Molly Simpson, to discuss how the rise and constantly changing technology has impacted mental heath treatment. As digital treatments become more popular and accessible on multiple platforms, how is this changing how we view and access mental health resources? Click to view the video (courtesy of Civicom).
View more 2023 IIEX Health content on-demand!
Whether you were able to attend, or you were not, join us online to see what was shared by some of the biggest brands, the newest startups, and expert-level researchers across healthcare, pharma, and consumer experience. Here’s just two of the amazing sessions you’ll find on-demand:
- Greg Hewitt and James Bauler speak to the innovation process behind Fuse Oncology, a spin-out of Cone Health, after a critical examination of the lag between a patient’s diagnosis and start of treatment.
- Zach Hebert speaks to how the Covid-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever to deliver the right message and how the right message can help ease the mind of vaccine hesitant parents.
Online you’ll find other fantastic sessions by speakers from Pierre Fabre Group, Novartis, Hinge Health, and more! If you want to stay on top of the trends in the healthcare industry — one of the largest spends in market research — you won’t want to miss IIEX Health On-Demand!
Not familiar with the Insight Innovation Exchange (IIEX)?
Ten years ago, GreenBook embarked on a simple idea: Could we create opportunities for market research leaders to share ideas and collaborate to define the future of insights?
If there was something new to our industry — a company, methodology, or platform — that didn’t exist 10 years ago and is now considered a “best practice” … well, you probably saw it first at an IIEX event.
What starts here will change our world!
(Transcript courtesy of TranscriptWing)
Female: For our next speaker, Molly Simpson, who is the marketing director – hi, Molly – for InCrowd, which is a trusted real-time marketing intelligence platform for global life sciences. And they are exhibiting downstairs, right?
Molly Simpson: Yeah, absolutely.
Female: So, Molly is the director of client services and engagement. She’s got a diverse background in client services and marketing research. She travels all over the world, but she isn’t neglecting her hometown. Basically, you live in Boston?
Molly Simpson: Mm-hmm.
Female: And you specialize in food and restaurants and brunch?
Molly Simpson: Yes, I love [Crosstalk] [Laughter]
Female: So, if we’re traveling to your hometown, where should we eat? Well, you can talk to us about that later.
Molly Simpson: You should eat at Sarma.
Female: Okay, thank you. Welcome, Molly.
Molly Simpson: Okay, thank you guys so much. So, before I get started, how many of you guys have an app on your phone that tracks some type of health, or helps you guys in some mental or physical health capacity?
Female: I’m wearing my iWatch right now.
Molly Simpson: Awesome. Okay. So, today we’re going to talk about the impact of technology on mental health, but specifically, digital therapeutics for mental healthcare. So, basically, we ran a study using the InCrowd platform, our real-time agile quantitative platform, with 103 US psychiatrists specifically to ask them, “What do you guys think about digital healthcare in regards to mental health, and specifically, digital therapeutics?” So, not just digital healthcare overall, but specifically, actually, therapies and treatments to treat mental health patients. So, the reason we wanted to do this research is because the NIH recently said that they believe technology has opened a new frontier in mental health support. We wanted to understand well how does that relate to psychiatry and mental health treatment.
So, for today’s purposes, we are defining digital therapeutics as treatments delivered directly to patients via software or apps. So, not just necessarily apps on your phone, there are also just any type of digital treatment, and these are actual prescriptions and some are recommendations, but there are treatments. The objectives of this research, we wanted to understand what do adopters and non-adopters feel, how do they think. So, we’re going to be exploring and examining the usage and why adopters have used what they think about it, and why non- adopters are hesitant. We want to better understand how the adoption experience influences future forecasts, and we will be assessing how adopters and non-adopters can best be supported going forward.
So, like I said, we did this research on the InCrowd platform. It took six hours to run in July, we did it with 103 US psychiatrists, and in order to participate, they did have to be using technology in their practice in some way. Specifically, they had to have done telehealth over the past two years, and they also had to know some basic information about digital therapeutics as it relates to mental healthcare. First of all, what are psychiatrists doing with technology? So, like I said, in order to participate, they did have to do telehealth, so obviously, 100% are doing it. And then on top of that, they’re using technology for appointment scheduling, for electronic payments; some are doing medication reminder, but digital therapeutics was kind of at the bottom, under half of our population said that they’ve used digital therapeutics in their practice so far. So, they are kind of trailing there. If you look at a typical adoption curve. I really like these dudes. you can see that – it’s kind of early days for digital therapeutics. Like I said only 45% have adopted so far. So, the digital therapy market in mental health has reached your enthusiasts, the visionaries, the pragmatists, but the non-adopter group, the 55%, we really have to work on reaching the conservatives and the skeptics. So, it’s kind of early days still.
So, these 45%, what have they used digital therapeutics to treat? Mostly, about a third said that they’re using this for sleep disorders; some people said generalized anxiety, major depressive disorder, but way at the bottom, only – like 10% so far have used it for schizophrenia. And I want to be clear that use could have been also involvement in clinical trials. Not all of this is approved yet. But as you can see, we’re starting at the top here with safer treatments, and it kind of goes down the line to more risky treatments. Not exactly, but that’s kind of where people feel a little bit more comfortable adopting a less risky – you know, starting with a patient that isn’t as high risk.
So, what we’re seeing here first is that generally speaking, adopters especially are pretty positive and excited about digital healthcare, about digital therapeutics to treat mental health, which is exciting. The non-adopters, as you can see, are significantly less excited, but still about 20% are excited. So, that is good news.
Though both groups are still skeptical, which is really interesting. Right? You have this group of people who are already using it, and yet, a quarter of them are skeptical. And then trust is kind of relatively low, it’s pretty moderate. You’re just looking at the top two box numbers here. So, let’s explore that just a little bit more.
So, this is actually looking at the individual conditions themselves. So, we’re comparing trust and product efficacy to likelihood to prescribe. So, as you can see here, again, it kind of goes down that risky scale. The green, of course, is the doctors, the pink is non-adopters, and what you can see is pretty much across the board, the adopters are significantly more likely to trust and significantly more likely to prescribe for different conditions. Which isn’t surprising, right? These people have already used it, those people have not.
So, let’s talk about this a little bit. Not surprisingly, sleep disorders are way at the top. I think a lot of us have come to understand there’s all these meditation apps, there’s these sleep disorder apps, so I think people feel fairly comfortable with that idea. There’s also a watch you can buy that monitors your heart rate, there’s – I mean, I think people feel comfortable with this idea of adopting for sleep because it doesn’t feel as scary. ADHD, there’s some really neat treatments out on the market, like using gamification for ADHD. I’m not sure if you guys know about this.
And then, your generalized anxiety disorder, MGD, PTSD, they’re using things like AI CBT. Pretty interesting stuff. But the substance abuse, the schizophrenia, I think people are a little more skittish about that. A little less confident, need to see more data. So, that’s kind of down at the bottom. Interestingly, over half of non-adopters do expect to prescribe digital therapeutics for their mental health patients in the future. So, I do think that – you know, it is pretty clear that that group will start to adopt once they see more data, and now we’re going to we’re going to talk about what they need to see.
So, this is kind of a busy slide, but as you can see, we’ve got your benefits and we’ve got your barriers, So, let’s talk about the benefits of digital therapeutics in regards to mental health. So, first of all, both adopters and non-adopters see it as accessible, right? It’s super easy. I mean, I have this watch, it tracks my tracks my steps, it tracks my sleep, it tracks my physical exertion, and even get – I’m sure you guys have iWatches, right? Do you guys ever get those messages that are like, “Molly, you need to stop and breathe for a second.” I’m like, “I don’t need to breathe, I do that automatically,” right? So, it tells you – it’s very accessible. Right?
And then the non-adopters, interestingly, also see that it is convenient and flexible. Actually, a higher percentage than the adopters. Interestingly, the adopters find that the increased support and engagement between sessions is a big benefit, which is really nice to see. They’re seeing a lot of value in this idea that there’s a gap being bridged between sessions. But both groups are not really seeing benefit in two areas that I think are very key, which I think present an opportunity for additional messaging, and those are only 10% said that there’s no side effects.
Right? Like when I get that message on my on my watch, it says “You got to stop and breathe and meditate.” I don’t have any side effects from that. Maybe I get a little annoyed, but I’m not like “Oh, now I can’t go about my day because I feel like crap.” You know? Like there’s no side effects here. So, that’s definitely an opportunity for more messaging. And then the ability to monitor symptoms, track progress, collect data, have more data about how their patient is doing outside of the sessions that they’re having. You know, that is a benefit that I see, and there’s definitely messaging opportunity there as well.
So, let’s talk about the barriers of usage. First of all, interestingly the barriers that came up from the adopters mostly have to do with the challenges of use. Right? So, about a third of them say it requires patient initiative and follow-through. Mostly, they’re saying that because they’re actually seeing this happen in their practice.
They’ve prescribed these treatments, they recommended these treatments and maybe they’re having issues with their patients actually using them. A quarter say that you have to be tech literate. Right? So, maybe they have an older population and they’re worried that that population will have trouble using that. So, maybe there is opportunity here to provide more tech support, to provide an environment within the apps to create more actionable initiatives, more notifications on your phone.
Now, the non-adopters as you can see here, feel their biggest issue is they’re worried that is too impersonal. When you guys think about a psychiatry relationship with a patient, it is a very personal thing. A lot of these people are probably seeing their patients at least once a quarter, if not, maybe every week. And, so they are concerned that these apps are actually going to remove the need of their personal relationship, or reduce the relationship that they have, and that it’s oversimplifying a very strong relationship. So, I think that it is very important to really push the message that no – in fact, as you can see, the doctors feel that it is increasing the support and engagement between sessions, not reducing it. So, that is definitely a difference between the two groups, and I think it is a great opportunity for messaging to non-adopters.
The non-adopters are worried about cost, totally understandable, that is also an opportunity for messaging, but both groups, interestingly, the adopters and non-adopters – adopters have already used, but even they are saying that a lack of real-world evidence and skepticism and efficacy is still a barrier for them. So, maybe that’s what’s preventing them from – another thing that’s preventing them from prescribing the treatments the therapies that are for more risky treatments.
Okay, let’s sum it all up. So, the future is bright for mental health, digital therapeutics. As we see, about half of the non-adopters will be adopting in the future, so that is great. But let’s talk about the adopters first. So, 45% have adopted, which is great, but we’re not – we’ve got a long way to go. They are excited about digital therapeutics but they are somewhat skeptical. They have high trust and advocacy, and they’re very, very likely to prescribe to continue prescribing. So, 85% are likely to continue to prescribing for at least one condition. They see the benefits as being accessibility, increased support between sessions.
They see a lot of benefit, but there is some opportunity for messaging around easing the pain of usage by encouraging patient engagement, maybe providing more tech support and providing more real-world data. So, let’s talk about what the non-adopters – about them a little bit, summing it all up. Like I said, over half have not used, 55%, so there’s definitely an opportunity for growth in this market. On the first slide, actually, I grazed over this, but the digital therapeutics market in general, in about 10 years, it’s expected to grow from five billion today to 56 billion in the future. That’s not just mental health, that’s everything. But really, I mean, the digital therapeutic market is really expected to grow a ton. So, this group is expected to adopt, and like we saw in the data, that is definitely going to happen. At least half of them expect that they’ll be prescribing some type of digital therapeutic to their patient. So, they are moderately excited, they have some skepticism, there is relatively low trust, moderate trust, but like I said, they’re likely to prescribe is higher than their level of trust and skepticism. So, that is very interesting to see. Fifty-two percent are likely to prescribe for at least one condition. It is most likely that sleep disorders will be the gateway for them prescribing, to give it a try. It seems like they’re least skeptical of that, of prescribing digital therapeutics for that group, and they see that convenience and accessibility are the biggest benefits. But there is opportunity for messaging around the concerns over an impersonal relationship.
Right? They see that digital therapeutics might be replacing them or might be diminishing the important work that they do, and I think that it’s really important that digital therapeutic companies focus their marketing efforts on the non-adopter group, specifically around “Hey, we’re not here to take you away, we’re only here to enhance your work.” And then in terms of also making sure that they understand any sort of implications around cost, and also, again, just providing more real-world evidence. Like I said we heard that from both groups. So, with that I’ll open it up to questions. Yes?
Male: Quick question.
Molly Simpson: Yes?
Male: Maybe I’ll just yell it out or something. Can’t do that. [Laughter]
Molly Simpson: Don’t take my job away. [Laughter]
Male: So, great stuff here. Quick question.
Molly Simpson: Sure.
Male: Do you have any thoughts on what’s going to increase utilization of digital therapeutics as we come down that list of areas you show, down into schizophrenia…
Molly Simpson: The riskier treatments?
Male: What’s it going to take, or will we ever get there?
Molly Simpson: I think the barriers – messaging here, these are unaided responses, and I think this is a good indication. Truthfully – I mean, even I do kind of feel this way myself, I do think there needs to be more – I do think there needs to be more efficacy data. You know, it’s still kind of early days for digital therapeutics, it’s been that way for a few years now, and I think the pandemic – I’m just guessing here, this is my own anecdotal thinking, but I think the pandemic slowed things down in that in that world. I think that the FDA is – there are FDA-approved treatments already. I think they’re about seven, and four of them are mental health, the other three are for other physical conditions. One is for IBS and others. But I really think that the biggest issue is just more real-world data, more efficacy data. And then, there’s some really interesting stuff going on in the substance abuse in schizophrenia areas, and I think it’s just more studies. But one thing I’ll say too, if we go back here, I also think that there’s – you know, when you’re looking at just a normal adoption curve of any kind of new thing, conservatives and skeptics, those groups just tend to be the laggards, the people that delay their adoption until maybe their friends use that, their peers, more information coming out from other people. So, I do think it’s partially incumbent upon the adopters themselves to be sharing that detail with the non-adopters. Anything else?
Female: [Pause] No?
Molly Simpson: All right.
Female: Well, Molly, thank you so much.
Molly Simpson: Thank you so much.