Digital Therapeutics Explained

What are digital therapeutics (DTx)?

Digital Therapeutics (DTx) are evidence-based digital health treatments, also known as Software as a Medical Device (SaMD). Unlike generic health apps freely available for download, digital therapeutics are products that undergo rigorous clinical and regulatory review, ensuring the highest standards of efficacy and safety.

Digital therapeutics can be prescribed by physicians as stand-alone treatments or alongside existing therapies. Their digital nature enables them to target and treat unmet needs at home and around the clock, empowering patients by lowering thresholds to high-quality care.

How are Digital Therapeutics (DTx) different from health apps?

Digital Therapeutics are medical treatments that can make medical claims, receive regulatory authorization and reimbursement. DTx products are to health apps what prescription drugs are to vitamin supplements bought at a grocery store.

Treating medical disorders

DTx products are designed and developed to treat specific medical disorders and diseases, defined by ICD-10 diagnose codes.

Clincally Validated

DTx products undergo clinical studies demonstrating effectiveness, similar to traditional pharmaceutical treatments.

Prescribable & reimburseable

DTx products can be prescribed by healthcare providers either as stand-alone treatments or alongside existing drugs or therapies. Their costs can similarly also be reimbursed by public and private health coverage plans.

Safety & quality regulation

DTx products are developed according to rigorous regulatory and data security processes, and are subject to safety and efficacy review and approval from regulatory bodies such as the FDA. DTx products receive a medical device class classification when on the market.

How do digital therapeutics work?

Digital therapeutics can be categorized into three main groups based on their intended use:

1. Adjunct to traditional treatments: By aiding patients in managing their conditions, digital therapeutics can be used to complement and enhance conventional medical approaches such as drug therapy.

2. Disease prevention: Some digital therapeutics aim to prevent diseases and medical disorders, contributing to proactive public healthcare.

3. Stand-alone treatments: Digital therapeutics can be used instead of conventional drug therapies, offering entirely new and alternative approaches to address health issues.

Digital therapeutics are often apps delivered via mobile or tablet, and utilize a diverse set of user engagement techniques typically found in other consumer apps, such as gamification.

Depending on the intended use, they often include treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy, and are supported by evidence generation and clinical validation.

Case Study

Germany and the DVG

Since 2020, Germany’s Digital Healthcare Act (DVG) has meant that any doctor or health-care provider has been able to prescribe Digital Health Applications (DiGA’s) to any of the 72 million citizens insured through the state healthcare system.

DiGA – the German term for DTx

A DiGA is a digital medical product Class I or IIa that provides treatment, detection, monitoring or other medical function of a medical disease or injury.

Fast-track to commercialization

The German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) has created a “Fast Track” that enables DiGA’s that have established risk and data protection compliance to launch prior to having established positive care effects through clinical studies..

Clinical validation post-launch

The “Fast Track” procedure allows DiGA’s to conduct clinical trials during their first 12 months of listing. During this period DiGA’s can nonetheless be prescribed and reimbursed.

Guaranteed reimbursement

The DVG mandates that any DiGA approved by the BfArM either temporarily or permanently must be reimbursed by the federal statutory health system, which covers 72 million German citizens and constitutes the world’s fourth largest healthcare market.

The path to launching DTx


Product Development

Collaborative identification of real-world pain points and unmet patient needs. Development of novel DTx Product built upon the Alex Therapeutics Platform.


Regulatory Approval

Regulatory review and approval of DTx documentation by Notified Body (EU), FDA (US) or other regulatory agency.


Clinical Evaluation

Clinical validation of DTx products is a significantly faster and easier process than traditional medicines due to their digital nature and rapid periods of effect.



DTx products allow for innovative marketing & sales processes to be more easily utilized, as well as more rapid and cost-effective distrubution strategies.

Improve patient outcomes with digital companions proven to change behavior.

We've simplified the process for pharma companies to launch indication-specific companion digital health solutions at scale. Reach out to learn more.

Get in touch