Chris Brickler, CEO and Co-Founder of MyndVR and Ted Werth, CFO of MyndVR
The fully immersive nature of VR effectively blocks out the surrounding environment, allowing a patient to feel as though they are in a completely different world. This can provide better focus, but can also open up a sense of wonder and exploration that makes VR treatments more enjoyable to patients.
If you have spent any time following the rise and fall of Bitcoin over the past couple years, you know that timing is everything when it comes to investing. Choosing the right moment to get involved in a company or a market can be done by everything from intense analysis of fundamentals to simple gut instinct. You can also follow proposed legislation and determine who the winners and losers will be should a bill become law. One bill that could help create hundreds of millions of winners, both financially and healthily is the Access to Prescription Digital Therapeutics Act of 2022.
Digital Therapeutics (DTx) are a new class of treatments that often utilize digital content, such as apps, games, and Virtual Reality experiences to diagnose, treat, and potentially cure any number of diseases and conditions. In the past few years, the FDA has approved the first wave of digital therapeutics, covering issues such as opioid use disorder, lower back pain, and ADHD in children. With those initial approvals in place, dozens of companies are now working on the next wave of DTx, and soon there will be thousands.
One very promising avenue for DTx is Virtual Reality (VR), which has actually been used as a niche healthcare device for over twenty years, providing safe exposure therapy for people with phobias, reducing pain through distraction therapy, and helping veterans with PTSD. The fully immersive nature of VR effectively blocks out the surrounding environment, allowing a patient to feel as though they are in a completely different world. This can provide better focus, but can also open up a sense of wonder and exploration that makes VR treatments more enjoyable to patients.
In the past few years, VR companies have been hard at work building VR experiences not just for adolescents and gamers, but for the massively growing population of older adults. With 10,000 Americans turning 65 every single day, and an acknowledged overuse of opioids, anti-psychotics, and anti-depressants in senior care, there is a desperate need for alternative treatments for all sorts of age-related conditions, from Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s to senior isolation and depression. With Baby Boomers already being very tech-savvy, the aging market presents a massive opportunity for digital therapeutic developers.
But it is only now that the US government is formally recognizing this class of treatments, with a bi-cameral, bi-partisan proposal that will direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to speed up the approval process and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to create specific DTx reimbursement codes. Supporters can sign a petition to encourage Congress to pass the act at the Digital Therapy Now website.
The Access to Prescription Digital Therapeutics Act could help save countless lives, reduce costs for patients and their families, and improve quality of care for millions, so it’s widely supported and expected to pass after the midterms when the next Congress is seated in January. Once passed, it will also become much more common knowledge, and you’ll likely be hearing about Digital Therapeutics constantly in 2023. Which brings me back to timing.
Here in 2022, DTx opportunities are still relatively under the radar. The vast majority are small, private companies backed by angel investors and early-stage venture capital funds. That’s going to change soon, however, as bigger VCs, private equity funds, major insurance companies, and the $1-plus trillion-dollar traditional pharma industry all get involved. So, keep your eyes on this space, and get ready for your doctor to give you a dose of VR.
Chris Brickler is the CEO and Founder of MyndVR, the leading provider of Virtual Reality solutions for senior living communities, home care agencies, Veteran homes, and individual adults aging in their own homes across the US, Canada and Australia.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.