High potential for digital therapeutics industry to take root in Estonia
DTx Estonia, the industry alliance of Estonian digital therapeutics manufacturers, was founded at the beginning of the year. Founders include several Connected Heath Cluster members.
Cluster members who helped establish DTx Estonia include Dermtest, the digital toolbox for skin health; digital headache clinic Migrevention; and Triumf Health, which works on preventive measures for children’s mental health. Other members include Activate Health, which focuses on the prevention of metabolic disease and SpeakTX with a focus on speech therapy. All of these companies are engaged in the manufacturing of digital therapeutics in some form.
Katrina Laks, Co-founder and CEO of Migrevention, explains that the goal of DTx Estonia is to raise awareness of the potential of digital therapy applications, i.e. digital therapeutics in simpler terms, the complexity of their creation and the need to reinforce the appropriate ecosystem. “Estonia has never had a strong traditional pharmaceutical industry, but given the capabilities of our IT sector, the data-centric approach of the healthcare sector and many other advantages over larger countries manufacturing digital therapeutics, such as Germany, there is a high potential for making Estonia the birthplace of the digital therapeutics industry,” Katrina adds.
What are digital therapeutics?
The term is not yet used in Estonian legislation, but in e-health, digital therapeutics refers to applications that are clinically validated and certified as software-as-a-medical-device used to prevent, monitor or treat diseases, which doctors already prescribe in a number of countries (e.g. Germany, the US) and for which several countries, including Estonia, are developing their own assessment frameworks to systematically take digital therapeutics into use. Digital therapeutics have the potential to reduce the workload of health professionals and save on treatment costs.
Katrina explains that while the Estonian health ecosystem includes several parties who support companies and whose support is highly appreciated by companies – the Connected Health Cluster, the Health Founders accelerator – digital therapeutics makes up a very specific part of the health tech sector and thus needs a separate organisation to look after related interests.
“The MDR (Medical Device Regulation) closely regulates the manufacturing and market entry of digital therapeutics while funding models are still being developed,” says Katrina. She added that by working together, companies will have an easier time operating in Estonia and abroad and remain aware of the complexities and opportunities of this type of technology. While it is still early stages in Estonia, doctors in Germany have already prescribed digital therapeutics more than 50,000 times.
DTx Estonia is ready to admit new members! For details, please write to email@example.com.
The Connected Health Cluster led by Tehnopol Science and Business Park is Estonia’s biggest healthcare tech community, uniting health service providers, health tech companies and all other key interest groups in the field. The cluster’s support enables domestic cooperation projects and the export of health technological solutions to other countries. The activities of the cluster are co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.