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Smartphone apps aren’t a default way of managing diabetes — not yet, anyway.

Though telehealth and other virtual care surged during the pandemic, digital therapeutics, or software products that help people treat or manage medical conditions, remain on the fringes of care. A doctor’s recommendation to use an app to help manage blood pressure, back pain, or anxiety remains the exception and not the rule. 


Still, the digital therapeutics space saw notable advances in both regulation and funding rounds in 2021, as hundreds of millions in new funding poured into the sector. Pear Therapeutics, which makes apps that use cognitive behavioral therapy to treat insomnia, opiate use disorder, and substance use disorder, gave the prescription side of the industry its first gigantic exit when it went public in November in a $1.6 billion SPAC merger. And the FDA cleared a round of futuristic sounding treatments that use virtual reality headsets and granted “Breakthrough Device Designation” to a string of products, giving their makers a leg-up as they pursue clearances from the regulator.  

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