Digital Health Solutions to Become Reimbursable

Health apps have been around for a minute but the new law obligates health insurance companies to reimburse publicly health-insured German citizens. Since close to 90% of the German population are covered by statutory health insurance, developers of digital health solutions are presented with new opportunities to become easily visible. If you expect insurmountable barriers for start-ups to reach that stage, you are on the wrong track.

Provided the app has been approved by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) regarding data security and privacy, quality and functional efficiency, the costs are covered for the stretch of a year during which the company has to prove to BfArm that its services benefit the patient.

Obviously, the Digital Care Act aims at cost reductions within the healthcare system since it also enables virtual physician appointments via video and it paves the way for the electronic patient file.

If digital health solutions manage to noticeably reduce health care costs, not everybody will be a winner, that’s for sure. Accordingly, critics were fast to point out several weaknesses of the Act, which is a prestige project of Germany’s ambitious Federal Minister of Health, Mr. Jens Spahn. During the drafting process of the law, he shielded his team against the influence of pharmaceutical lobbyists. Yet given the scale of transformation it might kick off; this is only understandable. To put things in perspective, in 2017, public health insurance companies spent € 214.2 bn on their insured patients which amounted to 57% of all costs within the healthcare system, according to Federal Statistical Office.

Meet Digital Health Pioneer Emperra

All digital health applications that qualify as CE I and max. CE IIa-marked products (a low risk class based on the EU’s Medical Devices Regulation) are eligible to be reimbursed via the Digital Care Act. A company that will be affected by the new law is Potsdam-based Emperra GmbH. Emperra is dedicated to digital diabetes care and is geared up for the new development since its app is not only up and running – but is already certified. Aescuvest will host an Emperra funding campaign soon, you can preview their story here. A study published in 2018 showed that savings of €1,238 per patient per year could be achieved by Emperra’s solution. Approximately, 6 to 8 million Germans suffer from diabetes. So now we can see you calculating…

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