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Where is the money in digital health? The roadmap to digital health app reimbursement in Europe

Where is the money in digital health? The roadmap to digital health app reimbursement in Europe

Reimbursement opportunities for digital health applications and services will improve significantly over the next few years in Europe. An EU go-to-market plan for a digital health app must factor in the four different implementation stages of standardized reimbursement processes within the European countries to avoid ineffective resource allocation or just to be too early or late in a market.

Over the last years, digital health companies were able to sell their services mainly to consumers, employers, healthcare companies incl. pharma, med tech or hospitals. The reimbursement channel used to have very long and cumbersome sales cycles. Digital health companies had and still are having to sell to each and every health insurance individually. There was no standardized process in place like the one for any new drug or medical device to get into the statutory health insurance system within a country. This is about to change. European countries are leading the development, creating significant business opportunities for digital health companies in Europe.

Germany is the first country in the EU to have implemented a standardized process for digital health apps to be prescribed by a physician or a psychotherapist and reimbursed by the statutory health insurance. Undoubtedly, the introduction of Digital Healthcare Act – DVG on November 7, 2019 (DiGA) has opened a new horizon in the digital healthcare space, for digital health companies to have their apps listed in the DiGA directory enabling them to target 73 million public health insured German residents.

With Germany’s DiGA Fast Track process set in place, several EU countries have implemented or want to implement a similar assessment framework to evaluate digital health apps and to provide a direct access to the public reimbursement system. Still the majority of EU countries have not yet shown a notable interest in providing a standardized process for digital health services into their statutory health insurance system.


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