Germany’s using startups to power its health system

Germany’s using startups to power its health system

Germany’s using startups to power its health system. A new law establishes partnerships between public health insurance and health tech SMEs.  

A new law, recently approved by the German government, is expected to revolutionize healthcare. The act promotes partnerships between the state and the country’s health tech startups. It does so by allowing subscriptions of health apps to be reimbursed by state insurance. For such, individuals only need a medical prescription.

The law is expected to have a twofold positive impact. First, it might decrease state expenditure on healthcare. Lawmakers hope that digital apps will decrease the number of physical appointments. Second, the law might increase the public interested in healthcare apps. This would boost the local SME ecosystem.

Germany is being an EU pioneer, regarding these partnerships. Yet, promoting the development of digital health, the country’s not alone. Other EU members have already recognized the sector’s importance. An example of these is Estonia, during the COVID-19 crisis.

Though promising, benefits haven’t still been reaped from the law. The DVG (German Healthcare Act) has been approved last December. Yet, it has yet to approve apps’ applications (“DiGA” process). Therefore, there aren’t any apps on the list of partnerships yet.


The Requirements?

It’ important to note that the process has specific requirements. First, the apps are tested for functionality, and data security. The application also has to prove that it can provide health benefits, too. If the technology hasn’t yet conducted such tests, then it can have a provisional agreement. This lasts a year, during which the app has to be tested.

This is the way Germany’s using startups to power its health system. Different SMEs have already applied for the mentioned partnerships. Examples are Zanadio, an app which tackles obesity, or Esysta, a diabetes digital tool.

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