Prescription for Medical Apps?


Imagine you live in the country, your child is ill and the nearest doctor is 20 kilometres away. You have an appointment for a check-up and a whining child in the child seat. Wouldn't it be ideal if your doctor could simply monitor the healing process of your child online using an app and intervene if necessary? This may not be as far away in the future as it might sound.

The new German law of the Federal Ministry of Health,  "Digital Care Act (DVO)",  will in future provide reimbursement of health apps by the health insurance companies. However, it is not yet clear when this will come into force.

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Health, the Bertelsmann Foundation is currently developing a quality criteria catalogue for the evaluation of health apps, which will  serve as a quality guideline for the prescription, reimbursement and use of health apps.

This catalogue of criteria is still in progress and is not expected to be published until the end of 2019. Only then will health insurance companies have concrete criteria for the reimbursement of health apps.

Through cooperation agreements between companies and health insurance funds, individual health apps, such as the ones for tinnitus, mental health or Parkinson's disease, are already being reimbursed.

Health apps serving primarily for the prevention of a disease are already being reimbursed. These are tested by the Central Testing Laboratory for Prevention. Currently there are already 176 prevention apps, which are covered up to 100% by the health insurance companies. This number is continually increasing.

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