Categories
Digital Health

Germany leading in DTx reimbursement with 42 DiGA-approved apps

With four more Digital Therapeutics (DTx) added in January, Germany is a leader in reimbursing of prescribed digital health applications. The DiGA directory lists now 42 digital therapeutics available to be prescribed and reimbursed for German patients.

It has been almost two years since we have been discussing the approval of Deprexis, the 11th DiGA-approved digital therapeutics. The pace of the German regulator, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) increased dramatically.

BfArM has so far received 165 applications. By the 22nd of February 2023, there were 43 positive decisions. Sixteen DTx are DiGA-approved permanently, 27 are approved provisionally (gathering additional RWE), and five were removed from the directory (two of them on developer request).

BfArM - DiGA assessment of digital therapeutics results
BfArM – DiGA assessment of digital therapeutics results

How to get a digital health application (DiGA) in Germany?

  1. Arrange a doctor’s appointment

    It is best to let your doctor advise you on your desired DiGA DTx.

  2. Get a prescription

    You get a red prescription. If you do not receive one, the health insurance company can also pay for the DiGA without a prescription.

  3. Submit

    Submit the prescription to your health insurance company (Krankenkasse). This can be done online. If in doubt, contact customer service.

  4. Receive code

    Your cash register will send you an activation code for three months (90 days) of DiGA usage. After that, you will need to submit a prescription again.

  5. Download the app

    Download the app to your mobile phone. Every DiGA is available in the google play store or app store. Some can also be used via browser.

  6. Enter code

    Where exactly you have to enter the code in the app depends on the DiGA. However, the application should query for the code itself.

Categories
MedTech

What is MedTech all about?

You can read a lot about MedTech. There are websites (like disrupting healthcare), news resources, and companies focused on one thing. MedTech. But what is MedTech? What does a MedTech company do? Is Medtech in a hospital or can you have it at home, on your wrist, or inside your body?

To make your journey into the world of MedTech easier, let’s discuss basic facts about MedTech.

Photo by Natanael Melchor on Unsplash

What is MedTech?

It is just an ugly abbreviation. MedTech stands for medical technology. And as you can guess there are very many technologies in the medical sector.

What are medical technologies?

MedTech is a very wide subject, but it can be categorized into three categories.

  1. Medical Devices
  2. In-vitro Diagnostics (IVDs)
  3. Digital Health Solutions  and Digital Therapeutics (DTx)

What are Medical Devices?

Photo by Myriam Zilles on Unsplash

Medical Devices is yet another very wide term in the MedTech world. It covers any product, service, or solution used to prevent, diagnose, monitor, or treat people. As you can now understand, it can be literally anything, an instrument, appliance, software, implant, reagent, material, or even a service for processing some vital data. Under Medical Devices, you will find all known gadgets of the medical profession, syringes, needles, stethoscopes, big machines to perform X-Ray or MRI, or the special chair in your dentist. Wheelchairs and canes, and hospital beds are also medical devices. And of course, everything that can be put on or in your body in medical procedure – sensors, cardiac pacemakers, and so on.

To become a Medical Device and be used in a healthcare setting, an object or service has to meet certain regulations to ensure its safety and reliability.

What is In Vitro Diagnostics?

Photo by Testalize.me on Unsplash

In vitro means literally in the glass. In vitro diagnostics (IVD) is any diagnostic procedure taken outside of the patient body. It is a non-invasive test made on a sample taken from your body, used to determine the status of a patient’s health. The sample can be blood, urine, tissue, or saliva. COVID-19 tests are IVDs. IVD never comes into direct contact with a person, they provide information based on scientific measurement of the sample. IVDs are not used for treatment, they are supposed to inform patients and healthcare professionals to make decisions.

What is Digital Health?

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

Digital Health covers all tools and services that combine information and communication technologies in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Digital Health plays an increasingly important role in healthcare. It allows for gathering and analyzing health data on an unprecedented scale, allowing scientists to discover patterns and insights. Digital Health speeds up and facilitates research and development of new therapies. It also allows remote monitoring of vital signs, early prevention and diagnosis, and at-home or ambulatory treatment. Finally, there are specific Digital Health solutions called Digital Therapeutics (DTx). Digital Therapeutics is usually Software as Medical Device – or in layman’s terms software application, that can be prescribed and used as medicine. There are more and more such DTx available, we have been covering examples such as Deprexis and NOCD.

What is MedTech – summary


Now, you know what is MedTech! It is any technology that is used in healthcare. MedTech covers Medical Devices, In vitro Diagnostics and Digital Health Solutions. On disrupting.healthcare we discuss MedTech with a focus on Digital Health on the exciting journey to improve the health and well-being of patients around the world.  

Categories
Digital Health

Meet Troy Tazbaz, a new director of the FDA Digital Health CoE

Troy Tazbaz Linkedin profile. Source: Linkedin

Troy Tazbaz has been appointed as a Director of the Digital Health Center of Excellence at the FDA. Mr. Tazbaz combines a long career in IT with long and personal involvement in healthcare.

Most media outlets focus on Mr. Tazbaz’s recent career as a cloud infrastructure at Oracle and earlier at social software Ning. For us, however, the most important is his voluntary and very personal engagement in patient care, especially in Hematology and Oncology.

Since 2010 Troy Tazbaz has been involved in campaigning for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, a Patient Advocacy Group, and the largest nonprofit dedicated to fighting blood cancer. Since 1949, the LLS has donated over $1.6 billion to support research on leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma.

Mr. Tazbaz has very personal experience in oncology treatment and care. He was supporting his wife, Brynn Fowler in her patient journey as documented on her blog, The Millenial with Cancer. Mrs. Fowler was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer at the age 37. Now, after Mrs. Fowler has passed away, the website is still maintained by Mr. Tazbaz as The Continuum Diaries.

FDA DHCoE Infographics. Source: FDA.gov

FDA Digital Health Center of Excellence is part of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). It is responsible for envisioning a future of safe and effective healthcare delivery with a focus on advancing public health goals with the use of technology. It performs technology evaluation, policy development, and strategic partnerships, as well as maintains a network of Digital Health experts.