DiGAs – A model for Europe? This is the question that the EIT Health Round-Table Discussion Series has been addressing in several rounds across Europe in recent months. The round table of German representatives from relevant areas of the health economy was held in Berlin. It took place there on 16 September 2021 as a panel discussion in front of an audience as part of the Health Insurance Summit “KassenGipfel” and produced interesting questions and assessments. EIT Health Germany is now publishing the results of the expert round as a freely available white paper. The assessments of the rounds – in Germany and throughout Europe – are to serve as a basis for adaptation in other European countries.
The Digital Health Care Act (Digitales Versorgungsgesetzt, DVG), came into force in December 2019. It provides a legal regulation in which digital health applications (DiGAs) can be approved and billed as health insurance benefits. They can thus be prescribed by doctors and therapists. This regulation, which enables digital applications to enter the health market, is so far unique in Europe and is currently being examined by other European health ministries. The ten-member panel discussed what opportunities a European DiGA authorisation system holds and what difficulties are to be expected, based on their experiences in Germany so far. In analysing the results of one year of DiGA in Germany, however, it also became clear that the German approval system also still has hurdles to overcome.
Dr Anne Geier (Spitzenverband Digitale Gesundheitsversorgung e.V.), Björn-Ingemar Janssen (Verband der Ersatzkassen), Dr Henrik Matthies (health innovation hub of the BMG), Nora Müller (Flying Health GmbH), Matthias Prütz (adesso SE), Michael Rosenstock (SANA Kliniken AG), Prof. Dr Freimut Schliess (PROFIL Institut für Stoffwechselforschung GmbH) and Christian Weigand (Fraunhofer Mobile Health Lab) took part in the discussion. In addition, Pia Maier from the board of the German Association of Internet Medicine provided her assessments for the white paper. The session was chaired by Dr Anke Diehl (Essen University Medical Centre).