Depression should be recognized in the future by digital applications.
A prescription application will come. It's safe. The Digital Supply Act is due to come into force in January 2020. But which application will be able to overcome the obstacles that are so big for the legislator and enter into the "standard quote", i.e. reimbursement? This is one of the key issues that many health startups are currently facing.
Mostly it is evidence of the success of the treatment, and so is the proof of the effect. This is considered the biggest challenge in the digital healthcare sector. Because, unlike the controversial case of paying homeopathic fees, health insurance companies only pay for digital applications that really work. The amount of the refund is likely to depend largely on the level of evidence. Proof of usefulness would thus become a central lever for the breakthrough of digital health applications.
New digital drug methods
There are proven methods in analogue medicine for this proof of proof. Clinical studies clarify this issue based on statistical rules. But in the digital healthcare industry, this is different than with a drug for which a dosage amount of the active substance is defined. Because the "digital cure", as such programs are called, is subject to constant change. Update is part of the system, not an exception.
Conventional methods are therefore only of limited use to prove application proof. The limited duration of the study does not exhaust the capabilities of the digital application. Because data from patient feedback or from wearables (i.e., body-worn sensors) make it possible to make a prognosis or diagnosis. Digital biomarkers are the name of this information.
Thryve: diagnosed from wearable
"From the wearable data, diagnoses can be obtained," says Paul Burggraf, co-founder of Thryve Health Movement, which evaluates even health data. A good example of this is the diagnosis of depression, which accounts for 15 percent of all sick days. In a study in the US, scientists found that digital biomarkers from smartphones or wearables could measure this condition, as could clinical questionnaires. For eight weeks, they studied student mobility behavior and compared it with standardized survey results. Simply put, one who rarely leaves home is probably more depressed than someone who is constantly on the move. The researchers said with a precision of 69.1 percent, whether a student is depressed or not.
First the hype, then the weak phase – it's time for a hard boom
Technical devices have become an important companion in many fields of medicine. Your information helps us lead a better life.
Digital biomarkers are also useful for evaluating other diseases, including cancer, and for measuring treatment outcomes. However, this research is just beginning. “There is potential for measuring endpoint biomarkers,” said Paul Burggraf. "But we have to check the devices." Then the disease process can be described much more accurately than conventional methods. Lastly is a holistic health profile that was created from a wealth of data.
What else does Gründerszene say about Digital Health?
- Running the Sunshine Smile Railway has a new name (Plusdental) and a new concept. Startups are now sending their customers a dental impression to doctors. In the past, customers used to do it themselves. We spoke with founder Peter Baumgart about what this joint is all about. Here is the interview.
- For the first time, pharmacists are investing in health startups. Doctorbox wants to digitize healthcare. INvest has a lot to do with the electronic prescription that patients can use next year. Click here for a message
What else was interesting?
- CB Insights Strategic Consultation looked at 150 of the world's most promising startups. Patents, market potential, investments and other factors played a role here. You have to look for German companies for a long time. But there are beacons: Kaia Health's fitness app (which is run as a US company there), Chatbot Ada Health and the intestinal app Cara Care.
These are future bets on German health patients
It is often difficult to identify trends in the digital healthcare industry. So we asked key investors what development they see.