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Ireland-UK, EIT Health Ireland-UK

Digital health on prescription – Is Ireland ready?

28th February 2023

Join EIT Health Ireland-UK on 2nd March at 3pm GMT to mark the publication of its latest report on the potential for reimbursement of digital health technologies in Ireland.

During Covid-19, 44% of patients used new devices or apps to help manage conditions remotely, according to data gathered by Accenture. With remote patient monitoring and at-home care becoming further engrained in our healthcare systems, both patients and providers are experiencing the efficiencies and cost savings associated with this emerging model of care.

To aid this trend an abundance of mobile health applications flooded onto the main app stores, approximately 350,000, according to IQVIA, with 5 million downloads recorded daily. However, amidst such a crowded market, how can patients differentiate high-quality solutions that could make a positive impact on their health from those that don’t?

Several European countries, such as Germany, have introduced legislation to ensure patients are accessing safe, certified digital solutions that support at-home treatment. Once deemed safe by Germany’s review process, CE-marked digital health apps or web-based platforms, are listed on the ‘DiGA Directory.’ These can be prescribed to patients by clinicians, and developers of those solutions are reimbursed by insurers. Examples of current approved DiGAs include mobile applications to help patients manage back pain, migraines, tinnitus, or anxiety.

Although the ‘DiGA Fast-Track’ has already encountered some challenges, such as clinician buy-in, there are a number of benefits to such a scheme. These include greater access to safe solutions for patients, potentially less pressure on hospital waiting lists, and a clearer pathway to certification and reimbursement for the developers of supportive digital health technologies.

In 2022 EIT Health Ireland-UK conducted research to assess whether a DiGA-style model could be feasible in the Irish context. Key local stakeholders provided their perspectives through panel discussions and 1:1 interviews. Founders, regulatory experts, healthcare professionals, academics, health economists, and policymakers from across the healthcare spectrum shared practical advice on the policy approaches that would be required.

Discover what findings and recommendations were made. EIT Health Ireland-UK marked the launch of the report ‘Digital health on prescription – Is Ireland ready?‘ with an online event on 2nd March 2023. You can now access the event on demand.

Health Economist Fruzsina Mezei (EIT Health France), Medical Device Regulatory Affairs expert Tom Melvin (Trinity College Dublin), and Steven Griffin from Health Innovation Hub Ireland discussed:

• Strategies for certification and reimbursement across Europe.
• The feasibility of introducing an ‘apps on prescription’ scheme in Ireland.
• Recommendations and next steps set out in EIT Health’s whitepaper regarding clear pathways towards implementation.

Watch this online event for free on-demand.

 

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