Germany’s Digital Health Reforms in the COVID-19 Era: Lessons and Opportunities for Other Countries
npj Digit. Med. 3, 94 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41746-020-0306-7
Posted: 9 Jul 2021
Date Written: July 10, 2020
Reimbursement is a key challenge for many new digital health solutions, whose importance and value have been highlighted and expanded by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Germany’s new Digital Healthcare Act (Digitale–Versorgung–Gesetz or DVG) entitles all individuals covered by statutory health insurance to reimbursement for certain digital health applications (i.e., insurers will pay for their use). Since Germany, like the United States (US), is a multi-payer health care system, the new Act provides a particularly interesting case study for US policymakers. We first provide an overview of the new German DVG and outline the landscape for reimbursement of digital health solutions in the US, including recent changes to policies governing telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic. We then discuss challenges and unanswered questions raised by the DVG, ranging from the limited scope of the Act to privacy issues. Lastly, we highlight early lessons and opportunities for other countries.
Keywords: Digital Health, Germany, Apps, Digital Healthcare Act
JEL Classification: I1, K
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation