First DiGA registrations: Is this the future of medicine?

The race is open, DiGA can be set in motion. More precisely, it is possible to go through the formal application process in order to obtain funding from the health system. Or, in very neat terms: providers of digital health applications (DiGA) can submit an application to the Federal Office for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) for inclusion in the DiGA directory. The first 15 DiGA have been submitted, the overview can be found here (German) and is updated continuously.

At a time when the professionalism of statistical evaluation of studies is discussed and discredited in tabloid headlines, a disclaimer in advance: Of course, the first 15 submissions do not allow a comprehensive and differentiated picture of digital medicine to be drawn. But a first impression is allowed.

What do we see in this DiGA series? Applications on the subject of nutrition, digestion, diabetes. Apps on mental health and stress. Migraine apps, sleep training and mobility analysis. One deals with data communication between doctor and patient. And then there is ADA. Obviously, this technology is the closest thing to the future of medicine in Germany in 2020. This is good news; in the sense of: After all. However, anyone who expected the establishment of DiGA to give a boost to the future of digital medicine does not need a new app, but simply more patience.

What is the categorical difference here? If you have sleeping or intestinal problems, you are sure to find help with the right app. That’s good. The future of digital medicine – and what is meant here is: the true potential of data – will only become visible where the diagnosis has not yet been made. Data takes anamnesis processes to a completely new level. This is where the power of digital medicine lies, in the networking, linking, processing and interpretation of large quantities of the most varied data. ADA can do this. And Scitim certainly contributes to this. End of this list.

It may be that the very applications that were already fully developed and now only want to tap into an additional stream of revenue are in the front row here. It may also be that these very concrete applications are simply faster and easier to develop. Thirdly, they are undoubtedly capable of generating benefits. But when we ask about the future of medicine, we are still waiting for something that is as much – or even more? – The future is as ADA.