Reimbursement & financial mechanisms in digital health. What do the probable futures look like?
Karolina Mackiewicz, ECHAlliance
Kimmo Solehmainen, Kuopio Health co-op.
Lack of transparency and unclear reimbursement model for the innovative treatments or digital health therapies, lack of funding for early stage startups, policies, regulations… All this was recognised as some of the barriers in the area of reimbursement and financial mechanisms by the participants of the futures workshops organised by the ECHAlliance in early December 2022. And yes, it is “futures”, in plural, not one future. The basic idea of the futures workshops is to boost participatory problem solving and explore the different scenarios, different options for the probable and plausible developments and understand which of them would be the preferred one. It is obvious that we all want to have “a good future” but do we know what this “good future” should look like?
Back to this particular futures workshop, which was organised to crowdsource the visions for the futures around financial mechanisms and digital health in 2030. According to WHO: “Health financing is a core function of health systems that can enable progress towards universal health coverage by improving effective service coverage and financial protection. Today, millions of people do not access services due to the cost. Many others receive poor quality of services even when they pay out-of-pocket.” Indeed, even after a quick online review of various scientific and semi-scientific articles dedicated to the topic, one can conclude that the health financing mechanisms do not operate optimally, and more often than not the allocation and use of resources are neither evidence-based nor results-driven. In addition to the lack of transparency and fragmentation of the reimbursement models, the resource wasting does not support efficiency and has an effect on equity and quality of care. Those are all the problems that “traditional” healthcare has been facing for years. Digital health has not often been even considered as part of the equation!
The participants of the workshop created an intense discussion around the ideas and scenarios for 2030, including reimbursement models, impact based investing, the share of the roles between the public and private sectors, and support for early-stage startups. The outcomes of the discussions will be used to develop the more complete version of the digital health futures in European agenda for 2030 that will include the opportunities for the sector and delivered to the European Commission by the CONNECTINGHEALTH preparatory action by mid-2023.
The next workshops will take place online in January 2023. Join to experience the to influence the future and register now for:
- Digital Health Skills & Workforce on 13 January
- Virtual Clinical Trials on 18 January
- Digital Health Data on 19 January