Prescription health apps are especially popular with women

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According to a study by Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), prescription health apps are used especially often by women. © Fabian Sommer / dpa

Whether it’s back pain, tinnitus or migraines – it’s not just medications that promise help. Many patients also try a health app. Women in particular are open to such offers, as an evaluation by Techniker Krankenkasse showed.

Berlin – According to a study by Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), the health apps now available on prescription are particularly popular among women. They accounted for two-thirds (66.5 percent) of the prescriptions, which the health insurance company announced after evaluating the prescriptions for its own insured from October 2020 to the end of December 2021.

In total, the health insurance company issued 19,025 activation codes during this period. Supports for back pain, tinnitus and migraines were most often prescribed.

Age does not matter in the recipes, but it depends on the diseases, explained the treasurer Jens Baas. “Younger people are prescribed the apps less often because fewer of them suffer from the diseases that the apps treat.” On average, users were 45.5 years old.

As an additional offer that you can get on prescription, certain health apps have been on the market since the autumn of 2020. As regulated by law, there is a quick approval for them from the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices. If an app has been included in an official directory, doctors can print it. The statutory health insurance companies will temporarily cover the costs for one year – during this time, manufacturers must prove that their app improves patient care.

TK chief Baas criticized: “It is absurd that prices can be set and even raised in the first year.” According to the evaluation, they were on average 329 euros in October 2020 and currently 456 euros in March. At the moment, apps sometimes cost more than analog medical treatments, the health insurance company explained.

The Central Association for Statutory Health Insurance (GKV) had also complained about the high and non-transparent costs for the apps on prescription. In order to meet expectations in the long run, the difference between comparatively low entry requirements, lack of cost-effectiveness and “hardly any meaningful function” must be further developed constructively. dpa

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