Germany launches 1st prescribed app – Reimbursed by Insurance
“Docs write Rx for App to treat visually impaired children. Treatment and app get reimbursed by statutory health insurance.” This digital health vision is becoming true in Germany these days. Originally developed by University of Dresden, the purely Internet-based Caterna Vision Therapy (www.caterna.de) will be reimbursed by BARMER GEK, a nationwide statutory health insurance with 8.65m Germans insured, in partnership with Ocunet, a nationwide association of eye care centers and practices (www.ocunet.de). Starting 1. April 2014, eye specialists can prescribe a Caterna Vision Therapy.
Amblyopia is a functional disorder that usually results from strabismus (squinting). It leads to severe visual impairment of the affected eye. This is caused by a processing dysfunction in the brain, because of which the lazy eye has “forgotten” how to see. Eye-training exercises can have a positive effect on such manifestations. Amblyopia is a frequently occurring disease, affecting approximately 5% of the European population. In Germany alone, tens of thousands of children reach the treatable age every year.
Occlusion therapy is the standard model for treatment of amblyopia. Vision Therapy is especially suitable for children. The treatment and eye exercises have been adapted to the needs of children so that they find it fun and are motivated to continue with vision therapy. Caterna Vision Therapy is an on-screen application specifically designed as an adjunct to occlusion treatment of amblyopia. During regular training sessions, the weak eye is stimulated by therapeutic light stimuli that are displayed on a computer screen. These stimuli can be individually adapted for each patient. To ensure that the child enjoys their therapy and remains concentrated during training, Caterna has combined the therapeutic stimulus with exciting games. The child plays and trains his/her vision at the same time.
Caterna Vision Therapy is performed under medical guidance and can only be prescribed by an ophthalmologist. After diagnosis and consultation, the ophthalmologist will determine the type duration of the child’s vision exercises. Once treatment has been initiated, Caterna Vision Therapy is continued at home. The therapy is easy to use and can be integrated into the daily routine of the child’s family life. For the first time, the ophthalmologist can track progress of the treatment online because each exercise session is recorded automatically. Moreover, the occlusion time recording function enables parents to monitor their child´s progress. It can be accessed via smartphone, tablet or regular PC.
The Caterna Vision Therapy program is a certified therapeutic medical product and carries a CE mark as affirmation of conformity with the requirements set out in Annex 1 of the European Medical Device Directive 93/42/EWG. As the manufacturer, Caterna has thus committed itself to compliance with the established quality standards for medical devices.
BARMER GEK: Athanasios Drougias, email@example.com, telephone 0049 202 5681 991 421
OcuNet: Dr. Ursula Hahn, firstname.lastname@example.org , 0049-211-1793266
Caterna: Dr. med. Markus Müschenich, email@example.com , 0049-151-1516422
Caterna Vision GmbH (www.caterna.de) develops digital therapies for the treatment of eye diseases. The first product is Caterna Vision Therapy, an on-screen application that is to be used as an adjunct to occlusion treatment of amblyopia. Caterna Vision Therapy is Europe’s first Internet-based therapy to be reimbursed by statutory health insurance. The company is supported by Berlin-based company builder FLYING HEALTH (www.flyinghealth.com).