OptiMedis AG wants to make it easier for promising innovations in healthcare to be translated into routine care provision. It has established a Digital & Health Innovation Centre that evaluates innovations like health apps, online interventions or health programmes and tests them in real-world scenarios. The aim is to complement the classic evaluation processes in the healthcare sector by focusing on practical application, generating business cases and modelling its impact - thus making it easier for health insurance companies, management companies, networks of physicians or hospitals to make selections in the complex innovations market.
"Even innovations with high potential have often poor chances of being translated into standard care. This is because for an individual physician or hospital the benefit of an innovation may be uncertain, there may be no incentives for system change or it may be unclear what conditions are required for implementation", explains Dr Oliver Gröne, vice chairman of the management board of OptiMedis AG and responsible for the Innovation Centre at OptiMedis. "We evaluate the innovations, in particular, regarding their benefits, acceptance, and feasibility in a real-world care scenario – often focusing on distinct local health geographies. Thus, we can generate real-world evidence in comparison with other evaluation processes."
Multi-stage Evaluation Process
The evaluation process in the Innovation Centre has multiple stages: innovations are first compared and evaluated based on existing evidence and in relation to viability. In the second phase, the application, provided it is suitable, undergoes practical field tests for acceptance and benefits among selected users. If the results are promising, the third stage sees it being evaluated based on real care data and deployed in the cooperating networks of OptiMedis AG in Germany and abroad . In this phase, business models can also be developed and incentive structures changed in a way that appreciate the overall benefit of an innovation for the system – and thus for patients, doctors, and health insurance providers.
An example from real life: a management company wants to provide a video interpreter solution for the insured persons in a region with high linguistic barriers. It wants to know which one of the many solutions offers the best quality and will also be well received by patients and doctors. The Innovation Centre first compares several solutions and evaluates the quality. The application that is most promising for the specific region is then deployed in a pilot phase, as is currently the case in the Billstedt and Horn neighbourhoods of Hamburg. If the test phase is successful, the system effects of the solution will be modelled and the solution can be implemented – if necessary, in a customized form and with the right incentives for use – in other regions.
Apart from setting up regional integrated care and analysing care and health data, the Digital & Health Innovation Centre is a new business unit of OptiMedis AG.