On July 29th, 2020, it’s a historic moment for digital health in France, as Moovcare becomes the first medical application, a class 1 medical device, to officially achieve reimbursement status. I had the great honor of meeting the creator of this application, Dr Fabrice Denis, oncologist, in 2014, when he was getting ready to present his first results at ASCO. We had been introduced by the French Federation of Private Hospitals who recommended I invite him to speak at Doctors 2.0 & You, and Dr Denis had graciously accepted to do so.
« Moovcare® improves survival by monitoring patient symptoms on a weekly basis and alerting medical teams to the first signs of an anomaly – allowing for early intervention when the likelihood of successful treatment is highest. »
Nine Years of Work for the Inventor and the Development of the App
- Dr Denis’s work on the future application had begun in 2011 (!) with the idea that regularly collecting patient-generated data regarding symptoms could enable earlier intervention by the health system. At the time, he asked his patients to fill in paper questionnaires. Little did he know that it would take a total of nine years of research and development, submissions and meetings, for reimbursement to intervene officially.
- In 2012, he began to work on developing an algorithm that could understand the patient’s patterns and help predict relapse.
- In 2013, Dr Denis launched a first uncontrolled study of the future application.
- In 2014, he reached Phase III with a randomized trial. In 2016, the trial was stopped, when an intermediary analysis showed an average benefit of 7 months of survival, 19 months with the application versus 12 months without.
- On June 6, 2016, those results were presented at ASCO in Chicago. It was also noted that the application reduces phone calls for the physicians and leads to half as many lung scans!
- In 2017, Moovcare was deemed a class 1 medical device in Europe. Simultaneously an American study on 766 patients confirmed 5 months survival rate and a device application was also presented in the US.
- In 2018, Dr Denis published his final results.
- In April 2019, Moovcare received reimbursement approval.
- But it was not until July 29, 2020, that this became official. (See also my history of the app here in French).
About the reimbursement
The reimbursement is 500 Euros including tax, per trimester. Only the specialist (oncologist, pulmonologist, surgeon) can determine that the patient is eligible and prescribe the application. He/she must inform the gatekeeper physician of the prescription, which is for six months but can be renewed. The patient must consent to the treatment of the data, have an internet connection and email, and use a specific login. Further details are available in French at TicPharma.
This is an historic moment, not only because the application is reimbursed, but also because it is an official recognition of the value of patient-generated data in prolonging survival, and, last but not least, we also see how an app can reduce scans and physician time required.
Again, congratulations to the inventor and the team. Now, the work is in the hands of the patients and physicians, in the real world. Good luck to all.