French authorities face issues in both regulation and reimbursement of digital health products

​While the French Government has acknowledged the benefits of digital health, French healthcare authorities are still struggling to grasp how to regulate apps and other digital health products.

This article has been published by Digital Health, who have agreed to Simmons & Simmons making it available on elexica.

Although France has not yet fully integrated digital health as standard practice, especially with regards to market access and pricing of digital related technologies, the French Government has acknowledged the promising benefits of digital health. Similarly, the French Association of Medical Devices Companies, the French Association of Pharmaceutical Companies and the main associations representing companies in the IT sector, created, a few years ago, the eHealth France Alliance, which aims at fostering eHealth initiatives. The goal of this Alliance is to generate greater commitment to new ideas and reinforce new and current eHealth initiatives.

In France, eHealth has recently been subject to a sector focused development strategy, with the support of both the industry and competent Governmental bodies. This eHealth strategy, launched in October 2016, is articulated around four major goals:

  • Developing medicine connected through a "Big Data" plan. This plan will allow, for example, the development of new remote monitoring applications or interpretation of medical data to assist healthcare professionals in their diagnosis. To this end, the ability to collect substantial amounts of health data through a variety of connected devices such as smartphones, smart watches and apps is key, as it will allow the improvement of health monitoring, prevention and research.

  • Fostering co-innovation between health professionals, citizens and economic players through the launch of calls for projects dedicated to eHealth or the development of "living labs" that allow companies to test their innovations in real life settings in order to conceive, in direct connection with users, the medicine of tomorrow (telemedicine tools, treatment tracking applications, etc).

  • Simplifying the administrative burden for patients (by facilitating admission procedures and allowing appointments to be made online) and equipping health democracy with a digital platform to facilitate consultations and the participation of users.

  • Strengthening the security of health information systems through a dedicated action plan.

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