How pure is the medicine

First selective contracts for purely digital medical products

DUSSELDORF. Precision medicine in combination with the evaluation of large amounts of molecular information opens up new treatment opportunities and will become an indispensable part of care in the long term. Of these, Dr. Friedrich von Bohlen and Halbach convinced, Managing Director of Molecular Health. "We are at the beginning of a development that will never know a return," said von Bohlen and Halbach at the TK Medica Econ Forum in Düsseldorf.

Global knowledge in molecular medicine doubles every two years. Through the targeted evaluation of the constantly updated information - keyword big data - doctors can use the knowledge for targeted therapy decisions.

Doctor chooses what he needs

Molecular Health has developed the Dataome technology system for processing biomedical information. The "Molecular Health Guide" application can compare the information with specific patient data. It is approved as a medical product. The system provides information on therapy options, ineffective therapies or drug interactions. The doctor can compile the information he needs and have a report printed out. The current focus is on cancer, but in the long term it can be used for all diseases, said von Bohlen and Halbach.

In his opinion, selective contracts are the appropriate means of bringing such applications into supply. Molecular Health signed a contract with TK and the Berlin Charité about a year ago for the use of the database in the treatment of children and adolescents with cancer who have relapsed. "We are the first to have managed to conclude a selective contract for a purely digital product," he emphasized.

Two Charité houses that are certified by the German Cancer Society as top oncological centers are involved in the three-year contract. Doctors have been trained to use the application. 20 young patients should take part each year.

Patients are involved

Doctors first discuss the therapeutic approach in a tumor board. In addition, parents are offered a second tumor board to include the information obtained through the application in the decision-making process. "Now we can interpret the data and come up with a treatment recommendation much faster than before," reported Dr. Johannes Schulte, pediatrician and oncologist from the Charité. The efficient merging of the data with the help of the software is a major step forward, especially in time-critical situations such as progressive cancer.

Of course, in the past, too, it was possible to approach the variety of data "on foot", said Schulte. However, there have only been isolated successes with a good response to molecular therapy. "To get this into routine, you need a much more efficient process and standardized processes." That is given with the software from Molecular Health. The pilot contract allows a glimpse into the future of supply, believes Klaus Rupp, head of the supply management department at TK. "IT is increasingly becoming an integral part of selective contracts."

In molecular medicine, it is important that patients or relatives are included in the decision-making process. "The patient has a right to the data, but also a right not to know," emphasized Rupp. The analysis can come to the conclusion that no therapy is possible. The parents will be informed of this in advance. "It is a high requirement for the doctors to convey this knowledge," says Rupp of the "Ärzte Zeitung". The consultation is remunerated separately through the contract. According to Rupp, TK plans to expand the project to as many centers as possible. "Otherwise we won't get any valid results." It is to be investigated whether the supply is improved by the software-based therapy proposal. TK is also holding talks with other health insurers about participation in the contract.