Michael Strübin

Michael Strübin joined MedTech Europe in September 2018 to help develop the industry’s voice in the digital health field and to represent MedTech Europe’s members vis-à-vis digital health policymakers and stakeholders.

Michael came to us from the Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHAlliance), an international association of health and technology companies, governments and research organisations to advance personal connected health, where he led European policy and advocacy activities and managed the involvement in EU-funded projects. Before PCHAlliance, he ran the European operations of the Continua Health Alliance, and contributed to other associations in the eHealth field.

Michael’s educational background is in political sciences and humanities, which he studied in Germany and the United States. He spent the first years of his career in the fields of international social development and philanthropy, working in Washington, Warsaw, Berlin and Baltimore. Since 2003 he has been based in Brussels where he lives with his family.

I’ve always believed that you get what you pay for, and digital health is no exception. Despite the promises of digital transformation to make healthcare services better, safer and more efficient, analogue healthcare services – visits to the doctor/hospital, therapies and drugs – have proved remarkably resilient. The reason seems to me quite obvious: analogue services are paid and reimbursed by European publicly-funded healthcare systems. Digital services such as mHealth apps, personal health management, remote monitoring, diagnostic algorithms etc. are often not. That is the premise of the paper “ Proposed Guiding Principles for Reimbursement of Digital Health Products and Solutions ” that the European Commission’s eHealth Stakeholder Group (eHSG) just released. The eHSG was set up in 2015 as a Commission expert group contributing to the development and implementation of eHealth policy at the EU level, and to provide input on the Commission’s eHealth-related activities. The paper was developed by a small band of stakeholders including industry, providers, healthcare professionals and pharmacists in a series of workshops and cooperative exchanges over the better part of two years, before it was reviewed and validated by the full eHSG in 2018/19. Although I personally joined the effort only after September when I became part of MedTech Europe’s team, I’m pleased to say that my colleagues and members at MedTech Europe have contributed quite substantially to this important work. The paper contains recommendations seeking to give guidance to healthcare authorities about principles and criteria to consider when making funding decisions about digital health. They call for specific criteria, funding, guidelines for evidence generation, and specific instruments for assessing digital health. I detect a growing awareness that digital health reimbursement is a major issue holding back deployment. Sebastian Gaiser, chair of the MedTech Europe Digital Health Committee, observes: “European funding and reimbursement systems...