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Series Start-ups: With the app on prescription against heart failure

Heart failure is one of the leading causes of death. A remedy could come from the Franconian Medical Valley. In our series on start-ups in medical technology, we present ProCarement GmbH, which supports doctors in their treatment with the DiGA "ProHerz".

"A person suffering from heart failure only notices late when his health deteriorates. Then he has to get a referral from the family doctor and make an appointment with a cardiologist. It can take months for the patient to go through this process. It's bad if he becomes an emergency in the meantime," says company founder and CEO Sebastian Eckl, describing the starting point of all the considerations. The idea that was born from this: We come virtually to the heart patient's home.

Four years ago, the physician, who gained professional experience at the Erlangen University Hospital, the Nuremberg Hospital and the medical technology group Siemens Healthineers, founded ProCarement GmbH together with the family doctor Tony Fuß. In addition to public and private sponsors, the regional healthcare cluster "Medical Valley" and Nuremberg Hospital helped to establish the company - an ecosystem in which the young company still feels at home today.

Sebastian Eckl pitches Sebastian Eckl pitches at Vivatech.

Patient as manager of their own health

The "heart" of its activities is the ProHerz app, which was developed entirely in-house, by the IT specialists at ProCarement. It is a central part of a patient's daily routine and helps them become managers of their own health. They measure blood pressure, oxygen saturation, pulse, body weight and temperature. These values are recorded manually or via Bluetooth in the smartphone or tablet and analysed automatically. Problematic changes can be recognised immediately, explained to the patient and reported back with recommendations for action. The ProHerz app thus offers its users individualised health management, health coaching and risk prophylaxis in addition to the integration of therapy into everyday life.

In cooperation with Nuremberg Hospital, the company gained initial experience in the hospital two years ago, was able to further develop its app and already help prevent medical emergencies. In May 2023, ProCarement then celebrated perhaps the most important milestone in the company's history: ProHerz was certified as the first cardiological DiGA in Germany and can now be prescribed as a statutory health insurance benefit. This should help to successfully establish ProHerz on the market.

It will be crucial to convince doctors of the benefits of the "app on prescription" - of its value in terms of health policy, but also of the fact that it is advantageous for the processes and the therapeutic success of their own practice, for example through seamlessly recorded health data. For this task, ProCarement entered into a cooperation with Sanofi at the end of 2021. The French pharmaceutical company maintains a sales team for the Franconian start-up, promotes the advantages of DiGA at medical congresses and produces marketing materials.

Studies prove positive effects

There is also support from the scientific community. A pilot study showed first clear indications of positive effects of ProHerz. A main study with 500 participants is currently underway, the results of which are expected in May 2024. An interim analysis has already confirmed positive care effects.

Currently, the start-up is only active in Germany. Is it conceivable or even planned to offer services abroad? "We are exploring the possibilities internationally, especially in the German-speaking countries," says Sebastian Eckl, leaving room for corresponding fantasies. 

Procarement GmbH

Year of foundation 2019
Head office location 91301 Forchheim
Founders Dr. Sebastian Eckl, Tony Fuß
Number of employees 30
Website address