Series Start-ups: With the app on prescription against heart failure
Almost four million people in Germany suffer from heart failure. It is one of the leading causes of death, partly because people do not take typical symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue seriously enough. Remedy could come from the Franconian Medical Valley. In the first part of our new series on start-ups in the medical technology sector, we introduce ProCarement GmbH from Forchheim, which wants to support doctors in the treatment of heart failure with the digital health application (DiGA) "ProHerz".
How to improve healthcare for patients with heart disease
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.
Patient as manager of their own healthThe "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.
|Year of foundation||2019|
|Head office location||91301 Forchheim|
|Founders||Dr. Sebastian Eckl, Tony Fuß|
|Number of employees||30|