Germany established laws to quickly introduce digital innovations in healthcare by forcing statutory insurances to reimburse companies producing digital applications. This could enhance the well-being of patients. For example, an application in psychotherapy can cut the waiting time for a psychotherapist in Germany. However, such enhancements will reach the patients only if companies offering digital applications have a viable business model to survive. Our analysis of the business model of a company offering a recognized digital application shows that such business models are not easy to develop. The analysis is transferrable to other countries, if they establish similar laws.

First, we describe the legal framework for digital healthcare applications set up in Germany. We also describe the conditions that must be met for such an application to be recognized by the relevant body so that statutory insurances must pay for it. This is followed by a discussion of the reimbursement amount. Then, we develop the business model of a producer of a specific digital healthcare application. Although the possibility of reimbursement for accepted applications constitutes a competitive advantage, underestimating costs from the approval process and marketing may be dangerous. The same is true for relying on revenues from reimbursement.