Digital care applications (DiPA) can provide support to people in need of care and their loved ones on a daily basis. Before the end of 2022, it is expected that people in need of care will be able to apply to their long-term care insurance providers to reimburse the costs of these digital care applications. Read on to find out how DiPA can be used to support care.
At a glance
- Digital care applications, known as DiPA, are apps or browser-based web applications that can provide support to people in need of care and their loved ones on a daily basis.
- Before the end of 2022, it is expected that long-term care insurance providers will begin reimbursing users for the costs of digital care applications and any supplementary support services needed to use them.
- Long-term care insurance only covers the costs of digital care applications that are listed in the DiPA directory.
- All care applications listed in the DiPA directory have been approved in terms of quality, safety and functionality.
- The maximum amount covered for DiPA and supplementary support services is 50 euros per month.
What are digital care applications (DiPA)?
Digital care applications, known as DiPA (short for “digitale Pflegeanwendungen” in German), are intended to provide support to care recipients who are cared for at home. DiPA are designed to help alleviate the care recipient’s loss of independence or capabilities or to prevent their need for care from progressing further.
Digital care applications are available as:
- apps for use on a smartphone
- web applications that can be used via a browser on a computer or laptop/notebook
Before the end of 2022, it is expected that digital care applications will be treated as a separate care benefit for home care. Care recipients with care level 1 to 5 will then be able to apply to their statutory long-term care insurance fund or private long-term care insurance provider for reimbursement of the costs of these DiPA.
All care recipients are entitled to a maximum amount of 50 euros per month for:
- use of digital care applications
- supplementary support services if these are required
A wide range of care apps and web applications is available on the internet and in app stores. However, not all of these can be recommended without reservation.
To qualify for insurance cover, all digital care applications must be approved in advance by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) and listed in the DiPA directory.
Including DiPA in the benefits covered by long-term health insurance enables people in need of care to use high-quality, safe digital products. The approval process means that these people can rely on the quality and safety of the DiPA they use.
What are the possible areas of use for digital care applications (DiPA)?
Digital care applications (DiPA) can be used by care recipients alone or by care recipients together with their family carers, voluntary carers or approved care services.
Digital care applications (DiPA) are intended to be used in the following areas:
- DiPA that provide guidance and support on a daily basis to improve the independence or capabilities of the care recipient and seek to prevent their need for care from progressing further – including, in particular, guidance and support in areas of life that are assessed as part of the care assessment, as well as in the area of household management
- DiPA that help care recipients to organize and manage their own care on a daily basis
- DiPA that provide support in special care situations, for example, by helping care recipients improve their own state of health – for example, apps with exercises to help reduce the risk of falls or memory training exercises for people with dementia
- DiPA that can be used mainly by family carers or voluntary carers for the benefit of the care recipient
Applications that are limited to the following objectives only are not regarded as DiPA:
- support in relation to the basic necessities of life or general lifestyle
- organization of work at non-residential care facilities
- transfer of knowledge, information or communication
- applying for or managing benefits
- information about the availability and use of social security benefits
How do I apply for a DiPA through my long-term care insurance provider?
Long-term care insurance providers only cover the costs of digital care applications (DiPA) that have been included in the DiPA directory.
The directory also specifies whether and which supplementary support services can be covered for individual care applications.
Care recipients need to submit an application to the long-term care insurance provider for the relevant app or web app as well as the supplementary support service and have their application approved.
If, for example, some features of a DiPA are used that are not listed in the DiPA directory or if the cost of the DiPA and the supplementary support service exceeds the monthly budget of 50 euros, the additional costs must be covered by the care recipient themselves.
Are DiPA safe and suitable for use in care?
If a digital care application is listed in the DiPA directory, this serves as a seal of approval indicating that this product is high-quality, safe and functionally suitable for use in care. Every application in the DiPA directory will have been approved in advance by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM).
BfArM will assess the quality of a digital application based on the following criteria:
- age-appropriate usability
- consumer and data protection
- quality of the care-related content
- support for care recipients, loved ones and non-residential care facilities to assist these users in using the digital care application
Digital care applications must also have verifiable benefits for care.
Where can I find an overview of digital care applications?
Anyone interested in digital care applications will soon be able to find a list of all approved DiPA online in the DiPA directory of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM).
- Bundesamt für Justiz. § 40a Digitale Pflegeanwendungen. Aufgerufen am 17.05.2022.
- Deutscher Bundestag. Gesetz zur digitalen Modernisierung von Versorgung und Pflege (Digitale-Versorgung-und-Pflege-Modernisierungs-Gesetz – DVPMG). Aufgerufen am 08.06.2021.
- Deutscher Bundestag. Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur digitalen Modernisierung von Versorgung und Pflege (Digitale-Versorgung-und-Pflege-Modernisierungs-Gesetz – DVPMG). Aufgerufen am 08.06.2021.
- Verbraucherzentrale. Pflegende Angehörige: Unterstützung durch digitale Angebote. Aufgerufen am 08.06.2021.