Research cooperation between Spring and LMU Munich: World's first study on erectile dysfunction based on telemedical data

Under the title "Epidemiology and treatment barriers of patients with erectile dysfunction using an online prescription platform: a cross-sectional study" (2020), Spring is publishing the world's first scientific study on erectile dysfunction based on telemedical data in a research collaboration with the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. The study is published by the renowned journal “Sexual Medicine”.

"This study goes far beyond the epidemiological characterization of Spring's erectile dysfunction patient cohort. Based on the scientific analysis of medical data from around 11,000 patients, it shows how online platforms can catapult healthcare research to a higher level. In the future, we will conduct further studies with much higher patient numbers to gain a detailed understanding of the effectiveness and safety of treatments used by our physicians for different risk groups. We are also working to identify patients who should make an appointment with a local doctor despite initial OPP care."
Dr. Johannes von Büren, Medical Director Spring

Dr. Johannes von Büren, Medical Director Spring

The majority of patients have never been treated with sexual enhancers.
The majority of patients have never been treated with sexual enhancers.

Structure of the study

  • Survey of 11,000 patients from the Spring database
  • Consideration of demographic factors, spatial distribution and time windows of use
  • Research period is May 2019 to November 2019
  • Prescribed preparations of the patients were primarily the phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitors Sildenafil and Tadalafil
  • Objectives of the study are to characterize patients who use telemedical services for the treatment of their erectile dysfunction and to determine the barriers to treatment that have prevented them from receiving conventional urological or family doctor treatment

Results of the study

  • 63.5% of the respondents had never been medically treated for their erectile dysfunction. 
  • 36.5 % of those questioned had previous contact with sexual enhancers.  
  • 41.4 % of the respondents who have already had contact with sexual enhancers have obtained them through unsafe channels such as the black market or friends. Access to OPPs can thus prevent procurement crime. 
  • 48.1% of the respondents cited convenience as their main barriers to treatment. 
  • 36.1% say that they have never been to a urologist or family doctor before out of shame and discretion.

Purchase Channels for sexual enhancers.
Purchase Channels for sexual enhancers.

Interpretation of the study

The results of the study reveal a clear need for telemedical services. Patients with erectile dysfunction especially benefit from telemedical therapy by overcoming emotional treatment barriers. The study confirms that discomfort, shame, and lack of discretion are barriers to action for stigmatized subjects such as sexual dysfunction. Telemedical services lower these treatment barriers and allow affected persons easier access to medical care. 

"The study shows that approximately ⅔ of the patients who have used Spring to treat their erectile dysfunction so far have received effective therapy for their condition for the first time. Online platforms are particularly useful for embarassing conditions, as they provide people with safe and legal access to therapies that they might not otherwise have received or sought".
Dr. Johannes von Büren, Medical Director Spring

Dr. Johannes von Büren, Medical Director Spring

Top reasons why Spring users prefer the telemedical solution.
Top reasons why Spring users prefer the telemedical solution.


Prof. Dr. med. Christian Wülfing

Prof. Dr. med. Christian Wülfing is the head physician of urology at the Asklepios Klinik Altona in Hamburg. As a member of national and international professional associations, he is actively involved in the board of the German Society of Urology. He is a leading specialist in the field of disorders of the male reproductive organs, holds an APL professorship at the University of Münster, and is a member of the Spring Medical Board.

Dr. med. Severin Rodler

Dr. med. Severin Rodler is an assistant doctor for urology at the University Hospital of Munich Großhadern. His specialty is urological surgery. Severin would like to develop prospective studies with Spring in the field of telemedicine in the future. 


Dr. med. Johannes von Büren

Dr. med. Johannes von Büren has worked clinically in neurology and is Medical Director at Spring. He previously worked for the Boston Consulting Group and is now dedicated to telemedical care and the publication of scientific studies. 

Dr. med. Sven Jungmann

Dr. med. Sven Jungmann holds a degree in Public Policy from Oxford University and is dedicated to the development of digital technologies in the healthcare sector. He is one of the leading experts in the field of digital medicine.

Spring creates a new type of research platform as an opportunity for real-world data in healthcare research

Based on its telemedical services, Spring is creating a completely new opportunity for healthcare research. Telemedicine enables systematic data collection in real-time. On this basis, various stakeholders are enabled to optimize medical care sustainably and continuously. Real-time patient care makes it possible to provide scientific support for treatment, to optimize treatments, to identify risks and side effects at an early stage, and thus to ensure greater patient safety. Pharmaceutical companies gain valuable insights into treatment outcomes and can drive and improve the development of various indications. Asynchronous telemedicine services enable scientific monitoring under real everyday conditions and thus go beyond phase 3 of clinical studies.  

"With 40,000 treatments already underway, it is our goal, together with Spring's Medical Advisory Board, to become the leading research platform for Real-World Data in Europe - for the benefit of the individual patient but also for German healthcare research."
Dr. Johannes von Büren, Medical Director Spring

Dr. Johannes von Büren, Medical Director Spring

The study has been published in the journal “Sexual Medicine” and is available for download.

von Büren, M., Rodler, S., Wiesenhütter, I., Schröder, F., Buchner, A., Stief, C., ... & von Büren, J. (2022). Digital real-world data suggest patient preference for tadalafil over sildenafil in patients with erectile dysfunction. European Urology Focus, 8(3), 794-802.