The Health Insurance ecosystem is changing. Until a few years ago, insurers were mainly driven by risk; today, a customer-centric vision is at the heart of all their strategic decisions. The objective is to understand and address customers’ needs, so as to increase their loyalty. To do so, it is critical that customers perceive their policy benefits and associate them with their provider. This allows the insurers to evolve from passive Payers to more proactive Partners. Along this journey, digital represents a fantastic opportunity, enabling new and innovative services. Here is how digital solutions can improve the services you offer your customers.
What are customers’ needs in terms of Health?
As famously highlighted by Maslow in his Hierarchy of Needs, human beings share primary, basic needs. This is reflected in your customers’ requirements.
When they are sick, they want to receive the optimal quality of treatment for the lowest possible amount of out-of-pocket expenses. Reassurance is also a key consideration for them.
In addition to treatment, customers are also interested in disease prevention and on how to keep healthy in the long run.
The role of Big Data for Health management and prevention
The development of Electronic Health Records, as well as mobile applications and connected objects, has led to the exponential growth of Big Data in healthcare. Big Data takes different forms:
- quantitative data, such as laboratory results or mobile apps health indicators
- qualitative data, like text documents;
- and transactional data, including the tracking of medication deliveries.
The challenge with big Data is that it leads to an increased pressure for data privacy on one hand, and that it is not easy to exploit on the other, because the data is neither well-structured nor homogeneous.
However, it is now possible for Insurers to engage subcontractors who handle both data collection and data analysis. The provided data is converted into information that leads to action, ultimately resulting in a better service to customers.
Digital services for Health management and prevention
Thanks to Big Data and digitalisation, insurers can offer many innovative services to their customers.
In Health management, services are centred around guidance and care:
- Online health chat through instant messaging chatbots
- Network orientation, locating good treatment at the lowest cost for the customer
- Symptoms checkers and record logging through mobile applications
- Online consultation and prescriptions with a physician under contract with the insurer
In prevention, insurers are now able to offer advice to customers who want to remain in good health:
- Advice on health and wellbeing through online information
- Auto-evaluation of health status through e-assessment tools
- Wellness and coaching programs through mobile applications and connected objects
In practical terms, this means insurers can launch digital and mobile health and wellbeing solutions for patients, enabling the computation of a Health Score and leading to customised incentive programs. When the patients’ behaviour is conducive to their good health, for example, they can be rewarded with complimentary access to sport centres.
This kind of service can be a key asset, providing competitive advantage through differentiation and strengthening patient loyalty towards their Health Insurance provider. And the ROI for employers is compelling. A 2016 Harvard Business Review article estimated that chronically ill employees typically account for over 50% of a company’s claims expense: wellness programs are proving the most successful route to driving down premiums. In a 2,000-employee company, for example, avoiding 25 unnecessary emergency department visits and four in-patient stays can deliver savings of $50,000 and $100,000 respectively.
That is why the digitisation trend is good news for all involved: providers, employers and, critically, policyholders. As a provider, don’t delay reaping its rewards – or you may turn round to see your customers walking away, looking at a competitor’s app on their screen.
To find out more about this topic, the Cegedim Insurance Solutions team is at your disposal to answer all your questions.