With the amount of money being poured into the digital health sector increasing rapidly, it’s unsurprising that digitisation is rapidly appearing in all aspects of healthcare. With US$3.5bn invested in the first six months of 2017 alone, everyone is clearly to terms with the need and importance of innovation across the industry.
As more and more digital platforms are created to serve the health sector, streamlining of processes is becoming the norm. Medicine is an old industry that has historically found it difficult to stay innovative when it comes to day-to-day running, but these high levels of investment are looking to change this. Insurance, of course, is an industry built on data and these new developments are here to help.
Big data is undoubtedly one of the most exciting areas of investment and research out there at the moment, collating billions of data points to better model risk factors related to patient genetics or lifestyle, or procedures. These advancements have the opportunity to provide insurers with more accurate predictions of risk than ever before, and even the chance to find new niches.
If processed correctly, this data could even model how likely patients are to be readmitted to the hospital after a specific procedure or treatment. Recovery time, mortality risk and procedure complications can all be projected more accurately than ever before.
Big data is allowing us to stratify everyone into an almost unlimited number of categories across many actionable factors which were once out of reach. The better we understand our customers, the better we can shape our services to suit their needs and provide the best schemes possible for everybody. It is for this reason, that big data could completely change how we think of insurance across the international health sector.
It’s important to note that the giant influx of investment to the digital health sector has not only been to the more ‘traditional’ and already well-established insurers. A significant portion of the recent investment has gone to insurance-focused startups, with some investment even coming from the venture capital wings of other insurers, such as AXA and MassMutual.
These new insurance startups are aiming to stake their claim on the industry by ensuring that technology is at the heart of their offerings from the very beginning. By looking at their business models differently to traditional insurers, they hope that they can better control costs through detailed utilisation of data processing and analysis techniques. Ultimately, better control of costs should change the customer experience for the better, with lower prices and more support where needed.
Of course, this is all yet to be proven, and it will be interesting to see if these new model insurers can set themselves apart from their more established counterparts. At the moment it is unclear whether costs can be offset in the way these companies hope and what kinds of discounts will ultimately be passed down to customers. Remember that although these startups are bringing technology into their offering from the start, all of the other big players are making their own giant investments into the digital sector.
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