5 Emerging Technology Trends Transforming Healthcare Insurance
These technology trends are transforming healthcare insurance from the traditional, reactive, crisis response approach to a more proactive relationship as a healthcare partner.
Healthcare changes at a rapid pace. Over the past two centuries, scientific medical research has made great strides to discover new or improved ways of preventing and treating health issues to help people live longer and more fulfilling lives.
Today, we are also seeing how advances in technology are helping to improve healthcare, reduce healthcare costs, and save lives. The implications these technologies have on healthcare insurance can further enhance how every individual interacts with healthcare services to manage their health.
In this article, we explore 5 emerging technology trends that have exciting potential to transform the way consumers interact with their healthcare insurers, shifting it from the traditional, reactive, crisis response approach to a more proactive relationship as a healthcare partner.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is an exciting field that accelerates many aspects of technology and business. It is already transforming industries such as the way we work and how we communicate.
One of the ways AI is impacting our day-to-day lives is through personalisation. Consumers are always looking for personalised experiences, and artificial intelligence is enabling this in all kinds of industries — from music to transportation and more.
When it comes to personalisation in healthcare insurance, AI offers insurers the ability to create unique experiences that meet the high-speed demands of modern consumers. The key is to leverage AI to sift through massive amounts of consumer data and analyse them for insights that insurers can use to create plans personalised to an individual’s behaviour and habits.
By applying AI to analyse data gathered from integration with other cloud-based industries, insurers will be able to access a wealth of insights that can contribute to personalised experiences for their consumers. For example, insurers can mine data from social media sites and use AI to analyse their habits and behaviour in order to offer innovative and customised healthcare plans.
AI is also a driver behind predictive analysis, which can help health insurers learn more about customer habits and patterns.
One exciting application of predictive analysis is to mitigate risks and better manage underwriting. With predictive analysis, insurers can analyse medical records, clinical guidelines, and clinical alerts for risk adjustment at a much faster pace.
By cutting out the laborious tasks traditionally done manually, insurers are assured more accurate reports in less time. Overall, this improves the customised offers consumers get in a more timely manner.
AI-driven predictive analysis can also improve claims processing systems for healthcare insurers in a number of ways.
Firstly, predictive analysis can significantly reduce the turnaround time for claims by cutting out the tedious and repetitive tasks in the insurance claims processing system. Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of claim processing leads to a win-win situation for both customers and insurers.
Secondly, many healthcare insurers have applied predictive analysis in 2021 to detect fraud or flag potential fraudulent claims that might need extra scrutiny. For example, insurers can use AI to check customers’ social media accounts for discrepancies in claims and alerting insurers to wide investigations if required.
Predictive analytics can automate a bulk of the fraud detection process by using fraudster behavioural pattern-based algorithms for timely scam detection.
With all these benefits, it’s clear that when health insurance companies adopt predictive analysis, they can significantly boost efficiency, lower operating and administrative costs, and improve customer service.
Even better, insurers can share macrotrends gained from predictive analysis in health insurance with consumers to give them insights that can help them improve their health. This contributes to improving the overall health of populations to reduce the burden on healthcare systems.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a megatrend that is solving problems and improving lives in ways we never before imagined. With IoT, we can solve challenges such as energy efficiency, traffic congestion, and emergency response times by connecting innovative sensors and devices with the cloud.
For the insurance industry, IoT gives health insurers the avenue to integrate with health devices and smart wearables. This provides insurers with another avenue to collect data for AI and AI-driven predictive analysis, as well as opens up possibilities to provide customers with a seamless, connected experience to proactively manage their health.
Health devices and smart wearables like fitness trackers can help consumers improve their quality of life in many ways. It can help one maintain healthy habits, reach their health and fitness goals, or prevent serious conditions before they get diagnosed. Patients suffering from chronic ailments or disease can use these to better manage their pain.
During the years of adopting health devices and smart wearables, most people would not have considered sharing the data from their devices with their health insurance providers. It was more common to share data with their medical care providers, since there is a direct correlation between medical data and medical care.
However, as insurance businesses realised the value of integration with IoT, they created incentives for customers who share data from their devices with them. This also ties in with personalised plans, such as providing customers with discounts or rewards for reaching certain health goals or milestones.
These innovations from the health insurance industry have educated consumers on the value of sharing the data from their health devices with their health insurance providers. As a result, the awareness and sentiment of customers to do so has been rising.
Nix, a technology solution firm, stated in their report titled, “Health Insurance Industry Trends After Pandemic” that in a survey, more than 50% of respondents said they are willing to share the information from their health devices with their insurer. Over 44% also reported that using this technology has encouraged them to positively change their health and lifestyle habits considerably.
Integration with IoT has allowed health insurers to shift the relationship with the consumer from a crisis response approach to a more proactive approach to maintain health and wellbeing. Leveraging telehealth technology further enhances this proactive approach to healthcare.
Telehealth technology is the use of electronic medical technologies like tele-consultations, e-visits or home monitoring systems to provide healthcare for patients in their homes. Telehealth reduces the need for people to travel to hospitals, which can be time consuming. It also helps with patients who are bedridden or housebound.
With COVID-19 inciting lockdowns and quarantines, telehealth services have spiked. Even as the world recovers from the pandemic and in-person provider visits are increasing, there are many signs indicating telehealth is here to stay. A report by McKinsey stated that “new analysis indicates telehealth use has increased 38X from the pre-COVID-19 baseline.”
The increasing use of telehealth has also sparked many innovations within the industry. One exciting evolution in telehealth technology is the integration of augmented reality (AR), and in particular, mobile augmented reality (MAR).
AR is different to virtual reality (VR) because while VR is an experience in an entirely digital world, AR does not block out physical surroundings. Instead, AR superimposes digital reality into physical surroundings.
This technology has the potential to increase the quality of telehealth consultations because it allows doctors to examine patients in ways that phone or video calls are not able to. By utilising MAR, both patients and healthcare providers have more flexibility to engage in telehealth care from wherever they are.
It will be intriguing to observe how these emerging telehealth technology and trends can help health insurance businesses create customised plans for their consumers. We also expect telehealth technologies to reduce costs associated with health claims because of how it can reduce administrative manual paperwork for both physicians and insurers.
Blockchain data is a decentralised platform that uses a distributed-peer network where each block is protected against tampering by the previous block it's attached to. Every block contains records tagged with time and date stamps.
This technology cuts out any intermediary party and allows for complete transparency between insurers, reinsurers, customers, and partners, as well as greater security of data.
Although blockchain technology is still in its infancy for the insurance industry as a whole, several industry giants like Allianz have already started utilising blockchain in their mainstream operations.
Healthcare insurers, in particular, have adopted blockchain technology to create smart contracts that replace existing ledger technologies. A smart contract stored on a blockchain can activate programs when predetermined conditions are met without manual paperwork or third-party intermediaries that slow down the process.
The application of smart contracts in health insurance can enhance efficiency, boost consumer trust, improve claims processing, and improve fraud detection and prevention.
Stay up-to-date with health technology trends
As health technology trends become more accessible and cheaper for the mainstream, health insurance companies that do not take advantage of these technologies will miss out on the potential to position itself as a forward-thinking healthcare partner for consumers.
By jumping on these trends early, health insurance businesses will position themselves as insurers who care for the entire wellness journey of their customers. This proactive approach can increase customer trust, loyalty, and referrals to support business growth for health insurers in 2022 and beyond.
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