The health and insurance industries have been seeing new emerging patterns in how patients experience healthcare. Industry players are realising that patient care is no longer at just the hospital or public service levels but being extended to homes as well. There has been a rise in new initiatives to keep people healthy outside of hospitals, like health apps to help people cope better in-between patient visits, for example. We are also seeing a lot more collaboration between private and public sectors compared to 10-15 years ago.
To get insights on how insurers and healthcare corporations can innovate and collaborate together, we spoke to Paula Amunategui, Regional Leader Digital Innovation at Roche Diagnostics Asia Pacific; Dr Sidharth Kachroo, Medical Director and Head, Medical Portfolio at Prudential Singapore; and Lawrence Wee, Head of Data Science and AI at Ministry of Health Singapore, at our Insurtech/Healthtech Cross-Industry Collaboration event. The discussion, moderated by Bharath Haridas, former Innovation Manager at Plug and Play APAC, covered their perspectives on the topics of new patterns emerging in the industry, and how the industry changes and adapts.
Here are some key takeaways:
#1: Policyholders are encouraged to focus on preventative healthcare.
Singapore has one of the highest longevity rates, with an average lifespan of 85 years. In a survey commissioned by Prudential Singapore and conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit in 2019, the key feedback received on healthcare needs from residents and healthcare professionals here was that healthcare is getting very expensive with prices set to rise in the future. Once people cross the age of 65, they are likely to have multiple comorbidities. So even if one is able to live to 100 or 90, who is going to pay for their healthcare expenses?
Prudential Singapore launched a digital health and wellness app, Pulse by Prudential, to provide all Singapore residents with round-the-clock access to healthcare services and real-time health information. With Pulse, users can check their symptoms; conduct a digital health assessment to better understand future disease risks; and seek timely health advice, at any time and from anywhere. Both the digital health assessment and symptom checker are powered by AI. Pulse can get people to be more proactive about preventative healthcare by making them aware of their potential disease risks and lifestyle gaps.
#2: Telehealth will be the new normal.
With telemedicine’s current trajectory and rapid surge in adoption rate due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is and will be one of the key components to providing the connection between patients and their clinic. Once regarded as a niche in medical care, telemedicine will move to become something broader. However, the questions still hold: how to make testing more accessible at home, the digital biomarkers, and how to incorporate technology that is non-invasive and potentially virtual to leverage and provide that complete picture.
#3: Be very specific with use cases.
With tension to bring quality up and cost down, there has to be a platform play to stratify patient groups into specific categories. One example is to separate high and low-risk patients, if there is a way to analyze data on the population level. However, before scaling, companies should narrow down on the use case to be very specific about what they want to target. In regard to high-cost use cases, the first step would be to build a platform around it and get multiple ecosystem partners to make integrations and innovation within the space.
#4: Start being people-centric.
Industry players are trying to visualize a seamless experience of the future and the challenges they’re working on. They can start by looking at the patient more holistically – not only the biological component as health is made up of many factors, but the things that truly affect healthcare. Taking small steps to manage services in a more integrated manner will be an interesting challenge moving forward.
#5: Focus on building a healthcare ecosystem.
Healthcare models in this part of Asia face challenges as there is not enough data to understand the risk if they were to do something innovative. Even if data is available, exchange of data is not happening between different entities due to various reasons and markets, including business-related issues, so this remains a problem. From an insurance perspective, at the end of the day it’s about delivering a seamless customer journey so ecosystems will play a vital role.
#6: More public and private sector collaborations are key.
Public and private partnerships can shift regulatory markets and experiment with emerging areas through medical devices. We should be seeing more sandbox environments and related processes around it. The government is also keen to push for collaborations especially when it comes to innovation around data. There are already initiatives in place to enable the sharing of data through data sharing platforms with a common data governance layer.
Ecosystems will play a wider role, but we believe that in the foreseeable future, there will be a templated version of healthcare offerings in the region.
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: JOEY JIAHUI ONG
Joey Ong is our Progam Manager (Fintech & Insurtech Singapore) at Plug and Play APAC.
Passionate about communities, startups, innovation, marketing, and women empowerment. She oversees the Fintech and Insurtech accelerator programs at Plug and Play APAC as Program and Community Manager, leading program operations, driving community growth, and creating engaging content for our ecosystem.