Rethinking Insurance

How patient journeys can be digitised

February 2021

From cost reimbursers to holistic healthcare providers – something that sounds like an unattainable benchmark for many insurers could become reality with a shift towards digitised processes. The pandemic has shown us what is possible online: Digital services were extended out of necessity, customers value the offering and no longer want to go without it.

Competitive advantages through digital offers 

Insurance companies can seize the opportunity and at the same time demonstrate resilience in the face of the crisis by expanding their digital portfolio and providing a wide range of services. In doing so, chatbots or conversational UIs are by no means intended to replace highly qualified staff. Rather, it is about expanding the scope of action and improving the customer experience. Because in the end, insurance companies and policyholders benefit both.

The results of a survey conducted by the management consultancy Ernst & Young (EY) of Austria’s largest insurers show that the trend towards digitalisation has not yet reached its peak. As many as 73 % of the insurance companies stated that they are well aware of the challenge and that they will be unable to maintain their current market share in the next three to five years unless comprehensive digitisation measures are implemented.

The greatest potential for more than half of the insurance companies interviewed is seen in the area of business process automation, closely followed by digital innovations in customer-oriented domains. The survey also shows that those insurance companies that invested in IT modernisation early on are now already in a strong position to implement more innovative and customer-oriented products and will thus gain additional competitive advantage.

But in reality, most health insurances still mainly cover non-digital services as reimbursers. A study by MÜCKE ROTH & COMPANY on the range of digital services offered by private health insurers in Germany illustrates that they are far away from being holistic healthcare providers: About one-third of the service areas analysed are covered by around 50 % of the insurers. While administrative services, billing apps or online booking of appointments are already well-established areas, there is still room for improvement in categories such as screening, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring. Symptom checkers and similar applications were not even in use at the time of the survey.

Making profitable use of new opportunities

It is clear that efficient processes save costs and time and simplify the insurance business. Existing traditional offerings combined with innovative, digital services bring a considerable advantage over competitors. An effective way to stay ahead of the competition are technological partnerships. The unique insights generated by this can bring great advantages for future business ideas, open up entirely new opportunities and reach additional target groups. The EY survey shows that innovative start-ups provide a valuable niche offering and are readily sought as strategic partners.

Looking at the relationship with the insurance company from the patient’s point of view, it becomes apparent that it is usually aimed at the purpose of cost reimbursement. Expanding the digital portfolio can help to change that. Rethinking the relationship with the customer and transforming it into positive emotions increases customer satisfaction. According to the World InsurTech Report 2020, as many as 94 % of insurers consider a “superior customer experience” to be of central importance. Having a comprehensive online portfolio contributes towards viewing the insurance company as a reliable partner and strengthening the customer relationship.  On top of that, patients lead healthier lives when they have more control over processes and are empowered to  manage their own health.

Meeting the users’ lifestyles

The digital health assistant from XUND provides insurance companies a scalable way to expand their digital portfolio and turn into a holistic healthcare provider. XUND adapts to the user’s lifestyle by being accessible right on the smartphone everywhere and anytime.

A real-world example illustrates how valuable a digital health assistant can be in the everyday life of a customer: Let’s assume that shortly after getting up, a young mother discovers red spots on her child. She asks herself: What is this? Could it be infectious? Does my child have to stay at home or do we need to see a doctor? With a customer-centric app, insurance companies utilising the technology of XUND can provide help quickly and easily. With an evidence-based assessment based on scientific  publications, the young mum is supported in making an informed decision for the health of her child.

The underlying decision-making algorithms are the result of more than 2 years of research and development and based on 1.8 million medical publications at this time, all of which can be processed automatically using artificial intelligence (AI). A  team of doctors further verifies this data qualitatively using reference literature and experience from many years of practice.

The Medical Engine of XUND  is the technological foundation for the digitalisation of any given patient journey and also provides insurers with valuable insights for building their own digital ecosystem of healthcare solutions. These insights are vital for customer-oriented products and can equip health insurers in the best possible way for the upcoming challenges of the digital age.

XUND Solutions GmbH

Founded in 2018, the Vienna-based start-up has developed an AI-powered health assistant to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare.

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