Our lives are busier than ever, and finding the time to take care of our health can sometimes feel impossible. But while technology may be part of the problem, it’s also part of the solution.
The healthcare industry is working hard to bring innovative technologies to clients and patients, making it easier for them to access the care they need. By empowering people to take charge of their own health, these platforms are transforming the way we think about wellness.
Let’s take a look at the latest technology in healthcare today.
How Can We Embrace New Technology in Healthcare?
Unfortunately, worries about cost and data security can make people wary of adopting helpful new technologies. By supporting these platforms, health insurers have the opportunity to lead a digital transformation in healthcare that will mean lower costs and better care for patients.
(To learn about some of the top healthcare technologies in the market today, see our blog Strengthen Your Team with These Top Health Insurance Apps.)
So let’s get started with a few of the ways health insurers are helping employers introduce technology to their teams.
3 Ways Health Insurers Are Breaking Down Healthcare Technology Barriers
1. Making Healthcare More Accessible and Affordable for Everyone
In Canada, there are a number of companies currently offering virtual primary care.
For example, Medeo Virtual Care allows patients to visit their healthcare provider online using a secure video and messaging system. Novari Health provides access to a General Practitioner through messaging, voice calls, and video conferencing.
Ginger.io offers Virtual Mental Health Services to help patients quickly access emotional support online, offering a powerful diagnostic and therapeutic tool in the battle against mental illness. The platform is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and backed by clinical data. In a year-long survey, 72% of users reported improvements in depression symptoms.
Other digital healthcare services can help with everything from nutrition advice to wellness coaching to smoking cessation. Several Canadian insurers have also started partnering with medical technology companies to include Virtual Physicians and other services in their product offerings. Other insurers now allow group members to claim expenses for virtual healthcare through their benefits plan.
There are many benefits of technology in healthcare. Especially for people who live far away or have busy schedules, these services make it more convenient and accessible to get help, breaking down the geographic and financial barriers to care. They also enable patients to get immediate attention, even on weekends and evenings.
2. Empowering People to Take Control of Their Own Health
When people aren’t insured, have limited free time, or feel like they’re not in control of their own health, they’re more likely to put off going to a doctor for help. For this reason, many health insurers are partnering with Internet of Things (IoT) companies to provide services that empower clients to take charge of their own wellness.
For example, UnitedHealthcare recently collaborated with Samsung electronics on an employee wellness program that offers every plan member a Fitbit. The wearable device tracks members’ fitness activities and sends the data to the insurer right away. By reaching their daily fitness goals, members earn money for their health spending accounts.
For an introduction to healthcare spending accounts, see How Health Care Spending Accounts Benefit Your Company.
3. Making Health-Related Data Sharing More Intuitive and Secure
Events like Healthcare.gov’s recent security breach have made data security a top priority for many companies, but there’s still work to be done. Securing patients’ online data remains one of the biggest challenges of making personalized medicine possible.
Blockchain, which gives patients ultimate control over their digital data and how it’s used, could be the solution. For example, MetLife has developed a health insurance product called Vitana that uses blockchain technology to eliminate the claims process entirely. By securely connecting to customers’ electronic records via their mobile device, Vitana triggers an automatic payout upon diagnosis. Through this innovative system, an insurance policy is issued within minutes.
Verified.me is another app that’s using blockchain technology to transform the benefits process. By allowing clients to verify their credentials instantly using a mobile phone, this identity validation service simplifies and enhances the digital experience. Sun Life Financial was the first North American insurer to join the project, empowering clients to share identity information more conveniently and securely than ever before.
From new apps to virtual MDs, emerging technologies in healthcare are transforming the way we think about wellness. By making personal care more accessible, flexible, and affordable than ever before, these platforms provide innovative opportunities for employees and employers alike. With more and more exciting new services becoming available, improved employee health benefit costs may be just a click away.
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