Digital health solutions are tipped to revolutionise iPMI policies after a poll of HR professionals revealed more than two-thirds already see tech-based services as an important part of their duty of care to staff working abroad.
Sixty-seven per cent of those questioned in a survey commissioned by Collinson Group, a global insurance and assistance provider, said digital solutions are now ‘significant’ in supporting employees on long-term international assignments.
This includes wellness and medical information support (38 per cent), medical provider information (15 per cent) and even telemedicine (7 per cent) – where healthcare services are delivered remotely thanks to advances in video communication and customers can be monitored using mobile medical devices. Other digital services seen as significant include:
- Online claims (48 per cent)
- Access to policy information and benefits (42 per cent)
- Ability to buy online (35 per cent)
- Ability to make policy amendments online (34 per cent)
- Reward links to trackable devices and lifestyle choices (8 per cent)
Lawrence Watts, Commercial Director at Collinson Group, says: “These findings underline the essential role of digital health in iPMI and helping organisations to better engage with staff working overseas. We believe this will grow rapidly as mobile devices become more sophisticated and the options for remote diagnostics and virtual support escalate.”
Telemedicine’s seven per cent share, although small, is significant because the market and artificial intelligence technologies behind it are very new. Interestingly, this figure rises to almost one in ten for firms with more than 500 employees.
“Companies are demanding telemedicine solutions from iPMI providers because they make it possible to communicate with and monitor staff remotely,” explains Watts. “This will allow them to respond quicker in a crisis and provide a higher quality of care. In the future, insurers will be able to monitor employees’ vital signs in real time and intervene, or alert clients so they can intervene, before or as something happens.”
Digitalisation will also help insurers personalise iPMI policies to match the specific requirements, situations or lifestyles of their clients’ employees. This enables insurers to provide the right care when it is needed most, which makes for a better service for customers and drives value.
“Tailoring policies to match client needs allows us to provide the right care when it is needed,” continued Lawrence. “By adding value in this way, our clients can offer their customers a differentiated healthcare solution that will support them in the best possible way whilst they are living abroad. We need to embrace technology to serve the customers of tomorrow.”
Independent survey of 200 UK HR professionals commissioned by Collinson Group and conducted by Atomik Research.
This is a double-edged sword in some respects. Will employers/employees lose points, or face higher premiums if someone is tracked via smartphone to the hotel bar every vening? They could be consuming mineral water.
Equally, will the employee get bonus points for checking in on Facebook at the hotel gym, even though they are in fact sinking an ice cold beer at the bar, rather than sweating on a treadmill?
The biggest challenge facing healthcare insurance in the next decade is policyholder privacy. How much data are people willing to trade when it comes to documenting their lifestyle? More importantly, who defines a `healthy’ lifestyle, the insurer or the policyholder who has been declared fit to travel by a doctor?