The digital revolution has seen various trends emerge to the forefront of importance across all industries, with widespread transformation re-imagining processes and promoting sustainability. In healthcare, today’s ecosystem of connected devices has completely revolutionised the sector, overhauling practices for the better and delivering new-found values to payers and members alike. Looking ahead, there are numerous possibilities with regards to emerging technologies, yet specific areas are also being explored in the present to accelerate progress.
Driven by their aspirations to elevate services, improve customer loyalty, and prevent claims, organisations responsible for handling or paying healthcare bills are now aiming to further leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) to ensure they meet these objectives. In terms of the claims, the main goal previously was to manage or automate applications and negotiate discounts to reduce costs. However, preventing them from happening altogether is now a growing priority with margins becoming extremely limited – and smart devices and wearables have a considerable role to play due to their proven capabilities and increased market penetration.
Backed by IoT and next-generation features, these innovations have been universally acknowledged as crucial for understanding lifestyles and assessing the likelihood of illness or injury. Besides gathering precise data, they assess general health, track physical activity, and facilitate engagement through gamification. Notifications are sent to users to encourage exercise and water intake, informing them of progress and offering extra motivation. Ultimately, the end result is a fundamental lifestyle change geared toward increased activity and better health – helping healthcare payers to reduce claims.
The power of IoT is also becoming apparent with other solutions making their mark. For example, the INGO Health smart water bottle was introduced by CME to help people drink adequate amounts of water daily and is now a prominent IoT use case. As an accurate water tracking tool that measures water intake, the solution has solidified itself as a game-changer for health insurance firms. An example of how accurate water readings can help is kidney stones, which is a classic – but in most cases preventable – re-occurring claim.
On average, 10 per cent of people experience kidney stones problem at some stage, with treatment costing as much as US$3,000 and 50 per cent of these people experience further issues within five years. Moreover, kidney stones have traditionally cost health insurance companies’ significant amounts of money through repeat cases. According to leading healthcare professionals, drinking the right amount of water can reduce and even remove the chances of suffering from kidney stones. Crucially, these organisations have already pointed out that 26 per cent of people who drink enough water can prevent this problem from happening altogether, illustrating the value of IoT solutions like CME’s.
These use cases illustrate the power of IoT and highlight its capabilities to transform the wider healthcare claims segment. As they look ahead, healthcare firms can further instigate a new era of sustainability and drive positive change. For example, they can offer rewards for members who take proactive steps to improve their lifestyle. Such rewards, together with IoT-enabled devices and gamification, can shape countless members’ behaviour and prevent predictable claims.
It’s also noteworthy that IoT can be used as an additional stream of data with other sources, so concerned parties fully understand members’ lifestyles and deliver relevant and competitive services. Moreover, IoT can drive the development of smart machine learning (ML) models to help articulate more accurate risk assessments in the near future. With these considerations in mind, the onus is on healthcare payers to explore the possibilities and potential of IoT without delay and accelerate preventable claims progression and success
Healthcare insurance has needed transformation for years and change has already begun through IoT. Now, the next stage of transformation can be accelerated, with proven use cases and a clear vision for success serving as an inspiration to accomplish objectives in this direction.