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The future of health insurance the top technological trends to watch

Rich Atkinson
Patrick Goffin
April 14, 2023
Person in a green long sleeve top stretching on a yoga mat at home.

The health insurance industry is evolving at a rapid pace. New technologies are revealing massive opportunities while also uncovering some core competency gaps.

The data breaches of 2022 brought these issues to the forefront, and while the focus on recovery is paramount to building trust, it’s important that our health insurance providers don’t lose sight of the pivotal role technology is still to play in improving the member experience.

In our work and conversations with healthcare companies and professionals we identified some key technological trends. Some are well in the works and will only develop further, while others are truly at the fore of what we can expect from the health insurance industry of tomorrow.

Wearable technology adoption increases

Smartwatches and fitness trackers have been providing health insurance companies with opportunities to explore for some time. Usage of these technologies is, however, shifting their integration into healthcare from a novelty to an expectation of health fund members.

We expect to see even greater growth in wearables adoption in the coming years. Technologies such as the Apple Watch have seen massive sales increase year-on-year, and studies across the US, UK, and France reveal that over 80% of people plan on using mobile applications and wearable devices to improve their health and well-being this year alone.

The wearable technology space is only going to expand. And if we fast forward a few years, the future of implants and nano technologies likely won’t feel that revolutionary anymore either. Faster biometric monitoring, more widespread adoption, and the potential for health insurance companies to support their members in their utilisation have and will continue to increase dramatically.

A man's hand wearing an apple watch showing their fitness goal.

Biometric health and fitness data improvements

A natural fallout of wearable technology adoption is the increase in the quantity and quality of health data. We can expect this data to lead to greater health insights for both members and health funds.

Current use cases include:

  • Rewarding and incentivising members for activity.
  • Offering personalised fitness and weight loss plans.
  • Tracking and gamifying positive health markers.

Personalised data usage will likely improve healthcare advice and intervention capabilities. Meanwhile, aggregated data will reveal trends and patterns in the health conditions of both individuals and the member base at large.

Greater focus on preventative healthcare

The adoption of wearables and the increasing insights they provide are seeing the focus shift from treatment to prevention. This trend is a win-win for health insurance companies and their members.

Private health insurers are already exploring ways to help reduce the likelihood and frequency of injury and illness amongst their members. But as data quality and tools improve, this preventative focus will be a core focus for the leading health funds that want to help their members and their fund in the future.

Prioritisation of security

A greater focus on security has been at the forefront of health companies’ minds, particularly over the past 12 months. With even more data becoming accessible, this priority is only going to increase.

We will see a greater focus on:

  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Biometric security
  • Encrypted storage
  • Zero-trust security
  • Verification assessment frameworks for mobile and web apps
  • Holistic data lifecycle management procedures

Members expect that health insurers have learnt from past mistakes and are working to ensure the safety of their data. Leading health insurers understand they can be secure and deliver a better experience for their members – there’s no need to choose between the two.

Moving past security to build trust

While not guaranteed in the past, a safe and secure member experience should be the bare minimum expectation in the future. The funds that will see real loyalty and growth will do so by developing trust as they work to build better relationships with their members.

It is as much about intentions as it is about technology.

Data is not inherently bad, nor is the inclination of health insurance providers to access it in helpful and relevant ways. Reframing how members think about their fund’s intentions will, however, play a crucial part in creating a better healthcare network for all.

There are numerous ways we may see this play out in the technology space. One of the main ways, however, is a greater focus on the user experience. Companies that put the time and effort into designing and developing their applications, websites, portals, and processes for the betterment of their members using human-centred design will reap the most rewards.

A man planking while looking at his laptop. His daughter is on top of his back smiling.

Exploring the major frontier of AI

Last but certainly not least, a major trend we now all see coming is the application of AI. AI is going to bring seismic changes to the industry, creating smart, personalised insurance and preventative health plans for members based on a lightning-fast analysis of a person’s health history, lifestyle, and even genetic information.

This technology has some potentially game-changing implementations.

  • Streamlining processes for members.
  • Decreasing staffing costs on administrative tasks.
  • Creating tailored preventative health care plans.
  • Helping identify claims and fraud detection.
  • Providing member support.
  • Conducting personalised health analysis.
  • Tailoring the member experience to increase engagement.

And these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to AI's application in health insurance technology.

The future of health insurance technology

The role technology and data play in health insurance is greater than ever before. But now it comes down to implementation. The successful funds of the future will focus on more than providing safe and secure technology. The best funds will build stronger relationships with their members, focusing on trust, adding value, and connecting with members to keep them and Australia healthy.

Want to learn more about what is possible in the health technology space? Read how we helped Doctor’s Health Fund find success, or learn more about our digital member services portal for private health insurers in Australia.

If you are thinking about how your company can stay ahead of these trends and provide a better experience to your users, we would love to chat. You can reach out to us via our contact form here.

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