From Uber and Airbnb to Amazon and Netflix, technology has transformed many parts of our lives over the last several years.
On the consumer side of the equation, a number of new solutions are designed to transform the patient and doctor experience (e.g., Fitbit). On the business side of the equation, new tools promise to streamline and optimize operations—helping companies meet customer expectations around instant gratification.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at four of the more popular healthcare technology trends that are transforming the industry today—and some thoughts on how these trends might play out as we move further into the future.
1. Virtual care
As technology becomes increasingly integrated into our lives, it follows, then, that consumers are growing more comfortable with the idea of administering their own healthcare via the internet.
In fact, a recent study found that—although 77 percent of consumers haven’t tried a virtual doctor visit just yet—57 percent of them were willing to try. Patients who have had a virtual visit were most likely to be millennials—a fact that indicates we will likely see virtual visits become something closer to a norm in the future. What’s more, 77 percent of consumers who’ve had a virtual visit reported a high level of satisfaction.
Virtual care brings several benefits to the healthcare arena. From a patient’s perspective, you no longer have to drive across town to the doctor’s office or sit in a waiting room for a routine checkup, and the price of care is often cheaper, too. From a doctor’s point of view, you can “treat” more patients as there are fewer logistical considerations to keep in mind.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re no doubt aware that massive data breaches seem to make headlines every few weeks.
As more and more health records become digitized and healthcare services are administered online, we expect hackers to increasingly target healthcare companies—if for no other reason than the fact that there’s a lot of money to be made. One report, for example, found that the average medical record costs $250 on the black market. For some perspective, the second-most valuable black market record is a payment card, which costs $5.40.
That being the case, companies that operate in the healthcare industry need to make smart investments in technology and digital security to ensure that their data remains secure. The last thing you want is to get hacked—and then subsequently hit with HIPAA violations.
3. Artificial intelligence
It remains to be seen exactly how artificial intelligence (AI) will change the healthcare industry. But one thing remains certain: AI will definitely have at least some kind of impact. One recent study, for example, found that the healthcare AI market will grow to nearly $200 billion by 2025—almost a 10-times increase from the $21.5 billion the market brought in during 2018.
Already, AI is being used for lots of different healthcare-related tasks, including diagnosing illnesses, treating patients in their homes, administering cognitive behavioral therapy, accelerating clinical workflows, and more. Time will tell what AI’s full potential in healthcare looks like. But some experts believe it can help cure diseases, predict illnesses, and improve medical imaging, among other things.
4. Instant quotes/pricing
Today’s consumers demand instant gratification. We listen to the exact song we want to hear on YouTube or Spotify when we want to hear it, watch the exact show we want to see on Netflix when we want to see it, and hail a car at the exact moment we want a ride on Uber.
Should shopping for health insurance really be any different?
To meet consumer expectations, health insurance businesses will increasingly invest in real-time quoting solutions that enable prospects to compare hundreds of plans quickly and easily, finding the one that works best for their unique situation and buying it at their convenience—even when insurance salespeople have gone home for the day.
Businesses that meet the demand for instant gratification will be handsomely rewarded.
Are you prepared for these healthcare technology trends?
As an insurance professional, it is critical that you stay on top of these healthcare technology trends so that you can play the role of a trusted adviser for clients and prospects who may want to know about how innovative new technologies are transforming healthcare options.
At the same time, you need to leverage modern health insurance tools so that your agency or brokerage can meet client expectations while increasing organizational efficiency and agility.
If it’s been a while since your insurance company took a long, hard look at its tech tool belt, it may be time to start thinking about how a few smart investments in technology can make all the difference for your business. With the right tools in place, your insurance company can move faster while delivering more value to your clients—a true win-win scenario.