Private hospital treatments and digital product launches
The private health sector has witnessed a sea-change in the rapid take-up of digital technology over the last few months. As lockdown and private hospital closures all but put a stop to face-to-face consultations and treatments, digital healthcare solutions enabled continuity of care and remote diagnosis for private patients.
It’s been a revolution no one could have quite predicted. In May 2019, The Times publication Raconteur said there was ‘some way to go’ before game-changing technologies are deployed to revolutionise patient care due in part to stringent UK regulation, cost and a lack of mainstream adoption.
Just over a year later, and everything has changed. Digital diagnosis, online GPs and remote consultations became commonplace during lockdown. And now, as we transition out of lockdown, we’re likely to see further acceleration in the use of digital tech and the streamlining of processes which will all have major impacts on efficiency.
In fact, new research by ThoughtWorks shows that a third of Brits expect to communicate with their GP remotely either by telephone or online within the next ten years. Speaking to the media, ThoughtWorks portfolio director David Howell said people were becoming much more aware of the possibilities technology can offer and how it can enhance peoples’ lives.
So although the sudden widespread use of digital healthcare technology was a health necessity – a way of keeping people safe while continuing to offer treatments – it’s abundantly clear that the digital tech revolution is here to stay.
Private healthcare providers like HCA are now using digital tech to keep people informed about changes to hospital setups while others like Bupa have re-launched and updated their digital products.
In their communication to intermediaries, HCA Healthcare launched their patient walkthrough video to help patients better understand what to expect when visiting a hospital or clinic for consultations, diagnostics or treatment. “Working together to ensure patients feel comfortable and confident to seek care has never been more important,” they said.
Meanwhile, Bupa’s relaunch of Bupa Touch combines online and personal support to give employees access to a range of services while enabling them to view existing policy and benefit details and change personal information, all through one secure login.
The newly-launched personalised health and wellbeing Be. Me app can also be accessed through Bupa Touch and features a virtual coach, personalised goals, tailored content and insight and wearable linking capabilities.
Zurich too, have launched mental wellbeing app Thrive which runs alongside the existing Health Assured EAP. The app addresses some of the most common stress factors including insomnia, bereavement and work-related stress with a range of resources and self-help techniques and signposts those in need of specific support and expertise.
Paul Roberts, senior consultant at IHC said: “The speed of change and adoption of technology had a noticeable shift during lockdown. Suppliers who are quick to react and understand the new customer needs are standing out as responsive and agile. IHC are constantly reviewing the new services and the updates of current products. There are some superb offers and we look forward to discussing how the new technology will benefit you.