In 2019, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “Every company is now a software company.” However, those that were not, had to become software companies in order to survive due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, giving rise to an entirely new set of trends.
Today, every company must try to develop a keen healthcare focus. As per market predictions, most investors are keen to invest in healthcare technologies in the coming 12-18 months. Growth within the telehealth segment is rising. Between April and November 2020, the number of online doctor consultations grew by more than ten times facilitated through a leading telehealth company in India. It is interesting to notice how such trends are impacting the overall healthcare technology market and which players will emerge as next-generation leaders in the healthcare marketplace. The existing healthcare technology players must boost their core competencies in health and wellness acumen to survive the influx of new players.
Hybrid work model and health insurance
The way employees manage healthcare expenditure today is very different from the pre-pandemic scenario. Small and mid-sized businesses want to reopen their workplaces; but the demands of employees who have worked from home for over a year have changed. To provide optimum protection for their employees, businesses are investing in technologies that support a ‘post-pandemic workplace’.
In India, some leading organizations have adopted pioneering initiatives like setting up employee task forces and rolling out support services, teleconsultations and virtual wellbeing programs. Others are exploring financial schemes such as additional insurance cover and revised leave policies.
A recent compilation of industry data by the General Insurance Council and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) showed that the health insurance portfolio grew 11 per cent year-on-year to Rs 58,584 crore in 2020 due to the pandemic. Rising hospitalizations and costs of healthcare are driving more people to enroll in health insurance programs.
Nevertheless, the employee sentiment about returning to workplace is divided: In India, 83 per cent of employees are reluctant to come back to work without taking the vaccine. Many are looking at formalizing return-to-work by utilizing mobile apps to track vaccination history.
These trends are driving further investments into an entirely new segment of healthcare strategy and technology, i.e., employee health screenings.
New-age technology solutions
Solutions that support daily web-based health screenings are going to be the up-to-the-minute thing in healthcare technology. This will be a sustained need if companies adopt hybrid workplace models to ease the ‘back-to-office’ transition. Health screening solutions will become critical for companies who are contemplating the need to bringing its employees back to office and to confidently move ahead with hybrid working models. This can be made possible through digital-led tracking that provide accurate and real-time results which will monitor the number of employees in the office premises, provide dynamic office space scheduling, track the health status of employees and provide quick alerts when the status changes.
Healthcare and HR
There is increasing interest from top HR software solution providers in how health and wellbeing impacts employee morale, retention, and attrition. This foray of healthcare into HR means that analytics providers are already investigating how to enable workplace safety and management from a health and wellness perspective. Similarly, healthcare organizations are interested in learning how to leverage analytics to streamline the return to workplace – without exacerbating health risks while ensuring business continuity and operations.
It is this segment of the tech stack that is supporting return-to-work focusing on remote screening, virtual care, virtual mental health and coordinated diagnostic testing. There is also a steady rise of on-site clinics as a primary touchpoint for care delivery. Employees prefer such elements to be a part of their benefit packages and would consider these while choosing an employer.
Various channels of healthcare packages
As the healthcare industry moves away from contracting model to concierge model, the demand for digital tools is increasing. Customers are increasingly finding out about health plans through digital channels rather than brokers. They also want remote healthcare tracking to be a crucial element in their healthcare packages. All these aspects are redefining modern healthcare, creating the need for an omni-present digital platform that benefits the sales teams, employers, payers, and plan sponsors.
The need of the hour is a platform that supports peer-to-peer interactions between major stakeholders, thereby preventing the erosion of revenue, redirecting the contract model and reimagining the concierge-care model. The marketplace wants self-service digital capabilities that can empower all parties to provide a highly personalized employee experience with the ability to immediately respond to any sudden disruption.