SPOTLIGHT ON DIGITAL HEALTH

Why is insurance so important for digital health and wellness businesses?

27%

want greater public-private patient record sharing and a more workable regulatory regime.

25%

want more government intervention.

Previously, many governments were less certain about the relative costs and benefits of supporting telehealth on a broad scale as part of their public health emergency response. But the benefits of digital health platforms became overwhelmingly clear when the pandemic struck, and governments rapidly made digital health platforms available to the general public as a tool to contain the spread of the virus.

  • Australia extended Medicare coverage for telehealth, South Korea eased restrictions on telehealth to treat COVID-19 patients remotely, and Japan launched a free government-backed remote health service using digital health tools.9
  • In the US, many states relaxed regulations surrounding the types of providers that may be reimbursed, services that are covered and distant and originating sites that are permitted.10
  • In the UK, NHS doctor consultations moved online and in 2021 the government is seeking views on whether to make the choice of telehealth permanently available.11

But as the industry moves progressively center stage as part of public healthcare provision, so expectations of digital health and wellness providers will increase. As US states look to improve access to care, for example, they are also seeking to incentivise greater provider accountability for outcomes.12

Connecting more effectively

The findings of our research demonstrate that the insurance industry has significant work to do in order to support the digital health and wellness industry more effectively. We need to think harder about communication, knowledge transfer and industry collaboration. In particular, there is a need for brokers to focus more closely on the risks facing these clients – which don’t naturally fit into traditional insurance silos – if the insurance industry is going to better support this burgeoning sector.

What interventions are most likely to help you manage the risks facing your business?

Digital health leaders need to step up

As countries everywhere move from emergency disaster response to long-term restructuring of healthcare provision, it is inevitable that questions around risk and safety will come increasingly to the fore. Our research shows that digital health and wellness providers are considering moves to help themselves.

Over two thirds (68%) globally lament the lack of an industry leader or influential organization in this sector and a quarter (25%) believe a stronger voice is needed to help drive industry development. Other interventions, however, including broader patient record sharing, will require careful consideration, ideally in conjunction with insurance partners if they are not inadvertently to increase risk.

Industry attitudes to risk and insurance in Asia, Europe and North America

For more information

Next steps for brokers and insurers to better support the digital health & wellness sector

  • Work better together to design and deliver more bespoke coverages that meet the particular requirements of these businesses
  • Help business leaders to understand the risks they need to be covered by improving engagement, education and information-sharing
  • Make our policy language easier to understand, especially in countries or markets where specialty insurance coverages are less common
  • Collaborate more effectively with clients to establish robust risk management and insurance frameworks
  • As we handle more digital health and wellness-related claims, use the data and experience we gain to inform clients’ and our own understanding of the risks.

Methodology

This report is based on a survey of 376 business leaders in the digital health and wellness sector in the US, Canada, the UK, Spain, Singapore and Hong Kong. Research was conducted in December 2020 by Opinion Matters on behalf of Beazley. Industry subsectors include: health and wellness software and platform providers; health-technology and life science technology companies, mHealth and telehealth and telemedicine providers.