Life expectancy in Spain is around 82 years, according to data from the World Health Organization, and this figure is expected to continue to increase. However, the ageing of the population not only entails greater longevity, but also a change of profile in which it is increasingly common to find “patients with multi-pathological problems”, i.e. those who suffer from several ailments at the same time.
This change, together with increased purchasing power, has meant that more and more people are investing in private health insurance. In Spain, almost 20% of households already have this type of policy, with an average monthly spend of €440 according to the National Institute of Statistics. Well-being is important to people.
Taking out private insurance policies is also gaining ground because waiting lists are shorter and, although the most frequently asked questions when choosing this type of insurance usually focus on selecting professionals or support for queries about treatments or diagnoses, the technological progress of recent years is increasing opportunities when it comes to being in contact with medical personnel.
One of the most interesting innovations that technology has brought to the health sector is being able to access new alternatives without needing to visit a health centre. According to the consulting firm Capgemini, telemedicine and chatbots are two of the top ten trends for health insurance in 2019.
Actually, remote care in medicine has more and more supporters because it makes patient follow-up easier. Chatbots like Babylon Health, with a strong presence in the British market, use artificial intelligence to assess the symptoms of ailments such as bronchitis, eczema, fibromyalgia and melanoma, among others.
Nowadays mobile apps are not restricted to entertainment, rather they are increasingly used to manage chronic diseases. For example, the startup Insulclock on your device helps to improve adherence to diabetes treatment, and the Zensei app facilitates better control of respiratory diseases. Both are involved in the open innovation programme insur_space by MAPFRE.
Despite the fact that using these apps does not guarantee that you won’t require medical attention, cutting-edge app development can contribute to the health insurance sector in matters of prevention and in simplifying the way patients are dealt with. In this case, wearables that help to measure data as relevant as heart rate or blood glucose levels and that monitor constants in real time are practical and decisive.
Insurance companies are moving towards a model in which the Internet of Things can help patients in whom symptoms are detected in the early stages of a disease, and to obtain quick solutions thanks to digital progress.
MAPFRE, which promotes innovation through the programme, is also looking closely at trends in insurtech applied to healthcare, with the aim of allowing startups to develop new technological ideas to improve insurers’ medical services and, above all, improve the lives of patients.