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Innovations in health insurance: the growing trend of telemedicine and remote patient monitoring| health insurance innovations

 

The health insurance industry has experienced major transformations in recent years. The adoption of digital health technologies like telemedicine and remote patient monitoring grew exponentially, especially during the global pandemic. Personalized and consumer-centric approaches have gained traction, allowing individuals to tailor their coverage based on their specific needs. Last but not least, the industry is exploring ways to harness data analytics and artificial intelligence to improve risk assessment, fraud detection, and operational efficiency.

These trends are already having a significant impact on the health insurance industry. For example, let’s look at remote patient monitoring or RPM. RPM includes various medical devices designed to collect and transmit a patient’s biometric data in real time, including things like glucose monitors, implanted pacemakers, blood pressure cuffs, and wearable heart monitors. These devices give medical staff and insurers significantly more data than they could gather during a physical office visit and provide ongoing insight into the patient’s health that supports better decision-making. When health data from RPMs is collected and analyzed at scale, it can even support the assessment of public health risks and trends.

health insurance innovations
health insurance innovations

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services formally recognized the potential value of  RPMs in 2018 and issued CPT codes for the collection and interpretation of medical information received in digital form. Claims for these codes rose 1,294% between 2019 and 2022, indicating exponential growth in market demand.

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The use of telemedicine also surged during the pandemic. Since many telemedicine systems used during the pandemic were ad hoc, the use of these systems decreased as the pandemic waned. However, telemedicine usage remains significantly higher than it was prior to the pandemic. According to the American Medical Association, approximately 25% of patients used some type of telehealth in 2022, compared to only 5% in 2019. As providers invest in developing more robust telemedicine systems with improved user interfaces, these numbers are likely to continue to grow. As they do, the potential for innovation in health insurance will also grow.

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The rise of telemedicine

Before getting into the ramifications for the insurance industry, let’s look more closely at telemedicine. Most definitions of telemedicine include any provision of healthcare services—including medical consultations, diagnoses, and treatment—through digital communication channels such as video calls, apps, or online messaging. In other words, telemedicine offers tools that allow patients to connect with healthcare professionals remotely and gain access to medical advice and care without requiring in-person visits to a medical facility.

Telemedicine can be a game-changer for many consumers, such as people living in rural or remote areas where medical professionals are not always readily accessible. Even in areas where on-site medical care is available, it gives patients the added convenience of being able to access care from wherever they are, and often during extended hours.

Patients aren’t the only ones who benefit—telemedicine can also save healthcare providers significant costs. First of all, telehealth allows healthcare providers to consolidate resources. Instead of maintaining multiple clinics and offices in a variety of geographic locations, they can serve multiple areas from one location. They can also direct overflow appointments to other geographic areas that have availability, optimizing the utilization of existing resources.

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Telemedicine took off during the pandemic when much of the population was sheltering in place. Since the pandemic was unexpected, most healthcare providers didn’t have systems in place to provide robust remote care. Instead, they often relied on generic video call platforms to conduct remote office visits, without any integration with other systems, connected devices, or a branded, user-friendly interface.

Today, more options are available. For example, telemedicine kits that include various connected medical devices can be used to conduct a more comprehensive medical exam. They often include instruments that can create clinic-quality images and data. Many telemedicine services and platforms are wirelessly connected to the provider’s systems to create a seamless consumer interface between virtual and in-person care.

2021 study by McKinsey indicated that  40-60% of consumers are interested in receiving more virtual health solutions, including “remote first” or “digital front door” options. However, as stated above, the percentage of consumers who actually utilize virtual health options is much lower, indicating significant untapped market potential.

Telemedicine & remote patient monitoring in health insurance

In addition to offering significant benefits to consumers and healthcare providers, telemedicine opens new opportunities for insurance providers as well. For example, RPM technologies give insurers the capacity to track and analyze patients’ health data in real time, rather than depending on one-time, static health assessments which may not reflect the customer’s current health status.

The real-time data can be analyzed to create data-based insights that insurers can use to hone their risk assessment and pricing models, leading to more accurate premium calculations. This data-driven approach also enables early detection of health issues and potential complications, allowing for timely interventions that can prevent costly hospitalizations or treatments. This further reduces the risk for insurers as well as reducing the price for customers.

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That’s not all. Insurance providers can also leverage this data to tailor their offerings and create personalized health management programs, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Overall, remote patient monitoring empowers insurance companies to proactively manage risks, optimize healthcare utilization, and deliver more value to their policyholders.

 

The future of health insurance with telemedicine

Despite its enormous benefits, telemedicine isn’t without its challenges. First and foremost, it isn’t enough for patients to use RPM devices and accumulate vast quantities of data. In order to gain business value from that data, insurance providers need the capacity to effectively analyze the data to gain insights.

In addition, RPMs, telemedicine platforms, and other digital technologies need to be integrated with the insurance provider’s existing systems. When those systems are proprietary and utilize outdated technology, that isn’t always easy to do. When the data remains siloed, insurance providers can’t fully utilize its potential.

Furthermore, health data is extremely sensitive and subject to strict regulation in many countries, such as HIPAA regulations in the United States. Insurance providers must have the proper systems in place to protect the data they collect in order to protect customer privacy and remain compliant.

Last but not least, insurance providers can only benefit from telemedicine and remote patient monitoring if customers utilize them.  If systems are not designed in a way that is user-friendly, easy to understand, and accessible, utilization will be low.

EasySend helps insurers overcome these obstacles and reap the full benefits of telemedicine. The platform simplifies digital data intake for customers, increasing the chance that customers will complete the onboarding process and utilize telemedicine functionality.

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It utilizes the highest levels of data security, giving insurance providers the confidence that their customer’s data is safe and making it easier to remain compliant with various regulations like HIPAA and GDPR.

EasySend also helps ensure data quality and accuracy by validating the data at the point of entry and enforcing data standardization, something that is impossible to do with traditional data collection methods.  With accurate, standardized,  high-quality data that is accessible to all organizational stakeholders, insurance providers can better segment and target their potential and existing customers and offer them the right products and services to meet their needs.

Finally, automating manual data collection processes and eliminating paper-based documentation can significantly reduce the administrative burden for insurers, allowing them to allocate human resources to tasks that drive more business value.

health insurance innovations
health insurance innovations
The future of health insurance with telemedicine and EasySend

Telemedicine and remote patient monitoring hold great promise, and hybrid models that combine in-person care with virtual consultations will become more common, offering patients greater flexibility and personalized attention while optimizing healthcare resources. Advancements in technology are also likely to continue to reshape the healthcare landscape in the near future, from AI-driven virtual consultations to sophisticated diagnostic tools that enhance the accuracy of remote healthcare.

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To leverage the advantages of telemedicine and remote patient monitoring, health insurance providers must improve data collection practices to ensure data quality and security. Working with platforms that focus on data collection like EasySend allows them to do exactly that. With EasySend, health insurance providers can focus on their core business capabilities—i.e., providing insurance—while still benefiting from the full potential of telemedicine.

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About EasySend

Transform the entire policy lifecycle, from quote to renewal, with EasySend. Trusted by Fortune 500 insurance companies, our no-code platform revolutionizes data collection processes. Effortlessly capture customer information, generate quotes, facilitate policy applications, streamline claims management, and simplify policy renewals to deliver a seamless, user-friendly experience.

 

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