The new face of health insuranceWorking alongside patients and health professionals, the insurer’s role has also been transformed. AXA is building on technological innovation and analyses of the needs of patients, doctors and care givers, supported by increasing volumes of data. The Group is positioned as a partner of customers’ health to become a facilitator, advisor and coach. ALL ARTICLES | Innovation
“There is no standard care pathway or pattern of behavior followed by every patient. Even the most obvious distinctions – sick or healthy – are often more blurred than they seem. The customers we meet are often uncertain about the seriousness of their health problems and the action they can take.” This observation by Somesh Chandra, Chief Health Officer of AXA for European markets, was quickly shared by other participants. “We’ve been seeing an individualization of the care pathway for a while now,” added Jean Kramarz, Head of Health at AXA Partners. “What’s changed is the quantity of data and the channels available to analyze individual needs and provide solutions.”
Access to healthcare
When the first symptoms appear and patients feel the need to be diagnosed, treated or simply reassured, finding a good doctor becomes a matter of urgency. All over the world, they talk of their difficulties: medical deserts, the cost of private treatment, longer wait times, and so on.
Even in France, where the state reimburses a significant share of health costs, 40% of patients postpone treatment every year because they are unable to pay the costs upfront. Worldwide, 800 million people spend more than 10% of their household budget on healthcare.
Information and consideration
The first steps on a healthcare journey are a critical time in the patient experience, determining the choice of treatment and the quality of relationships with health professionals. From this moment on, patients want above all to be heard and have their symptoms and feelings properly considered.
Receiving the right treatment is critical to a patient’s recovery. How is the quality of treatment assessed? Is an operation that heals but leaves the patient with complications a success or a failure? More and more stakeholders, notably insurers, are working to put the patient back at the heart of care pathway assessments.
Coordination with different medical professionals, appointments, administrative formalities and reimbursement... All these tasks can make managing treatment a real battle for both patients and care givers. Tools and services to help them manage these formalities can provide real relief.
A sense of normality
An accident or illness can disrupt a patient’s everyday routine. When this disruption becomes long term, possibly even lifelong, their main objective is to live life as normally as possible. In this case, medical systems, assistance and coaching can restore a sense of normality.
Connected objects, digitalization, artificial intelligence and foremost telemedicine have shaken up people’s approach to health, along with the role of insurers. Previously in contact with their clients at the reimbursement stage, “when it’s already quite late in the day,” AXA can now support patients at every health touchpoint. “And that obviously changes our approach. It’s not so much about knowing at which stage to act, but rather finding the right interfaces and tools to be there every time our customers have a problem,” explained Philippe Presles, a doctor and Head of Health R&D at AXA France.
Simplifying the essentials
For the past five years, this new approach has led AXA to simplify the relationship between patients and their insurer. “We’re working on solutions to guarantee quick, easy reimbursements and transparent coverage. We aim at giving a preferential access to network of competent professionals with minimum upfront costs,” mentioned Stephen Brenzek, Healthcare Management Director at AXA Germany.
“Our customers want to have the fewest possible formalities to carry out, preferably through a single interface. This is the objective of the new My Easy Santé app, which enables our customers to manage their entire care pathway,” added Philippe Presles. In Asia, the Emma app provides a single interface for accessing all AXA Healthcare services, combined with disease prevention advice, such as the BetterMe coaching program.
Quality healthcare must be more than a concept. It should be what people experience.
New ways to access treatment
AXA does more than make it easier for patients to manage their healthcare. In a context of increasingly complex health systems, AXA can create bridges between patients and their doctors and nurses, in cooperation with the medical community. “We help patients find the right specialists and ask for a second opinion, and we empower them to take control of their own health through a tailored program,” added German Canale, Customer Experience Manager for AXA PPP Wellbeing. “Collaborating with six leading hospitals with more than 400 experienced doctors, AXA Signature Network is providing our customers in Hong Kong with world-class medical services and simplified administrative procedures,” explained Andrea Wong, Chief Marketing and Customer Officer at AXA Hong Kong.
With telemedicine, the Group is present from the moment patients start their healthcare journey, giving them fast access to competent health professionals and guiding them to the right specialists for their situations and questions. “Remote consultations are opening the door to a new age when we can meet a patient at any time,” asserted Alexandre de Maisonneuve, a doctor and Co-Founder of Qare, the telemedicine service incubated by AXA through Kamet.
Acting before the onset of disease
The increase in health data and digital tools also enable AXA to work alongside customers to prevent disease before they require treatment. “Signs of chronic conditions like diabetes can be detected several years before their onset. If patients are diagnosed on time, they can adopt a lifestyle that will avoid or delay full-blown disease,” explained Charles-Etienne de Cidrac, Health Director for Group Risk Management. The Group is also working alongside partner companies to improve their employees’ health. In the United Kingdom, AXA PPP Healthcare offers companies health coaching platforms for their employees, who can follow fitness and health programs or access health advice.
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One key question remains: how can AXA ensure that its healthcare offering meets its quality requirements for patients? To better manage healthcare journeys, the Group has opened integrated medical centers in Egypt and Mexico, and is aiming to open 50 by 2023 to serve 1.5 million patients in key emerging markets – a new facet of its role as a partner. “By offering a bundle of services that are usually provided by different companies, we’re simplifying access to quality healthcare for our customers,” explained Sandrine Coulange, Head of Health business development, International and New Markets.