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Asia: Higher quality & lower medical costs for insurers & patients

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Mar 2017

The results from Global Personal Medical Case Management are “unequivocal”, said Ms Sigal Atzmon, President of Medix Medical Services in an interview with Asia Insurance Review. It “serves as a bridge between its clients and today’s complex medical world, ensuring that they are correctly diagnosed and receive the best possible treatment” and this will help insurers too, she said. 
   According to the company’s global case data analyses, 55% of patients under its care were spared unnecessary medical procedures and treatments, 43% of the patients were offered a better treatment alternative and in 20% of cases, patients received a corrected medical diagnosis. 
   What this means is that Medix has helped its patients avoid unnecessary additional consultations, treatments or procedures, including high risk invasive surgeries. 
   In Asia, the results are even more impressive. Better treatment alternatives were made available in as high as 70% of the cases it handles in some markets, she said.
“One-man show” vs team of specialists
In Asia’s private sector healthcare, there is generally still a lack of transparency and medical governance. Even in cases where there are renowned specialists, these are largely “one-man shows” who have expertise in a niche area. Multidisciplinary team discussions are unfortunately not held.
   Compare this with Medix, which has 300 in-house specialists who cover all medical specialties, and the use of its global quality accredited specialist network comprising over 3,000 quality leading specialists and 1,500 medical centres, and providing its patients with access to the best possible care in over 90 countries, it is not hard to see why the results differ.
Client-centric approach
Without a doubt, avoiding the overuse and misuse of medical services helps insurers to save costs. But it is not just about controlling costs and rejecting claims. More importantly, the evidence based and multidisciplinary approach based on global standards is client-centred and enhances the quality of medical care, helping insurance companies to pay less overall as a by-product. 
   “In a period where healthcare premiums and expenditures are constantly rising in double-digit figures, health insurers and governments need to take measures and introduce tools which will control medical costs on the one hand, while ensuring accessibility and implementation of quality care, on the other. Any other option is simply not sustainable.” Ms Atzmon added. 
   The London-headquartered company offers an entire dedicated personal case management team available 24/7 to the patient, formulation of a recommended treatment plan, and support in coordinating and implementing the plan. It is not a once-off second-opinion service. “Medix’s patient centric, multidisciplinary medical service is a dynamic and ongoing process for a minimum of three months,” 
she said. 
Growing importance in Asia
Ms Atzmon said that moving forward, claims management and medical governance will become increasingly important in Asia. The region underwent a period of rapid development in the past and as more health related claims start coming in, insurers will need to pay attention to this area to maintain loss ratios and sustain growth.
   Asia is now the Group’s second strongest region after Europe and the region continues to rank high on the company’s list of priorities. In Asia, even the mature markets such as Singapore and Hong Kong offer significant growth opportunities, she said, as healthcare management is still maturing in the region. Other markets she is bullish about include China, Malaysia and Indonesia. 
Growing presence 
Medix’s presence in Asia is set to continue increasing. Last year, it entered into a partnership with AIA Hong Kong to provide Global Personal Medical Case Management Services to its eligible insured members, and this year it plans to expand and further open additional offices in Singapore and China to be closer and better serve its members in this region.
   Furthermore, with the view that digital health will continue to impact and disrupt the way health care is provided and consumed, the Medix Group has decided to launch a Venture Capital Fund, Medix Ventures, with a strong focus on Asia Pacific. The fund aims to innovate and capitalise on the opportunities within the digital health space, enabling disruptive digital health solutions to be embedded into the global Medix medical platform servicing customers globally, said Ms Atzmon. Details have not been revealed yet, so watch this space!
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