Innovation Institute

Innovisions gears up for digital debate

Bupa: how data is transforming healthcare

We’re counting down to Innovisions, NEF’s annual conference that explores innovation in business and education. This year’s theme is the digital revolution: how data is transforming customer expectations and disrupting business models in every sector.

In anticipation of this dynamic and interactive event, we asked keynote speaker Andres Martin, Global Digital Health Director at Bupa, to share his vision of the future of digital healthcare.

NEF: What are the challenges that digitisation poses for your sector?

Andres: I prefer to see them as opportunities. Data can play a powerful role in transforming traditional healthcare pathways. Within ten years, we’re predicting that individuals will interact with healthcare providers in the same way that they now interact with banks: going online and getting access to information 24/7.

Within the next couple of years, health and care providers will be able to harness a plethora of data from a variety of sources – biometric, environmental and behavioural data. This will enable companies and start ups to encourage people to live more healthily and should also contribute to the reduction of chronic diseases.

NEF: How can start ups help with this transformation?

At Bupa , we know it’s important to open up our data processes and systems to SMEs to help us speed up development of new products and services. These are very clever individuals and fast paced organisations. Collaboration is transformative and it’s helping us make healthcare more affordable and more accessible to a wider range of people.

NEF: How are wearable devices and mobile phones aiding the health system?

They are changing attitudes with the public. We, the traditional healthcare players, should really be thanking these innovators because they’ve turned fitness into a mainstream preoccupation. The challenge is how we develop this further – from fitness to wellbeing. Bupa is developing a variety of apps to encourage customers to make healthier life choices.

NEF: What kind of apps are you developing?

Our mobile app Ground Miles encourages people to take more physical activity, and we also have a mobile app called Bupa Quit to help people stop smoking. It was developed together with University College London and relies on distraction techniques. The product is based on clinical evidence that there is an 80% chance people won’t smoke if they can occupy themselves for the first three minutes of a craving. Each time they want to reach for a cigarette, they can activate multiple interventions on their phone.

In the field of corporate wellbeing we are successfully rolling out Bupa Boost, which is an app focused on employee wellbeing.

NEF: What about people who don’t have smart phones. Can digitisation help them?

Absolutely. We’ve got a partnership with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) , which is co-leading the initiative ‘Be Healthy Be Mobile’ together with the World Health Organization. In its first phase, this initiative helps selected governments to deploy mHealth services as part of the national preventions strategies. For example, the Senegalese government launched a successful SMS campaign to help people prevent and manage diabetes earlier this year. The long-term objective is creating a global toolkit that can be accessed by any UN member country in order to tackle key national health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and their associated risk factors.

NEF: What other changes do you predict for the sector?

Some patients are already doing video consultations with their doctor in their own home. It can be more intimate than going into a consulting room , and it’s often more comfortable for the patient who doesn’t have to travel. Bupa UK has recently started rolling out an app to enable our customers to do precisely this, as well as book appointments and organise referrals.

Bupa also runs care homes for the elderly. In Sanitas, our Spanish business, we have given carers tablets, which allow them immediate access to every resident’s data. We’ve realised that by providing easy access to information, carers have a holistic view of the patient and can make better, faster decisions in any location around the care home, even if they meet them by chance in the corridor.

Other keynote speakers at Innovisions 2015 include Mark Carne, Chief Executive of Network Rail, Mark Elborne, President and CEO of GE, UK & Ireland and Julian Wilson, Head of Mobile Innovation at Barclays. The interactive discussion panel will include thought leaders from the world of software, telecommunications, aerospace, medicine, transport and construction. To see the full programme go to: www.thenef.org.uk/events

How is digital transforming your sector? Tell us about it at Innovisions

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