We asked Andrew Scott, Chief R&D and Strategy Officer for Vitality, to explain how data is being harnessed to improve quality of healthcare in a way that benefits intermediaries and their clients.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the private medical insurance (PMI) sector has been profound, with providers faced with the need to adapt their offerings to meet the changing needs of customers.
For many medical practitioners and players in the market, this is leading to new innovative ways to improve access to healthcare at an increasingly challenging time.
Earlier this year, Vitality recently unveiled its Premier Consultant Panel and Premier Consultant Cashback as part of a series of enhancements to its proposition. Its aim is to bring about a step-change in the way PMI is being delivered through intermediaries via a member-driven approach with ill-health prevention at its core.
"Premier Consultants are part of a specially designated panel that demonstrates performance outcomes, giving clients additional information to choose a consultant that's right for them," said Andrew Scott, Chief R&D and Strategy Officer for Vitality.
The panel has been created by systematically evaluating all recognised consultants using an algorithm that considers data across treatment outcomes, clinical practice and efficiency measures from both the consultant's private and NHS practice. According to Vitality, consultants who perform highly on this evaluation are then invited to become a Vitality Premier Consultant.
As part of Vitality's next generation directional care option Consultant Select, Premier Consultants are prioritised to provide a choice of consultants to members, either through the Vitality Care Hub or Member Care team to make sure clients are matched with the best possible consultant for their individual needs.
So why has Vitality launched it, and why now? "We believe the quality of consultant care is fundamental to intermediaries and their clients," Scott explained, pointing to the growing importance of using the right data and health analytic tools to understand what customers need from their PMI. "Doing that makes it possible for insurers to measure and communicate performance outcomes in a meaningful way.
"By helping to provide extra value and improve health outcomes for clients, patients treated by Premier Consultants are shown, on average, to spend less time in hospital and also suffer fewer complications that require them to be re-admitted to hospital. They are also likely to experience fewer changes in consultant."
And this is backed up by data. According to Vitality, the treatment delivered through the system leads to a 20% shorter length of stay, 35% lower admissions and 23% fewer changes of consultant than those who are not categorised as ‘Premier'. These are key measures of both consultant quality and efficiency.
Scott added that Vitality expects this knowledge will not only lead to more satisfied clients, but also arm intermediaries with enough confidence when recommending Vitality, given the extra steps taken by the insurer to manage quality and efficiency in a responsible way.
Because evidence shows that Premier Consultants achieve lower generated spend, to share the value saved through the panel, Vitality is giving clients on its hospital lists cashback when they see a Premier Consultant. "Cashback essentially encourages members to make decisions which are more likely to result in a better health outcome for them," said Scott.
The new benefit - which delivers cashback of between £20 and £50 depending on their Vitality status - Scott believes will represent a compelling offering for advisers and their clients looking for a tangible financial benefit as well as the reassurance of seeing a consultant who is part of a panel which provides superior performance levels.
"It's a win, win, win for all involved - that's why we call it Shared Value Insurance" Scott concluded. "The approach is good for the member, us as an insurer and for society as a whole, as it helps reduce the burden on the healthcare system."
A version of this article originally appeared on Vitality Adviser Insights Hub