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How Mobile Micro-Health Insurance can unlock ‘Digital for Bharat’?

By :
4 minutes, 8 seconds read

Mobile-enabled micro-health insurance is escalating at a good rate with advancement of digital healthcare technology. It has the potential to deliver quality healthcare services to people by improving accessibility and keeping people well-informed about health issues, thus reducing out-of-pocket expenses. Consumers are prioritizing health above other needs as the rise of digital services in India has enabled catering to the at-home population In India.

Keeping Customers Engaged using digital health tools

Practice of healthcare through mobile can be made interactive by integrating services that can cater to customer needs:

  1. Using chatbots to help customers settle health related queries and diagnosis through simple question-answer sessions. Health emergencies can be solved any time with chatbots due its 24/7 availability. Max Life insurance has made it easier for customers to avail customer service through max life assistant Mili that is integrated in Whatsapp.
  2. Use of mobile health apps helps customers to receive personalized service. Mobile health apps provide virtual care, health tips, and keep track of health status, and locate nearby hospitals. TATA AIA life insurance company partnered with Practo to gain access to a digital health platform through which customers can book appointments, order medicines and consult doctors online.
  3. Integration of mobile apps with fitness trackers, smart health watches helps customers to receive daily updates on their health & well-being. Max Bupa Health insurance partnered with GOQii to track customers’ health and offer discounts to those who achieved healthier goals and lifestyles. 
  4. Use of mobile payments such as mobile wallets, NFC can help customers pay premiums with just a few taps. Reliance general insurance partnered with Paytm and launched “COVID-19 benefit insurance policy” that covers quarantine and health treatment expenses for COVID-19 patients.

More than 2.4 billion people worldwide live on US$2 or less per day. Most low-income families will see their savings be completely wiped out owing to higher out-of pocket healthcare expenses and are likely to be pushed further into poverty. Below are a few mobile micro-health insurance products that are helping such low-income families cover health risks with minimal costs at difficult times.

Innovative New products in micro-health insurance:

  1. BIMA Health- following a mobile insurance model and having partnered with several mobile operators, BIMA covers short-term health events for low-income families by providing tele-doctor services, free health programs giving health tips through SMS, appointment booking services wherein the micro-payments are deducted from monthly phone bills.  
  2. Pona na Tigo Bima- MicroEnsure partnered with Tigo, Bima and Golden Crescent and developed a health insurance product “Get Well with Tigo Insurance” that provides life and hospitalization insurance covering 30 nights in a hospital and uses mobile money for claim settlements. 
  3. Y’ello Health- this micro-insurance service established by MTN Nigeria provides health insurance cover to Nigerians where they can pay and have access to medical treatments through mobile phones. People have access to around 6000 hospitals across the country that are registered in NHIS.
  4. Kilimo Salama: operated by safaricom, Syngenta foundation and UAP insurance, the insurance scheme allows Kenyan farmers to insure farm equipment and inputs against drought and heavy rain. It offers “pay as you plant” insurance by syncing mobile payments and solar powered weather stations. A farmer pays 5% extra for farm inputs for climate coverage. When a weather station reports extreme climate change, the farmer registered with that station automatically receives the amount in mobile. 

MNOs have been the major drivers to enhance the microinsurance industry. Mobile being the dominant in healthcare technology, can be used to structure niche insurance products and serve to educate people on various health issues. Mobile micro-health insurance can serve as a protective blanket against health emergencies as mobile can bridge the gap between the insurers and low-income families, be it mobile policy information, claims filing, renewals, query and claim payments. An adequate balance can be achieved between affordability and accessibility by partnerships with MNOs to deliver real value to the customers.

Untapped Opportunity & Drivers of Micro-health Insurance

In developing countries, the estimated volume for microinsurance is between 1.5 and 3 billion policies. These policies typically account for demand in health, agriculture, property, and disaster cover. At present, only 5% of this market is currently tapped and is being driven by large commercial insurers. To expand the market, commercial insurers should partner with innovative startups, NGOs and other facilitators. As mobile penetration deepens, it will also open more doors for low income groups to have access to better quality financial savings products. For instance, WhatsApp which has a total of 400M users in India, 15 million of which are small businesses, is targeting financial services such as insurance, micro-credit & pension for the rural/informal sector through ‘WhatsApp Pay’. The ‘Digital for Bharat’ challenge needs simplicity in the products & services being designed for the rural mass and finding innovative distribution channels to truly establish the roots of this market.

To know about how healthcare industry is bringing hospitals to a customer’s doorstep, watch our webinar on Digital Health Beyond COVID-19.

Further Readings:

  1. Reimagining Medical Diagnosis with Chatbots
  2. HealthTech 101: How are Healthcare Technologies Reinventing Patient Care
  3. What will be the state of the healthcare industry post pandemic?
  4. Healthcare Chatbots: Innovative, Efficient, and Low-cost Care
  5. Does Microinsurance work for India’s poor?
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How to increase patient engagement on a healthcare app?

By :
4 minutes, 9 seconds read

Patient facing mobile apps have emerged as a viable alternative to interact with patients and help them execute several tasks related to healthcare without reaching the hospital. Patients are now increasingly glued to these healthcare apps and their time spent on mobile devices has increased significantly. From communication and information to executing business through mobile apps have become a common thing.

Still, there is a lot of gap in the healthcare market. Marketers are struggling to gauge the true value of mobile apps for the bottom line of healthcare organizations. Especially in terms of the value of the app viz-viz the efforts, cost, and time it would take to become a useful and engaging healthcare app for the patient.

To help you increase the patient engagement on a healthcare app, here are a few crucial ways that you need to know. It will not only increase the engagement but will also help you meet your organizational goals at a faster pace.

1. Reduce Readmissions

Healthcare provider’s biggest pain point these days is to avoid readmission of preventable cases. It is crucial for healthcare organizations to reduce this number to enhance patient outcome and improve their revenue growth. Customized healthcare applications can assist hospitals in reducing the number of readmissions.

Here is how:

  • Offer personalized post-release information and instructions
  • Reminder for regular follow-up visits
  • Enforce stricter adherence to post-release prescription and regiment
  • Easier access to healthcare resources and information
  • Lesser cost and time of reaching out
  • Greater engagement to reduce readmission rates

2. Encourage Patients to Proactively Manage Their Health

Encouraging the patient to become proactive in managing their own health can help in improving the outcome and also enhance the reputation of your hospital. With easier access to the required resources and tools, patients are more likely to stay in touch with healthcare professionals and practice the wellness regimen. A properly optimized mobile app can deliver a better wellness experience to the patient and a greater sense of satisfaction.

Here is how an app can help the patient in managing their health proactively:

  • Keeps the patient informed and connected with relevant services
  • Encourages regular health tracking
  • Helps in developing healthy habits and exercises
  • Promotion of health education by streaming informations

3. Improve Trust and Build Relationships


Establishing trust between the patient and doctor is one of the difficult things that hospitals face. Due to long wait times, complex processes, or lack of communication between healthcare team; patients are not willing to attend healthcare appointments.

However, when you give all the relevant tools and information in the smartphone of the patient and empower them, the trust develops between the two parties and the patient proactively takes charge of their treatment. Hospitals can also gain competitive advantage by streamlining patient referrals and building stronger relationships with physicians.

Here is how apps can help:

  • You can provide access to a larger pool of specialists 
  • Help in easily accessing credentials, studies, and information from the mobile app
  • Recommend, network, and connect
  • Improve efficiency and workflow

4. Boost Brand Image and Reputation

Today patients can not be treated less than consumers. Hospitals are competing with each other to provide better care facilities and infrastructure at affordable prices. Hence, it has become crucial to achieve patient satisfaction and engagement. Through mobile apps, hospitals can make the existing information easily accessible along with brand awareness features including social media, photo galleries, virtual tours, and more.

Here is how mobile app can help:

  • Easier access to communication and information
  • Intuitive presentation of the hospital through immersive galleries
  • Stream ER wait time and other relevant information
  • Greater social media engagement

What more factors can increase engagement?

Several patients come to healthcare app once and then dump them after a few logins. One of the major reasons for such low engagement rates is that either the app is difficult to navigate or it is not immersive for the patient.

Consider these few points to make your app more engaging:

  • Customize the app as per the patient group. An app can appear differently to a child and an old age person. Develop an app that is easy to use for all users. Sit with your QA engineers to validate the functionality of your application thoroughly.
  • Build an app that is scalable and can be evolved over a period of time. Leave the possibility of enhancements and customizations that you would need in the future to keep the application viable.
  • It is a no brainer to give multiple options to your patients. Develop a cross-platform application that is compatible with both iOS and Android platforms and offers a rich user experience.

Wrapping Up

With the COVID-19 pandemic, people are more worried about visiting hospitals. Social distancing has become the norm and patients are more inclined towards telemedicine for their treatment. In such a tricky situation, it has become more crucial for hospitals to provide a robust, secure, and engaging mobile app to patients to interact with doctors, access information, and stay connected with the healthcare system.

About the Author

Erna Clayton is a techie with over 12 years of experience in several technological domains including quality assurance and software testing. In her free time, she loves travelling and writing on technology.

Further Readings:

  1. Building Consumer Trust in the Digital Healthcare Era
  2. HealthTech 101: How are Healthcare Technologies Reinventing Patient Care
  3. Virtual health: Delivering care through technology
  4. How Mobile Micro-Health Insurance can unlock ‘Digital for Bharat’?
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