Digitalising medical records could improve access to insurance, increase accuracy and speed up the application and claims process for consumers, it has been claimed.
The comments follow a report from the Chartered Insurance Institute, which outlines the work that needs to take place in order to build trust in electronic medical records to avoid the insurance profession having to make underwriting decisions and decide claims based on paper reports from GPs.
The report, which was produced in collaboration with SAMI Consulting, explains how digital medical records could speed up the underwriting and claims handling process.
The report outlines four things that need to happen to allow medical professionals to share digital medical records.
It says financial advisers should play an active role in advocating the use of digital medical records by GPs and insurers to speed up and improve the accuracy of medical information transfer in relation to a protection and other insurances.
In addition, a code of practice should be produced clarifying the use of data redaction systems to ensure public trust regarding data management; the implications of data sharing between GPs and NHS clinical commissioning groups for the insurance profession and other external data users must be explored; and research must be conducted into how to grant patients access to their own health data and the implications this could have on the insurance profession.
Richard Walsh, who led the research for SAMI Consulting, said digitalisation could lead to greater trust and claims certainty as underwriting could benefit from a richer pool of data.
“For GPs, greater digitalisation in general could create significant cost savings and streamline processes for receiving medical records, which could have further implications for the effectiveness of medical treatment,” he added. “Furthermore, the report could also have implications for access to insurance for people with pre-existing medical conditions.”
Melissa Collett, professional standards director at the CII, claimed that an end to printouts and copies of paper notes in response to requests made by insurers and other permitted third-parties, such as advisers, would speed up the process of arranging a policy or paying a claim.
Toby Bainbridge, head of protection solutions at Royal London, warned that digitalisation also comes with risks and that the industry must work with regulators and advisers in a transparent way to give consumers the confidence their data is secure and is used only for the purpose it is intended for.