The critical risk of commoditisation must be tackled by abandoning an old-fashioned “pay the claim” PMI model in favour of excellent customer service powered by the latest technology.
This was the vision delivered by Dr Natalie-Jane Macdonald, managing director of Bupa UK Health Insurance, to Laing and Buisson’s audience.
Listing challenges including recession, a mature market and the dominance of the NHS, Dr Macdonald said the industry must focus on overall value rather than price in order to retain customers.
Dr Macdonald claimed that Bupa had received a number of complaints from customers sharing private facilities with NHS patients, highlighting the “increasing risk of commoditisation of the demand side” as underutilised private hospitals take on NHS Choices work.
Highlighting the failure of healthcare to adapt to modern technology and “put customers in the driving seat” she identified several opportunities to improve the PMI proposition including the use of customer data to improvement the management of health risks.
“Our health is not a commodity and there is a massive variation in the quality of health care and means of accessing it,” she said. “It is also subject to great asymmetry of information between the healthcare professionals and the consumer – all reasons why this is a sophisticated service area which should be at the far end of the spectrum from a commodity.”