artificial intelligence and healthcare

Artificial Intelligence – Transforming India’s Health Care Industry

artificial intelligence and healthcare

The Indian Health care industry has been tested and found wanting. There is a dearth of trained doctors and clinicians, insufficient infrastructure and not enough government spending. And that is why artificial intelligence is the need of the hour. It can iron out the problems that currently plague the health sector.

What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence or Machine Intelligence created a stir when it was invented in the 1950s. The purpose was to make computers perform the same cognitive tasks as humans. Ever since then, AI has been revolutionizing every aspect of human life. And only recently has it forayed into healthcare and is already becoming indispensable.

How is Artificial Intelligence Deployed in Health Care?

Health Care has already adopted AI in the following capacities-

Drug Discovery

AI can come up with new drugs by sifting through vast databases of existing medicines, illnesses, pathogens, how they react with each other and the symptoms they produce in people. It can create numerous chemical combinations to see which can target particular pathogens. And it can do so in remarkably little time. And time is of the essence every time a hitherto unknown disease crops up and challenges the very existence of humanity.

Identification of Patient Risk

Hospitals maintain an extensive record of every patient’s medical history. Some hospitals field AI to trawl through the records to understand patterns of admissions, procedures, and complications. This helps them zero in on the areas where hospitals can improve their services. Patients gain from it as well, not only because they can access services that are more intensive but because AI can also predict all possibilities of likely future complications that may arise from their current ailment. So, doctors can advise them on preventive measures.

Primary Care

Some reputed healthcare bigwigs are experimenting with the concept of AI chatbots communicating with people on their social media pages. When people have come down with minor ailments like common cough and cold, allergies, seasonal flu, they can simply explain their symptoms to the chatbot who will then recommend over-the-counter medicines. This abolishes the need to go to the Out Patient Department for insignificant illnesses. And it also saves a lot of money because many people do not opt for health insurance policies with OPD coverage.

Radiology

AI in radiology can eliminate human errors and analyze images and scans with precision. When Machine Intelligence helps radiologists with diagnosis, there is no room for inaccuracy. It can draw the radiologist’s attention to all relevant points of interest that a human could have missed. Efforts are on to develop fully automated AI that does not require a human’s guidance to make a diagnosis.

Why Is India Primed For An AI Revolution In Health Care?

Unique problems encumber India. It’s vast expanse and federal structure means not everyone can access the same qualitative or quantitative health care services. The rural and urban gap runs deep and the demographics gap widens when per capita income is factored in. The skewed doctor to patient ratio stands at 1:1000, which is 10 times the number that WHO recommends.  Therefore, there is an urgent need for extending health care services to those who are being deprived of it and the technology that can facilitate it already exists – smartphones. India can boast of extensive smartphone penetration with 37 crore people using one in 2019. So, a huge chunk of the Indian population can access AI medical health care.

What Challenges Might Artificial Intelligence Face In India?

The real impediment to rolling out AI-powered health care is the slow pace at which digitization is proceeding. In rural India, most of the records are maintained in paper and stowed away in folders.

The other challenge is ethical. The health care industry revolves around the doctor-patient confidentiality agreement. To implement AI, there needs to be sharing of patient data between health service providers and AI companies which becomes a breach of medical ethics. That is why some human rights monitors may throw up roadblocks.

Conclusion

The sky is hardly the limit when it comes to how Healthcare AI can usher in dramatic innovations in the field of medical science.

The developments in medical sciences have revamped the way we perceive the health service industry, quite literally. Technology now assuredly brings health care one step closer to you, read this article to know how.

health insurance policy benefits

What can you expect from your Medical Insurance Policy?

health insurance policy benefits

You may have decided that you need a medical insurance plan but, don’t just purchase the first policy that comes your way. Choosing the right policy requires time and research. You don’t want to be strapped down with a health scheme that does not meet your requirements or one that has a distressingly long list of exclusions. Read on to learn what an ideal health insurance policy should offer.

Coverage

A medical insurance policy is as effective as the coverage it provides. This is the chief draw for people looking for a health scheme. It promises to foot the bill for most medical procedures that you may have to undergo in the event of an illness.  Ideally, it should cover-

  • Cost of medicines
  • Doctor’s and nurses’ fees
  • Cost of prosthetic devices
  • Room rent when you are hospitalized
  • Both pre and post hospitalization charges
  • Bills incurred in the aftermath of treatment, surgery, therapy

 

Cashless Network of Hospitals

Another perk that a medical insurance policy offers you is the opportunity to seek treatment in network hospitals. Many hospitals are tied up with insurers to provide you with the benefit of cashless treatment. That means you don’t have to pay in cash for the treatment that you receive. Once your doctor discharges you, your insurance policy will clear all the payments directly.

Maternity Benefits

Most health care plans these days make room for maternity benefits as an add-on cover. This cover is beneficial for women or couples who are planning to start a family in the near future. Some of the benefits you can enjoy with this cover are-

  • Hospitalization fees and room rent
  • Tests to determine the health  of the new-born
  • Consultation fees of gynaecologists and doctors
  • Health check-ups and both pre and post natal tests
  • Childbirth expenses (includes both caesarean and normal delivery)

 

No Claim Bonus (NCB)

This is a reward that your medical insurance policy gives you if you go a whole year without making any claims on your policy. You can accrue NCBs over the years and use them to receive a discount on the premium you are paying or you could increase your sum insured without incurring any additional costs.

Out Patient Department (OPD) Expenses

All those visits you make to the outpatient department to consult a doctor for minor illnesses such as common cough and cold or seasonal allergies can sometimes be expensive. That is why health insurance policies today, come with an OPD coverage. It’s benefits are-

  • Pay the doctor’s fees
  • Covers the cost of medicines
  • One can seek a consultation at a network hospital
  • One doesn’t have to be hospitalized to claim the pay-out

 

Regular Health Check-ups

Most health insurance policies make provisions for regular health check-ups. This is particularly helpful because even if the illness were setting in, your doctor would detect it right away and put you under medication. This significantly increases your risk of complete recovery.

If you think you need a comprehensive health check-up, you can talk with a doctor through MediBuddy’s E-consultancy services.

No Red Tape regarding Renewal

Renewal is simple and you can do it whenever necessary. Many policies give you the benefit of lifelong renewal. And there is no age bar either.

Tax Benefits

Under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act of 1961, a health insurance policy entitles you to tax benefits. This is because the sum insured is not considered as an income and so it’s exempt from tax.

Conclusion

It is important to choose your health insurance policy wisely because it will definitely ensure that you don’t face any distress in times of emergencies.

Choosing the right Health Insurance Policy can be quite tedious and time consuming. The right decision is always a well-informed one. Want to know the Current Trends & Public Opinion on Health Insurance in India? Read our infographic to stay aware!

Are You Happy With Your Health Insurance Policy?

Are You Happy With Your Health Insurance Policy?

Are You Happy With Your Health Insurance Policy?

The fact that more and more people are realizing the need of purchasing a health insurance policy is a sign of improvement. But the cause of concern is that people don’t seem to be very satisfied with the policy they have already purchased.

Dissatisfaction is rife

A recent survey revealed that many policyholders are not happy with their health insurance policies. The policies that are currently available do not satisfy nearly 48% of the insurance-buyers. Discontentment levels are highest among people in the 60-64 years age bracket. Nearly 67% of senior citizens feel that there is much more to be desired from their policies. Insurers cannot simply wish away this staggeringly high number, because, elderly people are much more likely to need their policies to be sound as they are more vulnerable to illnesses. They should get the benefits that they are paying for. If they are unsatisfied, it means that the health insurance policies are not delivering what they had promised. Among the younger generations, especially among those aged 25-45 years, the dissatisfaction rate is 42%.

There could be a few reasons as to why people end up with an inadequate policy. Sometimes, they do not carry out an extensive background check on the insurer and simply rely on the promises of the insurance agents who will, of course, sing the praises of the insurance company that has hired them. Alternatively, sometimes people buy a policy that demands a nominal premium, but the coverage they offer is not extensive. And sometimes, people are in a hurry to cash in on tax benefits guaranteed by the Income Tax Act and are not discerning while choosing the ideal policy.

The survey also found that those who are content with their medical policies actually bought policies from reputed insurance companies and did not allow thrift to determine which policy they should buy.

To help people avert the pitfall of buying the wrong kind of policy, insurers have decided to compile a list of all the features, benefits and caveats of the health policies that they are selling. This will ensure that people make an informed decision. After all, a health insurance policy has far-reaching implications on an individual’s personal finances. So, if you are looking to buy a health insurance policy, do not allow paying a small premium blind you to the merits of a sound and comprehensive policy.

Another way that a person can escape unscathed from the mistake of having purchased an insufficient policy is the free-look period. During this period, you can assess if the policy is working out for you. If you are not satisfied with the provisions, you can bail out and cancel this policy and the insurer will refund you the entire value of the premium you had paid.

Renewal Costs are on the Rise

An unsavoury trend in the insurance sector is the uncontrolled hike in premiums. This is yet another reason why people are not happy with their health insurance policies. It could be because of the steadily rising inflation rates. Medical costs are soaring as well, simultaneously. Hence, insurers have to regularly revise their premium rates to compete with the market trends. While this has made policyholders grumpy, they can actually thank the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA) because, in 2013, it did away with the practice of claim based loading. Earlier insurers used to increase the premium renewal price for people who had made a medical claim the previous year.

Consumer activists have noticed that insurers charge reasonable rates when the policyholders are young and healthy. But, once they grow older and become more likely to contract illnesses, the insurance companies raise the premium. This clearly shows why the elderly policyholders are mostly disgruntled.

The best step you can take in such circumstances is to compare the premium rates of different policies for the next ten years and opt for one that seems to be within your reach. But again, don’t let the motive of cost cutting drive you.

Abysmal Claim Settlement

The same survey also threw light on the fact that 60% of the people who made a medical claim were dissatisfied. 65% of the unhappy clientele chalked it up to partial claim fulfilment. 42% were aggrieved because of a delay in the claim settlement process.

All health insurance plans contain exclusions. Some insurers add a few more exclusions to the list at the time of renewal under the ruse of ‘reasonable and customary changes’, which is another cause of justified anger among many policyholders.

But sometimes, insurers are not really at fault. Insured people often forget that though pre-existing illnesses are covered, they can only receive the benefits of their medical policy once the waiting period of 1-4 years has lapsed. And sometimes people aren’t entirely transparent when it comes to pre-policy declarations and in such cases, the insurer reserves the right to reject any medical claim.

So, before purchasing healthcare plans, meticulously examine the terms and conditions and the list of exclusions. Be honest and up-front when you fill out the form to eliminate the possibility of claim rejection. And research the claim settlement record of the insurer.

Moreover, if policyholders have reasons to complain, they can approach the Insurance Ombudsman’s office to seek redressal. And if that does not go in your favour, you can take your grievances to consumer courts.

What do Policyholders want?

The demands of policyholders are not unreasonable. They simply want insurers to deliver what they had promised:

  • They want the terms and conditions to be unambiguous and transparent.
  • Policyholders want access to network hospitals as well as Out Patient Department coverage.
  • They want no sub-limits on room rent.
  • They want loyalty discounts for long-term policyholders.

Conclusion

Customer satisfaction reflects how well insurance companies are faring. It is also instrumental to their success. So before long, the insurance companies should find ways to root out all the hitches lest they begin to lose their customer base.

Choosing the right Health Insurance Policy can be quite the task. The right decision is a well-informed one. Want to know the Current Trends & Public Opinion on Health Insurance in India? Read our infographic to stay aware!

Health Insurance Trends

Health Insurance: Current Trends & Public Opinion

What is the pulse of Urban India when it comes to health insurance? With steep healthcare costs, it’s a given that health insurance has become a necessity. We take a look at the preferred mode of getting Health Insurance and the health benefits that Indians look for in their cover. Here’s our ‘tell-all’ infographic on the choices that Indians are making related to health insurance! Psst! Keep reading till the end to know how to get the right health policy for you and your dependents.

Health Insurance Trends