NIB touts tech rehab as financial restorative

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NIB touts tech rehab as financial restorative

For better cost management.

Newcastle-based health insurer nib has touted digital technologies and data science-enabled personalisation as the “bedrock” of its business strategy in its full-year results on Monday.

The company, which flagged a $149.3 million post-tax annual profit, said in its results the personalisation push would impact its relationships with members, its products and services, and the information provided to doctors and clinicians.

It's not a bad performance considering Australians are gradually abandoning private health cover in droves, with other insurers sure to be looking for lessons in what went right for nib.

Nib revealed its tech overhaul and cloud push in iTnews in Fberuary last year. 

Chief executive Mark Fitzgibbon said the digital strategy is designed to help members make better healthcare decisions, admitting that while the insurer still has “a long way to go”, it is starting to make headway.

“For example, today we have digital platforms to improve health literacy such as “The
Check-Up” as well as assist members in choosing a healthcare provider,” Fitzgibbon said.

The insurer also recently partnered with HealthShare to clarify whether its members will be charged out-of-pocket fees when being referred to a specialist.

As part of nib’s no-gap scheme, Medigap, GPs and patients and will now have access to the list of participating specialists through GP consultation software, nib’s website, and HealthShare.

The partnership with HealthShare will show the frequency with which nib members have been charged a gap or out-of-pocket expense by specialists, while also displaying sub-specialties, special interest areas, languages spoken, hospital affiliations, and their capacity to take on urgent appointments.

Fitzgibbon noted that out-of-pocket costs are one of the biggest pain points in the healthcare system, and that he sees the partnership with HealthShare as a way to emulate TripAdvisor’s success in empowering travellers by making the tourism industry more transparent.

“That's why we continue to seek new ways to correct the current information asymmetry by sharing information such as patient reviews and quality indicators," he added.

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