|China population has been aging rapidly over the last two decades. Swift economic development and improvements in healthcare have led to an increase in life expectancy and decrease in mortality. The United Nations projects that there will be 366 million older Chinese adults by 2050 which represents an increase of adults aged 65 years and older from 12% of the population to an estimated 26%. Aging demographic shift on this scale is unprecedented, raising dire concerns about the health and well-being of older adults in China. Furthermore, the elderly population in China is facing increased health issues. These illnesses include higher rates of depression, difficulty with activities of daily living, body pain, and hypertension. The high pollution levels in China also pose additional health risks for older adults, especially those living in cities.
With a rise in aging population, accompanied with onset of chronic diseases and other aging-related illnesses, comes an increase in demand for medical and care solutions, creating considerable burdening challenges for the health system. The weight also falls on the elderly’s families, as family members are usually the primary source of caregiving for older adults in China, due to small family structure as well as cultural values. However, China’s rapid economic growth and urbanization have also led to a growing number of young adults in China moving from rural to urban areas for employment opportunities. The share of the population living in urban areas increased from 19% in 1980 to 60% in 2019. This trend has separated millions of older adults from their adult children, leaving many older family members alone, unattended, and uncared for.
The growing abundance in age-related health issues, if unmanaged, will result in increased need for care, leading to costly treatments. As a result, the need for accessible and affordable elderly care and healthy aging solutions has become significant. This is especially critical for elderly living at home with their adult children, as well as ones who live on their own. This need for solutions is observed not just in China, but across the globe, as the world is facing an accelerating aging society.
Pulse, an AI-powered medical symptom checking, wellness advice and telemedicine mobile solution, was launched by Prudential, a leading life insurer and asset manager in Asia, in August 2019. The goal is to create an ecosystem to make healthcare in Asia accessible and affordable.
Pulse is available in 12 markets and 10 languages, offers local users a holistic AI-powered, health management tool that includes wellness, health check, doctor’s consultation, electronic prescriptions, etc. The app serves as a 24/7 health and wellness partner, helping users prevent, postpone, and protect against the onset of diseases through a range of affordable healthcare and value-added services.
For instance, in Singapore, with life expectancy hitting 83.6 years in 2020, the emphasis needs to be on disease prevention, as chronic diseases continue to rise among the elderly. Pulse is designed to make Singaporeans more prepared to support healthy aging, as they look to continue to be productive members of the workforce in their golden years. Through the app, Pulse hopes to continue to empower its ageing workforce, by enabling individuals to better manage their health and wellbeing on a personal level, so that they can live well for longer and enjoy productive extended careers.
In Singapore, the Pulse app has partnered with multiple telemedicine providers across Asia. Partners include Babylon Health (symptom checker and health assessment), Tictrac (digital wellness services), MyDoc (telemedicine in Asia), Halodoc (digital healthcare in Indonesia), DoctorOnCall (online consultation in Malaysia), AIME (dengue tracker in Malaysia) and Boost (e-wallet in Malaysia). In addition to health-related services, through Pulse, Prudential customers can access to their own dashboard that provides a single view of their insurance plans in protection, savings, and investment with the company.
For patients, Medipass offers tools and experiences that empower them to make informed financial decisions through improved transparency of health care costs. For providers, Medipass helps to reduce the burden of payments administration by enabling them to raise and track claims to every insurer and scheme in Australia. Lastly, for funders, Medipass helps to reduce the cost of managing payments, while allowing insurers to connect and communicate with the providers and the patients.
Medipass is a tool that connects patients, providers and payers in a way that increases transparency, reduces administration, manages costs, and simplify the overall payment experience for everyone. The tool allows healthcare to be easily accessible and financially manageable.
Utilizing its nationwide health service network, Shanzhen provides customized health management solutions and system operation support for enterprises. It offers TPA services to provide insurance companies with medical and behavioral data of middle-aged and elderly customers and assess risk control measures to empower insurance product designs. It also offers risk reports for elderly policyholders and embed more tailored and targeted health management services into insurance products. Ultimately, Shanzhen focuses on two parts, health management services and insurance payments, establishing a closed loop of “customized medical examination – health management – health insurance”.
Authors: Tina JA, Director for Strategic Consulting, ASK Health
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