Tech adoption heats up

One differentiator between our current study and our 2016 Work Ahead study is that payers are now better positioned to derive value from the volumes of medical data generated by health information technology (HIT). Leveraged though AI and analytics, this data will be an essential building block to provide more accurate, real-time insights to guide policy development, population trend analysis and customer marketing.

Payers are ahead of the cross-industry average in their implementation of chatbots, IoT and blockchain. The strongest area of adoption is in chatbots; 46% have implemented them, more than double the average of all industries (19%) (see Figure 3). Chatbots draw from a wide span of data sources to automate the sales effort or manage enrollee benefits – both priority objectives and high ROI opportunities.

A large majority (74%) of payers are now using digital technology to augment their sales process, while 90% expect their use of digital to improve the sales effort by 2023. Forty percent are now using IoT, which is above the cross-industry average (26%). This uptake is fueled in part by the increase in wearable devices used for remote care monitoring.

The weakest areas of adoption are in physical robots, virtual reality and software robots. While there are scant blockchain implementations, 40% are now piloting this technology, suggesting it will have a purposeful role in the not-so-distant future. AI adoption is also at a relatively nascent stage, with less than one-third reporting some degree of implementation.

Chatbots, IoT, big data lead digital technology implementations

Respondents were asked about the progress they’ve made in implementing a variety of technologies to augment processes. (Percent of respondents)

Response base: 50 U.S. healthcare payers Source: Cognizant Center for the Future of Work Figure 3