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How artificial intelligence helps with aging population healthcare challenges

Singapore is facing what is colloquially referred to as a “silver tsunami” – or, in other words, a rapidly aging population. The effect on the healthcare sector will be large and there is a key question on everyone’s minds. Can artificial intelligence (AI) help? And if so, how will AI solutions work? This Pacific Prime Singapore article gives you the full lowdown, shedding light on the role of healthcare providers and health insurance companies.

Individual health insurance blog

Growing pressure on the healthcare system

It is estimated that one in four Singaporeans will be above the age of 65 by 2030, similarly causing a shift in disease load. This is because elderly people are prone to chronic health conditions like high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, cataracts, joint pains, arthritis, rheumatism or nerve pain, and diabetes.

What’s more, elderly people above the age of 75 are also more likely to experience some kind of difficulty with an activity of daily living (ADL). In other words, skills required to manage one’s basic needs like eating, showering, dressing, etc. Of course, this is dependent on the severity of the health condition.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said in a CNA article: “As our population ages and grows, demand for healthcare services also increases”.

If the increased demand isn’t met by increased resources, public healthcare will be strained and quality of care will be affected. One way to increase efficiency is to adopt AI solutions. Furthermore, there should also be a shift from acute to preventative care. Likewise, AI technology has a role to play.

AI’s potential as a tech-based solution

AI is easily the biggest buzzword to come out of the tech world in the last few years, but it’s actually a straightforward concept to get one’s head around. It involves the creation of algorithms or sets of rules to classify, analyze, and draw predictions from data. There’s also an element of acting on data, learning from data, as well as improving over time. It is a broad concept and has many subfields.

Increased efficiency in diagnosis

According to Bruce Liang, CEO of Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS), a technology agency for healthcare, Singapore’s healthcare industry is knowledge and labor intensive, and AI can “play a very big part in changing that”.

AI has the potential to increase diagnosis speed, reduce human error, and assist medical staff. For example, research from Google reveals that a deep learning algorithm beat a number of trained radiologists in detecting malignant lung nodules in more than 42,000 CT scans.

Focus on preventative care

New and evolving healthcare models are placing more emphasis on prevention and less on treatment. For example, Singapore has a national AI strategy for chronic disease management such as diabetes to identify people at risk and put them on early intervention programs.

The use of AI to identify and diagnose conditions earlier on will reduce the overall strain on healthcare resources. As per our 2019-2020 State of Health Insurance Report, AI will improve health outcomes by 30-40% and lower cost of treatment by up to 50%.

Insurers adopting AI and the rise of insurtech

The growing dominance of AI in the healthcare sector is causing health insurers to take notice. From utilizing AI in existing insurance processes to the creation of new insurance products in the insurtech industry, the opportunities for health insurers are indeed endless. Here, we’ll tell you two ways AI is transforming the health insurance industry and how they might benefit those that are looking to get insured:

  • Medical underwriting: This is the process that insurers follow to determine whether or not an applicant may purchase insurance, as well as decide the premiums at which to charge. Underwriters will increasingly be able to draw from data given by wearable devices and an individual’s past claim history, making the process far more accurate and speedy for the insured.
  • Claims management:Insurers have to manage claims or requests by the insured to seek payment or reimbursement for medical services. This is a manual process that can take many weeks. But, Prudential Singapore has an industry-first machine learning solution known as e-claims which shortens the time taken to mere seconds. This reduces paperwork on behalf of the insured and makes the process stress-free.

Need a health insurance plan? Pacific Prime can help

AI has the potential to alleviate some of the healthcare challenges stemming from an aging population. To learn more about the healthcare and health insurance landscape in Singapore, as well as the role of AI in more depth, check out our 2019-2020 State of Health Insurance Report.

If you’d like to take matters into your own hands, like many expats in Singapore, you can secure a health insurance plan that affords you with the best medical care in the city-state no matter what the situation in the public healthcare sector. Whatever it is you’re looking for, Pacific Prime Singapore can help.

From individual health insurance to senior citizen health insurance, we work with the leading insurers in Singapore to provide you with vetted plans. We can even help you find pre-existing coverage. Browse our online comparison tool to get a quote or, for specific requirements, you can also get in touch with one of our expert advisors.

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime Singapore
Suphanida aims to demystify the world of insurance by creating informative and engaging content. As a wordsmith, she spends the majority of her day writing and editing website content, blog posts, in-depth guides, and more.

Outside of work, Suphanida enjoys traveling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.