This has seen us introduce new, market-leading virtual health services to help expand access to care and minimise the risk of infection by attending in-person services. With our own virtual health platform seeing a 500% increase in usage in the past year, we know there’s real demand from customers in accessing virtual care, and our research shows this is growing year on year.
Virtual care and telemedicine have taken centre stage the past year, and our decision to start integrating virtual care delivery with in-person care services before the pandemic hit was extremely pivotal. So many places across the world were overwhelmed with COVID-19 and our virtual support helped people to continue accessing care when physical premises were closed.
To help customers with existing and new medical conditions, we recently launched a Symptom Checker pilot in alliance with Infermedica, a leading specialist in developing AI tools for triage and preliminary medical diagnosis. In easy steps, the online Symptom Checker lets customers input their medical symptoms, uncovers the possible causes of their symptoms, and signposts them to the right care by suggesting next steps, including recommendations for a specialist or doctor. Customers can also use it to gather information ahead of a consultation, helping to put more information in their hands.
Originally launched over a six-month period for a selection of EU Corporate, IO & Spain domestic clients, the feedback has been incredibly positive. So much so, that we have extended the pilot for another six months. Already available in multiple languages, we have also extended its usage to Cigna Envoy to let more people access the programme.
We’re continually challenging ourselves to deliver innovative, market-leading solutions that not only improve access and enhance patient experience but transform healthcare delivery. Following the pandemic outbreak, we launched Teladoc, the first to market telephonic GP service for Fully Insured UK healthcare plan customers. In addition, we provided our customers with access to our industry-leading online self-help platform, Living Life to the Full, which offers valuable emotional well-being support based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
The innovations are underpinned by our new Whole Health approach, a five-year strategic overhaul to our healthcare plans, placing a greater emphasis on putting the care back into healthcare, whilst helping people address the significant disruption to their lives, brought by the pandemic.
This new approach aims to extend beyond the typical provisions of ‘body and mind’ support to help people stay healthy and well in an ever-changing world. It follows extensive research into the current state and future of care delivery, recognising that Whole Health is more than just physical and mental health – it’s everything that makes up our world; our family, friends, work-life balance, access to care, finances and home environment. A difficulty in any one of these areas can have an immediate knock-on effect on a person’s whole health, so it’s incredibly important to ensure people have the correct support network in place.
The symptom checker is available for pilot clients through Cigna’s Wellbeing app or via Cigna Envoy.