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Metropolitan Health selects IBM to boost its healthcare offering

25 August 2014 Dylan Garnett, Metropolitan Health
Dylan Garnett, CEO of Metropolitan Health.

Dylan Garnett, CEO of Metropolitan Health.

There is no doubt that the advancement of technology is having a massive positive impact on the healthcare industry. From electronic health records to organ 3D printing, technology is working hard to effectively and efficiently resolve the healthcare challenges faced across the globe.

Locally, providers are gearing up to optimise their offerings. Metropolitan Health, the largest administrator of medical schemes in South Africa and a managed care provider, has selected IBM (NYSE:IBM) to assist it in boosting its healthcare offerings. The collaboration is intended to provide better, more cost effective service to members and the medical schemes that serve them, through improvements to Metropolitan Health’s industry-leading technology.

Dylan Garnett, CEO of Metropolitan Health, explains: “If used strategically, technology can assist in transforming the entire health ecosystem and it permeates every dimension of healthcare. We believe that the right technology applied in the right environment and with the right intent is a powerful tool.

“Our vision is to make healthcare accessible to more people, through living smarter. We were one of the first administrators to offer a digitalised service – eradicating the messy paper trail. Our progressive technology has always been our key differentiator, and this partnership with IBM is an evolutionary step in the journey.

“Choosing IBM will enable us to integrate their extensive expertise into the health and wellness sector, and entrench their technological innovation into our DNA. Their global capabilities will guide us in this process.”

Metropolitan Health and IBM are collaborating across a broad front of technology application and innovation, including advanced analytics to provide better insights into the medical needs of scheme members, as well as cognitive technology. Cognitive technology augments human knowledge and expertise, providing context to data.

To employ these technology innovations in creating the greatest impact for medical schemes, patients, doctors, and hospitals, IBM business consultants are working side-by-side with Metropolitan Health employees to streamline the company’s internal business processes, and the information foundation that supports employees in their day-to-day work. According to Vince Kasten, IBM’s Executive Partner for Healthcare and Insurance, “by combining technology innovation with improved business operations, Metropolitan Health will be able to affordably provide more helpful and personalised guidance and service to health professionals and their patients.”

“We are excited about this move towards becoming a Contextual Enterprise,” says Garnett. “It sounds like a jargon-heavy term, but what it means is that we will hold the necessary technology and capabilities to collect and analyse large volumes of patient data, and in addition, give that data context. This will allow us to make smarter decisions and constantly adapt and improve our offering, allowing us to reach far more South Africans.”

Quick Polls

QUESTION

No developing economy has ever built a single-payer complementary NHI equivalent covering the entire population. NHI promises comprehensive care but it is also 100% free at the point-of-service. Is this practical?

ANSWER

It is doable but collaboration is key
South Africa is not in a position to build NHI
The only conclusion possible is that the private healthcare sector is not going to disappear or change
There is little chance that the NHI will be able to receive significant government funding
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