Startups are increasingly counting on partnerships with payers and insurers to accelerate the commercialization of their solutions.
Health 2.0 was recently invited by AXA and the International Federation of Health Plans (IHFP) to be part of a meeting in Paris with 15+ European/global health insurers.
On March 14th, we took the opportunity to organize a Health 2.0 Paris meetup where we presented several solutions designed to be implemented or reimbursed by health insurers. They had mentioned a strong interest in wellness and prevention so we gathered a panel including: Smoke Watchers (smoking/vaping cessation, France), dacadoo (wellness and fitness mobile platform, Switzerland), StimuLab (coaching for long-term behaviour change, France), Qalyo (wellness and disease management, France), Wellmo (corporate health and wellness, Finland), Sonormed (diagnosis and treatment of hearing impairments, Germany), Infermedica (AI symptom-checker for patients and physicians licensed as an API, Poland), and Mediktor (AI-based integrated solution for triage and teleconsultation, Spain).
The presentations generated a strong interest and fueled a lively discussion. Insurers had lots of questions for our panel of presenters… but not necessarily the ones you would expect. We often think of insurers as payer organizations that only care about saving costs. But the ROI question was not raised once.
The questions were in fact a lot more basic. Does it work? How do you engage people in using it? Why should we trust you when you say you’re the best in the market? They seemed less concerned about ROI or cost savings than the fact that adopting these solutions meant engaging their brand in the partnership. What if it didn’t work? What if it failed to engage and deliver on the promise? What if the solution ended up ranking one of the worst and making them look bad with their customers?
Startups often ambition to become one-stop-shops for health and wellness. They build comprehensive suites that cover everything: smoking cessation, alcohol and other addictions, physical activity, stress management, etc… But most of the insurers in the room already had one or several of these modules covered, which raised another question: how do these solutions integrate with what they already had in place?
They were also more interested in adopting “the best” smoking cessation app, rather than adopting a one-stop-shop that included “a” smoking cessation module. So, when it comes to selling insurers, highly specialized and modular solutions may have an advantage.
Building their pipeline of solutions is certainly NOT a priority. They receive more information from startups every day than they can digest. But they all agreed startups were missing important clues about the industry. They don’t understand, for instance, the regulatory and security environment insurers live and breathe in.
We will look forward to continuing this discussion with insurers at Health 2.0 Europe 2017 on May 3-5 in Barcelona! Are you signed up yet?