AXA Next: understanding the future

Global access to healthcare

PUBLISHED: 15 June 2020 | LAST UPDATED: 29 June 2020

Whether it’s the video calls we use to keep in touch with family far away, the apps we use to translate languages, or the easy access to online maps to help us find our way, digital technology is changing almost every aspect of our lives. Could the availability of this technology help us to feel more confident about adventuring abroad in the future? Some places around the world have used technology to reach new heights, becoming Smart Cities, and Singapore is well on its way to becoming a Smart Nation. 

How is tech changing healthcare?

Across the world, organisations are looking at ways to use technology to make health services easier to access and more affordable. They’re using the power of smart devices, paired with online tools to create systems that are accessible for everyone, from almost anywhere. The up rise in these services, such as telemedicine, has been game-changing for globe-trotters who spend their time across a number of countries, often without easy access to trusted healthcare where they are. 

Smart medicine 
Wearable technologies, like fitness trackers, have made it easier for us to keep an eye on our health – truly putting us in the driving seat of our own wellbeing. It’s easy to lose track of our health with the hectic lives we’re all living now. From the amount of sleep we’re getting to how many steps we do a day, it can be tricky to keep on top of it with a global lifestyle, but these small things can make a big difference.

Technology and mental health 
Technology is also shaping the future of mental health. As a world of movers and shakers who often aren’t in any one place for very long, mobile solutions are very important for us all to be able to keep tabs on our mental health. This technology has proved popular not only with individuals, but also employers who have employees on international assignments. Our 2017 World of Work report showed that 28% of international assignments had been terminated as the employee and their family were having difficulties adjusting to the lifestyle and unfamiliar cultures of their new country. Digital mental health solutions are helping to keep employees well, easing the adjustment not only for them, but for their families too. 

The surge in of mental health apps is helping to raise awareness and reduce some of the stigma that is often faced with mental illness. With untreated mental health conditions making up 13% of the total global burden of diseases, this is great news. 

Introducing you to AXA Next 

AXA Next was launched as an independent AXA entity at the beginning of 2019, to keep a finger on the pulse of emerging start-up businesses, innovations, and technologies, and to use these elements to benefit the other AXA entities across the globe. There are currently three main areas of focus: health, platforms, and commercial lines.  

With health as one of their key areas of focus, AXA Next works with start-ups as well as larger businesses, and all its local in-market teams to champion innovation across the AXA Group. They currently have representatives in Asia, Europe and the USA who keep track of the big players in the health industry and report on key insights and findings in the market.

Who is AXA Next working with right now? 
AXA Next overlooks and helps some of AXA’s most innovative ideas, which aim to promote health and wellbeing, widen access to care, and improve the services available.

Maestro health 
Maestro health is an employee health and benefits company based in the USA. It uses an integrated digital platform to provide businesses and their employees with hassle-free control of their health benefits. They joined forces with the AXA brand last year and used that platform to promote and launch their service.

Padoa 
Through a combination of technology, data analysis and a medical team, Padoa is transforming occupational health and how it’s managed. Based in France, Padoa is shifting attitudes from an employer obligation to a real opportunity to invest in employees’ health and well-being; encouraging collaborations between employers and their teams.

Birdie 
Birdie is a London-based care technology platform. It’s a service available in the form of an app, where families and carers can keep a log of the care that’s being given at home, giving friends and family one less thing to worry about. This is particularly helpful in today’s world where we’re busier than ever before and often far away from our families.

What’s happening around the world? 

The health-tech industry is growing quickly in the USA, Europe and the Asia Pacific regions. These three areas pose different needs and opportunities for health-tech start-ups to address, and they are faced with different challenges. 

Asia Pacific 
The Asia Pacific region is home to many technologically advanced nations including Japan and South Korea, but many countries also have gaps in their public health systems and services. Many governments are actually encouraging health-tech providers to develop ‘offline’ services – such as health centres and clinics – which work with online solutions like health apps, to provide more seamless care. And Chinese telehealth providers are certainly leading the pack.

It’s predicted that over a quarter of the population – around 1.3 billion people – in the Asia Pacific region will be aged 60 or over by 2050. Technology developed today will be crucial in managing the health and wellbeing of older people in the future, by focussing on preventing diseases, managing chronic conditions and improving access to services. In Singapore, families can already monitor the wellbeing of elderly relatives while they’re home alone, and robots are even delivering fitness classes to older people. 

Europe 
Generally, Europe hasn’t seen health-tech and telemedicine take off as quickly as the USA or Asia. This is largely because of legislation and regulations that vary across many EU nations and make it hard for companies to roll their services out across the whole region. 

Much of Europe is fortunate enough to have reliable and affordable public health services, so there’s been less demand. This, however, is changing and telemedicine has started to become more popular. Like Asia, Europe also has an ageing population so technology will be crucial in developing health and social care support for older people. 

USA 
The cost of healthcare continues to rise in the USA and health-tech has an important part to play in making sure people are able to access affordable healthcare. Telemedicine lets people seek treatment quickly, rather than put off the expense of visiting a doctor – getting advice early on is key for better long-term health and wellbeing.

New players in the healthcare industry may also be able to help slow the rising prices of medicines and healthcare equipment, which is good news for those in the USA, as it means medical inflation may be more controlled.

Looking to the future 

We’re likely to see more and more innovative companies offering different solutions to the challenges of health and wellbeing. 

Investment across the health-tech industry is aimed at maintaining good health and managing chronic conditions. Technology helps people to take control of their health – whether that’s tracking their exercise and nutrition, monitoring their fertility or regulating their blood sugar – and provides the tools they need to take early action if they do become unwell. It’s clear from AXA Next’s work that local cultures seem to play a big part in which services take off in different areas of the world, but these are likely to continue to evolve and adapt as we shift towards a more digitally integrated world.

We’re excited for what the future has in store, and AXA Next gives us the opportunity to work with some of the most innovative organisations in the industry. Through these partnerships we’re able to empower our customers to live active, healthy lives. 

Speak to a doctor wherever you are 

One of the things that’s clear across all three regions is the rise in tele-medicine – where people can speak to a doctor over video call at a time and place that suits them. All AXA Global Healthcare members* have access to our Virtual Doctor service, just like those we’re seeing becoming more popular around the world. So no matter where they are, or what time it is, there’s always the reassurance of talking to a doctor about whatever is that’s on their mind – no matter how big or small the issue. 

You can find out more about the service and how it could help you, here.

Not an AXA member? 

If you’re not already an AXA member, you can find out more about our health plans and how they could help you, here

*The Virtual Doctor from AXA service is now available to all individual and SME members (excluding those whose health plan is insured by AXA General Insurance Hong Kong Limited). Access to the Virtual Doctor from AXA service is available for all Large Corporate groups who have not chosen the upgrade, until 30 September 2020. If you are unsure, please check with your AXA representative.

Sources: 

  1. https://mipaa.unescapsdd.org/files/documents/SDD%20Ageing%20Fact%20Sheet%20Overview.pdf 
  2. https://www.iotforall.com/singapore-smart-city/ 
  3. https://patient.info/symptom-checker 
  4. AXA Next corporate and business toolkit 
  5. Global Health Trends 2019 from AXA Next Labs
  6. AXA Next Labs Trend Report 2018/19
  7. https://www.axa.com/en/newsroom/publications/the-future-of-mind-health-and-well-being