By Reon Janse van Rensburg
Solidarity Crisis Summit 21 August 2018 – National Health Insurance
Speaker : Mr Bryan Sidders
Founder of Prior Mobile
Bryan Sidders is the founder and owner of Prior Mobile, currently part of Prior Ditema. Prior Mobile is a unique mobile medical scheme application and includes mobile pre-paid health vouchers that offer simple and low-cost access to health care to those who cannot afford medical scheme cover. Brian has 45 years of experience in the South African health care industry. He also created, designed and manufactured the plastic hospital patient identity band that is used in almost every hospital today.
According to Mr Bryan Sidders the need for health reform is vast, especially for the greater population. There is still huge disparity between state and private health care delivery leaving the majority of the population without access to quality health care. The problem with medical schemes are that most people still cannot afford them as the costs for private health care keep escalating.
He added that the whole industry seems to be stuck on a roller coaster as there is no real innovation. We cannot address the issue of health delivery if access has not first been sorted out. The industry is protecting the money they are busy making.
He also stated that the move to digital transformation is happening too slow. Digital transformation gives cost effectiveness to the industry and also adds much needed simplicity. We need new, creative, out of the box thinking!
It is the opinion of Mr Sidders that the private industry must take more initiative for solutions instead of waiting for NHI as the NHI’s strategies are too narrow and will take far too long to implement. Moreover, there will not be adequate coverage.
“The truth is that the state is still struggling to manage state hospitals as we speak so how are they planning on managing the NHI? The NHI and government’s plans are very vague, and the only thing that we can be sure about is that the NHI as a national solution is many years away and will be minimal due to a lack of funds,” – Mr Bryan Sidders.
Mr Sidders discussed the enormous barriers that the Department of Health is facing, such as finances, resources, the lack of health service providers and fear of non-payment. He added that private enterprises must step up and bring a solution to these problems, especially for the workforce.
What are the issues for the future?
The realities around health insurance are that insurance companies have filled a gap in the medical schemes market with some good products but also with many bad products, some of which are mostly semi-legal.
He added that some health insurance is appropriate but too much of it has no merit. He also pointed out that many people misunderstand health insurance and then lose out. People are being misled by health insurance companies. Mr Sidders also said that it is unrealistic that health insurance can operate with less regulations. Mr Sidders is of the opinion that mobile health vouchers offer a much broader solution.
“We all want and need more access to health but this should be realistic and pragmatic. Allow the private sector to cover the employed uninsured so that the state is left with a much lower burden and also with more achievable goals,” Mr Sidders said.
He added that the current noise that is being made about the NHI is a concern for both employers and practitioners. Most doctors and practitioners are needed in the health delivery process but fear non-payment by the state. We therefore need a system that empowers and rewards health practitioners adequately and one that also pays.
He stated that mobile pre-paid health vouchers offer simple, cost effective solutions and guarantee overnight payment as the vouchers offer auto payment systems, promptly and cashless.
Mobile technology is the most underutilised resource in the health care industry
According to Mr Sidders, mobile technology will cost less to implement and operate than any other health system. Mobile vouchers will speed up NHI by years thanks to simplicity of systems and lower costs. It is also easy to understand and to use for members or patients. These vouchers will work in the remotest of areas which makes them safe for practitioners and their staff. This technology creates opportunities for new private clinics all over the country.
Why use cellular technology?
Mr Sidders explained why cellular technology should be used. and according to him almost zero capital is needed as the technology and infrastructure is in place and is already nationwide. This cannot be said of computer technology which remains extremely capital intensive. There are no costs for upgrade and no costs for maintenance. There are minimal hardware and software costs. The service van also be used in remote areas and minimum education is required. Most of the target market have cell phones and know how to use them and this is a low-cost option.
Mobile pre-paid health vouchers is a good alternative solution to gain access to private health and offers guaranteed payments to doctors. It has no monthly premiums and no underwriting of age or health.
How does membership work?
Every member has a member ID and is verified by the scheme. This removes the risk for the practitioner and also reduces the work for the practice manager. Instant and urgent communication goes directly to the members which makes it the ideal membership system for NHI. It consists of a centralized national database. It also allows for the management of chronic patients and medication. This system provides cost reduction and introduces efficiencies to administrators.
For more information visit www.priormobile.co.za