As society moves ever closer to re-emergence following Covid-19, industries and organisations are looking to the future with optimism and relief. The turbulence of late has been well-documented, with 2020 proving to be a challenging year for everyone. Although every sector was affected to some extent, few faced the degrees of strain that those in healthcare did, something that applies in particular to healthcare payers.
With these, players now preparing to operate in the post-pandemic era, the industry as they know it has witnessed a fundamental overhaul - customer expectations have evolved, products have changed, operating models have been re-designed, compliance and regulations are becoming increasingly more challenging. Yet despite the altered landscape, different does not necessarily mean worse, and recent events have also yielded positive outcomes. Scalability and agility are the key takeaways. Both now rank as topmost priorities on every healthcare payer strategic agenda - and modernising IT systems represents the first step towards capturing the benefits associated with scalability and agility.
Beforehand, though, they must overcome an initial dilemma, one that is accompanied by several risks. Changing legacy core systems is an overarching requirement - and this is a task that has always entailed big budgets and lengthy processes. In addition, slow decision-making and low to non-existing budgets make it even more difficult for technology teams to implement changes. However, modern technologies offer a more sustainable route. Rather than traditional methods of replacing core systems with new ones, modern technologies enable a smooth, incremental change. If planned and executed correctly, customer experience gains will be attained, as will positive financial outcomes and operational efficiency.
Achieving legacy systems modernisation
As healthcare payers look ahead, successful legacy systems modernisation hinges on two powerful components. Both are vital for seamless, straightforward integration between legacy systems and new systems - and both provide the platform plasticity required to swiftly adapt to evolving demands and deliver new functionalities:
Driven through a rapid, frequent, and reliable delivery of applications, microservice architecture enables payers to evolve their respective technology stacks and accommodate changing business demands. Moreover, the architecture breaks an application down into core functions - each of which is a service that can be developed and deployed independently. Organised around business capabilities, the services are also tested independently, have the capabilities to function without compromising others in any capacity and communicate via APIs.Â
APIs enable different applications to interact quickly and seamlessly. The technology has witnessed an evolution in its own right, becoming a primary influencer in facilitating easy and efficient services development. Irrespective of their platforms, data structures, and underlying technologies, APIs introduce multiple applications to a new level of connectivity and data sharing. The innovative power they provide has resulted in APIs now being identified as a critical enterprise solutions component that influences operational bottom lines and drives efficiencies, growth, and innovation. This has created the API economy, which is loosely defined as the way APIs can positively affect an organisation's profitability.
A future of enablement and empowerment
As healthcare payers prepare to navigate the latter stages of the ongoing crisis and enter the post-pandemic era, microservice architecture and API economy present a smooth, incremental, and viable path to efficiently achieve legacy systems' modernisation for scalability and agility. A winning combination proved to deliver sustainability, the possibilities and potential that accompany the two are invaluable.
Besides creating avenues for healthcare payers to quickly adjust to evolving environments, microservice architecture and API economy streamline partner and provider engagement, deliver new generations of applications that equip members with more services, and embrace emerging technologies such as machine learning and IoT. Hosted along with legacy business-critical systems, this modern architecture represents a new window of opportunity for healthcare payers to replenish business models, promote innovation, achieve customer-centricity, and elevate operational excellence.
The Future of Insurance by Khaleej Times took place on January 25, 2021, virtually and brought together leading insurers, asset managers and technology experts from across the globe to discuss GCC's insurance industry, explore the best investment strategies in the next phase of growth, and examine the dramatic changes due to digitalisation.