Why has Bupa chosen to launch its own branded medical and dental clinics in Hong Kong, and what benefits will it bring to the company and to its members?
We have launched a total of seven Bupa Medical and Dental Centres, marking as Hong Kong’s first insurer-owned medical facilities. We hear the challenges people encounter when handling medical insurance-related procedures and looking for comprehensive healthcare support. Therefore, we strive to offer a truly end-to-end experience to all Bupa members with advanced equipment and medical services, as well as personalised support care, leveraging the medical expertise of our local healthcare services arm, Quality HealthCare (QHMS).
Members can receive multiple specialist consultations, day surgeries and diagnostic imaging services with hospital-grade facilities. Bupa’s service assistants also ensure the members are taken care of, catering to their needs from follow-ups to other administrative works. They can also enjoy cashless treatment with a Bupa Medical Card.
With the launch of these medical and dental clinics, we bring forward a unique model that underscores our commitment to curating a healthcare ecosystem, benefiting members with a diverse range of healthcare services beyond insurance coverage, all delivered by our own team of health experts and managed by our service assistants. This enables a holistic journey from prevention, medical treatment to claims settlements, allowing customers to focus truly on recovery and rehabilitation.
How is Bupa’s vision being achieved by providing primary care services through QHMS?
Bupa is an international healthcare company with both health funding and provision. The acquisition of QHMS, one of Hong Kong’s largest private clinic networks, in 2013, is a key milestone in our journey to transform the way we provide healthcare. Together, we create a holistic healthcare ecosystem benefitting customers with a diverse range of healthcare services beyond insurance protection, and through a seamless end-to-end experience from health protection, prevention, treatment and recovery to health and wellness management.
We are the first insurer in Hong Kong to offer both health insurance and wholly owned health services through our three Bupa Medical Centres and four Bupa Dental Centres – conveniently located to enable members easy access to specialised medical facilities and exclusive services, leveraging the medical expertise of QHMS. With these medical and dental centres, customers can save the hassle and time traditionally needed in a fragmented healthcare system.
We are the first insurer in Hong Kong to offer both health insurance and wholly owned health services through our three Bupa Medical Centres and four Bupa Dental Centres
What is the demographic of your customer base in Hong Kong, and what trends are you seeing with regards the demands are changing from your customer base as a result of Covid-19?
We have a strong corporate business with a rapid growth of individual customers. Group members constitute around 70 per cent of the business, while 30 per cent are individual members.
Covid-19 fuels the growth of health awareness in Hong Kong. Our corporate clients have high expectations in how the pandemic impacted their employees, and the suggestions from insurers to tailor related support. We see many more corporate clients expanding their health and wellness programmes that provide both physical and mental support for their employees, facilitated digitally, as the pandemic has transformed the normal working environment.
Our employer and employee health and wellness survey revealed that employees are also looking for more flexibility and protection on top of their group coverage, beyond their current employment. To meet this rising demand from the public, we have therefore introduced the new VTop scheme. This scheme allows group members and their dependants to enrol without underwriting to enjoy additional coverage beyond their employee benefits plans, including more comprehensive cancer and mental health treatments.
Our retention of corporate clients remains very high despite the challenges of Covid-19 outbreak, evidence of strong partnerships we have built and their desire to engage with our holistic workplace health plans.
At the same time, with increasing health consciousness among the public, we have also upgraded our Bupa Hero VHIS Plan with more comprehensive cancer protection and worldwide coverage, so that people can better take care of their physical health and mental wellbeing.
With medical cost inflation continuing, how does Bupa plan to continue to offer its members value for money?
We remain optimistic about the future while staying competitive in our corporate and individual businesses. While other insurers usually partner with external providers on medical services provision, the unique position of Bupa offering both health insurance and health provision allows us to ensure efficiency and save costs by streamlining processes, with rounds of administration work from one entity to another removed.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has accelerated our plan for digitalisation
At Bupa, we innovate continuously in healthcare services, operation processes and customer experience to make healthcare much easier and more accessible. The outbreak of Covid-19 has accelerated our plan for digitalisation, centring healthcare support around our customers and bringing services closer to them. We are now rapidly digitalising our customers’ journey and we aim to have HK$200 million in investments on digital innovation within the next few years.
How is the company employing digital solutions to ensure customers have access to the right care, at the right time?
Though we have a long-standing history, we see ourselves as a contemporary disruptor in the industry, growing quickly along with the times and transforming traditional healthcare delivery.
We are committed to providing valuable healthcare services that are driven by customer needs and enabled digitally. At Bupa, we help our people to develop digital literacy via various workshops and trainings, equipping them with the latest digital knowledge, skills and insights in the healthcare industry. Concurrently, we also help to discover and nurture young generations with the same ambition through the HealthHACK programme, leading the industry to find innovative solutions and meet evolving customer needs.
We rapidly digitalised our customer journey to make healthcare easier, more cost effective and more accessible, from enrolment to claims settlement, from medical treatment, video consultation, and a health dashboard in an app, to health and wellness management, integrating all our digital capabilities to bring a seamless and one-stop experience for our customers.
We are focusing on healthcare support around the patients themselves instead of the physical clinics, bringing services closer to them.
What do you personally enjoy most about living and working in Hong Kong?
I love how dynamic Hong Kong is from both a business and living perspective. I had a few years in Singapore before coming to Hong Kong and so I am often asked to compare the two. I personally see more business opportunities in Hong Kong. It has been a tough two and half years here for businesses, and yet I still see exciting opportunities in healthcare, which is why I see Hong Kong as a compelling place for Bupa to be. For example, it allows us to be innovative in our approach to transform the entire healthcare ecosystem by launching the first insurer-owned medical facilities in the city.
In terms of living, I love the fact that Hong Kong has so many hikes and islands to visit. I must say that it is also a foodie’s paradise. I love living and working here and I hope to be here for a very long time.
To some degree I thrive on overcoming obstacles so this has kept me passionate about our industry
What has been the most challenging moment of your career to date, and how did you overcome it?
I am lucky to have had a very long career in an exciting industry, but there have been challenges in nearly every year of my working life. To some degree I thrive on overcoming obstacles so this has kept me passionate about our industry.
Without any doubt though, Covid-19 has been the most challenging issue I have ever had to deal with because HK was at the forefront of this pandemic back at the start of 2020, and nowhere in the world had been through what we were experiencing. So in the early days of Covid-19 we were trailblazing for the rest of the Bupa group worldwide, in terms of planning and how to deal with this pandemic. I do not think anyone genuinely expected that Covid would still be around two years later. I am proud, though, of how our team dealt with this situation. Throughout the whole two-plus years, we have always prioritised staff safety and provided our customers with protection and great service in a time when they have needed it more than ever. We had not anticipated large proportions of our team to work from home for such long periods of time, and we had to quickly mobilise ourselves to deal with this. I am really pleased that during this time, our staff engagement has gone up. I believe in part because they feel Bupa cared about them when it really mattered.
During this time, on the customer side, we have also seen a 20-per-cent uplift in customer net promoter scores, which are one of the key measures we have in customer satisfaction. I am very proud of how we as a business have dealt with this situation.