HMOs have come a long way in Nigeria and while it is often said that no one can predict the future, it is safe to say that HMOs will be here for a very long time. Why? Every human, at some point in their lives, will need healthcare, and HMOs have made this more available and accessible to people without them having to break the bank. In this report, we will perform an analysis on the current state of HMO’s in Nigeria, and provide a glimpse of what is to come in the future for HMO’s. So, let’s get into that!
The current state of HMOs in Nigeria
When 340 enrollees of ten leading HMOs in Lagos were asked to appraise the performance of their HMOs based on the issues of access, responsiveness, and quality of care that they receive, the results were not very pleasant. Based on the responses of the enrollees, it was revealed that:
- Quality of healthcare delivered to the enrollees has not been excellent.
- In HMO accredited hospitals, the enrollees have not gotten adequate access to healthcare services that they believe they need.
- HMO accredited hospitals were not very responsive to the healthcare requests of their assigned enrollees.
In a nutshell, it is clear that there is a relationship between enrollees satisfaction with their HMO, and the quality/accessibility of the care the enrollee is exposed to. While the responses of only 340 people might not give a full picture of the opinions of the many other HMO enrollees we have in Nigeria, it is safe to say that it at least gives us a brief overview. After all, the strength of healthcare services is measured by the quality of the healthcare services made available to patients.
The 3 issues stated above are not necessarily a factor of HMOs having low quality hospitals in their provider network, neither is it because the Doctors in these hospitals are providing poor consultations to their patients. Rather, studies have shown that patients rate the quality of care administered by:
The ease of booking an appointment.
The wait time before they can see a Medical Practitioner (especially when they are ill)
The researchers who conducted this study concluded by saying the dissatisfaction expressed by the enrollees calls for urgent intervention, or HMO’s will face an unreliable and unpredictable customer base that constantly switches between HMO’s until they find one that solves this access to quality care issue.
The good news is that these challenges and dissatisfaction can become a thing of the past when HMOs in Nigeria begin to regard Telemedicine as the future. It is the perfect intervention.
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Telemedicine: The future of HMOs in Nigeria
Getting clinical healthcare from the comfort of your homes, office, or even on the road, via your mobile phones/laptop is a solution that appeals to patients looking for an improved access to quality healthcare, especially to Nigerians where they don’t have the luxury of driving to hospitals on traffic-free roads. HMOs should leverage this technology to provide quality healthcare to their many enrollees in the easy and cost-effective way. If there was ever any uncertainty about the need and adoption of telemedicine, I believe the COVID-19 outbreak has definitely cleared all doubt. Presently, many people are avoiding hospital visits due to the fear of contracting the coronavirus, and this situation is most likely to continue even after the outbreak reduces. As a result, the adoption of telemedicine by people seeking medical consultation, or following up on consultations is bound to skyrocket. (Telemedicine also bridges a gap between asymptomatic Covid-19 patients who visit the hospital for other purposes and already immunocompromised patients in the hospital.
You are probably already wondering, what’s in it for HMOs? Via telemedicine, HMOs will be more attractive increasing customer acquisition. Adopting Telemedicine will also help HMO’sretain its enrollees as they become more satisfied with the access to quality care. The biggest benefit however will be the massive cost savings the HMO will experience by giving it’s enrolees an alternative to visiting the hospital at a fraction of the cost!
To wrap it all up, delving into telemedicine is what HMOs that intend to keep growing and stand out from the crowd in the HMO World. HealthConnect24x7 is the leading HMO in Nigeria offering IMMEDIATE care via the mobile app or 08000HEALTH toll free line. To discuss how HealthConnect can help your HMO, book a Free Consultation here.
Book a free consultation learn about our HMO Telemedicine Program.
- The Future of HMOs in Nigeria - June 11, 2020
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- TELEMEDICINE EMERGES AS CARE OPTION DURING CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK - March 25, 2020