2019: A year of change

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Senior Medibank executives have shared their thoughts on the trends and innovations they are anticipating in 2019.

CEO Craig Drummond has predicted change.

"We’ve seen more reform in private health insurance in the last 12 months than in the past 18 years and this year we’ll undertake the biggest product build in Medibank and ahm history – with six key Government reforms being implemented," he said.

One of the key reforms will be the categorisation of all private health insurance policies as gold, silver, bronze or basic. Federal Labor is also promising that, if elected, it will cap annual premium increases at 2 per cent for 2 years.

Mr Drummond added, "As demand for choice in where healthcare is delivered increases, expect some ongoing significant investment in at-home care and telehealth. Greater transparency will also be a focus for us, as we continue working with hospitals and doctors to help customers make more informed decisions about their healthcare."

Chief customer officer David Koczka said Australians will have more choice, control and incentives to improve their health. 

"We will continue to proactively reach out to our customers to ensure we are providing them with the right products and services to suit their needs, and our customers will be able to access more self-service options to allow them to take more control over their experiences in health," he said.

The company's head of healthcare and strategy, Dr Andrew Wilson, said it will continue to expand its 'Medibank at Home' options in 2019 to include services such as infusions.

"This means we will be offering or trialling six different hospital-in-the-home services, providing more real choice for our customers, when clinically appropriate for them to receive treatment at home.

"We're also exploring how we can support doctors to provide surgical best practice in Australia, with international work showing many procedures can be safely done as same-day rather than overnight stays. This would provide more convenience for patients if clinically appropriate, meaning they can return to family and friends sooner."

Group executive of people and culture Kylie Bishop said organisations will continue to take greater responsibility and show leadership on community and societal issues.

"As an employer of more than 4,000 people, it’s important for us to realise our impact beyond the workplace and into homes Companies need to regularly review how policies and practices support employees outside of work too, allowing them to bring their whole self to work.

"Employers can drive change, whether it’s about gender stereotypes, parental leave, domestic violence, or looking beyond traditional models of “work” and loudly endorsing more flexible ways of working."

The head of technology and operations John Goodall said consumers will have higher expectations when it comes to the protection of their health information given increasing use of digital records.

"For example the UK’s public health system, the National Health Service, recently announced it will ban fax machines from 2020. Health systems around the world have been slow to catch up with health technology and Australia isn’t immune."