Written by Jesús Bonilla, Managing Director Sanitas Hospitales
At Bupa, we listen to our customers and work to provide health care solutions that meet their needs. We believe people should be able to access medical expertise or information easily through their mobile phones.
We want to offer digital health solutions for everyday life. Digital innovation is therefore, a priority for Sanitas – Bupa’s health insurer and health care provider in Spain. This is why we have launched the Psychological Virtual Assistant, which was recently awarded by Actualidad Económica, one of the most prestigious economical magazines in Spain, as one of the 100 Best Ideas of the year by Spanish businesses.
When Sanitas Hospitales, our provision business in Spain, created the Virtual Psychological Assistant, our aim was to encourage people with mental health issues to access the online healthcare resource surpassing the barrier of social stigma. The assistant relies on an artificial intelligence (AI) system developed internally in Sanitas Hospitales by the Psychology and Psychiatry teams of our hospitals, together with our in-house artificial intelligence experts.
The device underpins quick access to support and an on-demand service that fits in with people’s busy day-to-day schedules. The assistant endeavors to help people lead healthier lives by creating digitalised solutions. It is available to people whenever they need it.
When and where people need support is hard to predict; they may need support at work, when they are travelling or when they are at home - not just when they are sat in a consultation or hospital room. Through digital innovation, we have been able to contact more people in need of medical treatment.
Since its launch in October 2018, thousands of people have used the assistant, voicing mental health concerns spanning from depression, to anxiety, stress and insomnia. The platform is available to everyone across Spain who has an internet-connected device, regardless if they are a Sanitas customer.
Over 3,700 people have completed the mental health assessment since October last year. Usage keeps growing exponentially every month. If needed, the assistant prescribes a medical consultation with a specialist, ensuring that they receive support and expert guidance as and when they need it.
All the positive feedback received has encouraged the Sanitas Hospitales teams to launch additional AI-driven medical services. Today, we not only have the Psychological Assistant, but also mindfulness sessions, which are available for patients online too.
We at Bupa feel really lucky to live in this age of digital disruption, ready to play our part, developing valuable solutions for our customers.