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Improving virtual care for a leading Swiss insurer


Meeting member needs

SWICA is one of the leading health insurers in Switzerland, providing comprehensive medical care to 1.5 million policyholders. Santé24 is SWICA’s telemedicine subsidiary that offers medical help around the clock, all year round. While telemedicine had already been quite common in the Swiss healthcare system, existing telephone-only models were limited and failed to achieve the care model’s full potential. Telephone-only telemedicine lacks the ability to deliver accurate, remote diagnoses and fails to build trust with clinicians. SWICA’s previous telemedicine model was not optimized for success.

SWICA realized the potential that remote exams could have on its cost-cutting and efficiency metrics, such as increased clinician productivity and improved accuracy in treating more patients. SWICA recognized the value of remote care in enhancing the patient experience. The health plan also faced rising costs due to increased patient requests for home-based care. 

While seeing a patient in person and accurately measuring vital signs gives clinicians important insight into many medical conditions, it also takes up valuable time for both the patient and the clinician and exposes patients to additional health risks. SWICA sought a telemedicine partner that could help them cut costs, meet the demands of members, and enhance the overall member experience.

Remote exams from home, with no compromises

SWICA implemented TytoCare’s Home Smart Clinic, which offers clinical quality remote physical exams and accurately checks the lungs, heart, throat, ears, skin, abdomen, heart rate, body temperature, and more. SWICA began the project with a pilot of 200 of its own employees and upon its success, expanded the pilot, providing TytoCare devices to 2,000 households

As Dr. Silke Schmitt Oggier, Medical Director of santĂ©24, stated, the telemedicine provider knew of TytoCare’s ability to enable live, instant appointments with a clinician. SantĂ©24 worked hand-in-hand with TytoCare to develop an innovative strategy to eliminate the time-consuming step of clinicians having to obtain valid biometrics and exam data. The goal was clear: To make the best use of clinician time per patient, without compromising SWICA’s impeccable standard of care. 

Using TytoCare, members carried out thorough, asynchronous remote medical exams with AI-powered guidance and diagnostic support. TytoCare’s intuitive interface ensures that even the elderly or those who are less technologically savvy can use it easily. Exam data is recorded and submitted to a team of triage nurses who review it and determine whether further steps should be taken. The data is sent onward to a clinician if necessary, who reviews it within the context of the patient’s health history. Afterward, the clinician contacts the patient to make a diagnosis and offer treatment, or conduct a follow-up care visit if needed. An online prescription is issued if necessary, after which the case is logged and closed.

As Dr. Schmitt Oggier explained, “The vast majority of patients who visit a physician exhibit a fairly small list of symptoms, often indicating nothing more alarming than a common cold or flu. With the Tyto exams and the video representation, these can be handled with a quick phone call by the physician, whose time is trimmed dramatically by having clear indicators on hand from the start. Focusing a physician’s attention on these visits means he or she is left with more time to handle the more serious cases.” Even in cases where synchronous follow-up care is required, the process takes less time than an in-office appointment because exam data has already been collected and validated, allowing it to be used immediately. 

Benefits for health plans, clinicians, and members

A recent study showed that SWICA members who used TytoCare experienced lowered total healthcare expenditures and lowered inpatient costs, with a 6% cost savings. The treatment of SWICA members using TytoCare was more cost-effective. Complementing SWICA’s existing telemedicine model with TytoCare devices showed the potential to increase cost savings for telemedicine call center models. 

Adoption rates of remote care were high with TytoCare, and SWICA members were satisfied with the service they received using TytoCare. 88% of pilot respondents surveyed rated their satisfaction level as four or five stars. 

As an added benefit, during the COVID pandemic, TytoCare helped ensure that members and healthcare staff were kept safer at every stage by reducing the likelihood of exposure to infection. TytoCare also ensured that patients living in isolated areas or those in quarantine or isolation could continue receiving medical care. 

TytoCare offers SWICA members a simple-to-use, comprehensive telemedicine solution that saves time and money. Healthcare plans that offer TytoCare are able to retain and acquire more members by standing out from the competition. TytoCare alleviates pressure on clinicians by saving time and improving productivity. TytoCare offers SWICA members telemedicine that goes way beyond telephone visits alone.

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Banning, S., Höglinger, M., Meyer, D., & Reich, O. (2022, August 29). Evaluation of the effect of a multifunctional telemedicine device on healthcare use and costs: A non-randomized pragmatic trial.