Cancer detection technology in a spot of bother?
Insurance tech specialist Aquarium Software is backing expert opinion warning apps detecting skin cancer have not seen enough testing and regulation to be relied on. Such functionality has a big role to play in the travel insurance sector, where identifying medical conditions early can save lives and save the industry a fortune in medical and repatriation costs - by spotting potential causes for concern before travellers embark.
The insurance industry is embracing apps to drive sales and improve customer journey, introducing geo location to real time medical screening.
Aquarium’s support of technology to assist medical diagnosis and predict insurance risk, comes with the caveat that this must be done responsibly so not to dent public trust; with premiums in decline and large numbers travelling without adequate cover.
“Tech is changing the insurance landscape, but care is required using apps for medical purposes,” said Aquarium Software Director, Mark Colonnese.
“Technology is at its best bringing people together and relying on an app for everything presents risks.
Online screening uses apps to put customers in contact with a real doctor and photo analysis apps to spot skin conditions must be proved viable.
The last thing we need is an app that cannot identify rare or unusual cancers, or symptoms a doctor would spot, but the basics might prove enough for travel insurance.”
One solution is for images to be sent to a dermatologist, if something identifies as a red flag, requiring a specialist opinion.
For the insurance industry this is performing a public service, by screening people who might never have seen a doctor otherwise with a problem they were unaware of.
“New tech must be integrated with caution but we have to be careful not to pour too much cold water on apps claiming 88 percent success,” added Colonnese.
“There is no substitute for a real doctor but anything reducing risk for public and policy provider alike is good.
Providers don’t face costly claims and the insured gets early treatment for a condition that accounts for 2,285 UK deaths every year.
Many of us are shy about seeing a doctor and this could prove a great contributor to public health, while cutting payouts for insurers – a win-win for all concerned,” Colonnese concluded.