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Innovating the Health Care experience

8 August 2019

By Bart Jordens, Head of Innovation Cigna International Markets

Consumer behaviour and technology are rapidly evolving. And the right innovations have the potential to change the way consumers use health care. By putting innovation at the core of our business, we not only improve our services, we also discover a better way of doing things.

My role is to ensure we are pursuing innovations for our customers, clients, providers and broker partners. At Cigna, we don’t focus on technology simply for the sake of technology, but only where it adds value for our stakeholders.

Cigna’s Innovation Hub

The Innovation Hub team works to install structures for innovation and creativity throughout the organisation and evaluate the innovation ideas that are sent in.

The Innovation Hub drives innovation throughout Cigna’s International Markets business through a three-step process:

  1. Spark: Nurture and capture innovative ideas, concepts and technologies;
  2. Shape: Prototype, test and advance the best innovative ideas and insights; and
  3. Spread: Implement the best ideas, and maximise the value.


The Innovation Hub works closely with Cigna Ventures, Cigna’s venture fund that specialises in investments in early stage technology and health-oriented companies and start-ups.

Adding value for employers

In the space of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, we’re currently working on two projects that we believe will add value for our clients.

The first is an AI-powered Big Data platform to create clinical profiles of patients and clients, based on historic (unstructured) data. It uses Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing techniques to create individual clinical profiles as well as an aggregate view for clients on the overall health of their population.

The second project leverages AI and data science to automatically detect fraud. It increases our fraud detection rate and the efficiency of our fraud handlers, contributing to the affordability of our health care plans.

Adding value for plan members and health care providers

Patients want to be empowered to take more responsibility for their own health and care with self-management tools and shared decision-making. At the same time, they’re more than ever looking for a personalised experience aligned with modern-day living and expectations.

Providers, on the other hand, are looking for ways to minimise disruption to patients’ lives by reducing the number of steps in the patient journey. They want better use of available technology to accelerate efficiency when delivering care.

By moving from a transactional model to a more technology-driven network model, we believe there’s an enormous potential to delight both patients and providers. is a first step in that direction. We initiated the pilot project after extensive market research in Kenya, Switzerland and the Philippines. Our ambition is to optimise the direct payment experience through simple, cashless and claim-free access to care. will completely re-shape the way health care providers and patients interact with one another.

How does work?

The app provides estimations of out-of-pocket shares per treatment and per health care provider. Once a provider is chosen, care tickets are generated in the app, confirming the treatment is covered by the plan.

By linking a payment method to their account, possible patient shares will be recuperated automatically from the member after the care has been given. This means providers will receive 100% guaranteed payments for the care given.

We built as a minimum viable product and launched it in May 2019 to run as a pilot for six months with a small selection of clients and providers. If successful, Cigna will implement as an enterprise solution.