Medihelp is deeply invested in members’ health

Empathy is the cornerstone of Medihelp’s human-centred design philosophy, driving the creation of personalized, emotionally resonant insurance solutions that cater to the evolving needs and values of their members.

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Varsha Vala, Principal Officer: Medihelp Medical Scheme, Medihelp
Varsha Vala, Principal Officer: Medihelp Medical Scheme, Medihelp

Empathy is a key differentiator in today’s product, service and journey design. Putting yourself in the shoes of your clients – or in our case, our members – enables a translation of empathy into a meaningful experience. This, we believe, is what will differentiate and sustain organisations that provide insurance solutions.

The ability to design and deliver solutions tailored to human needs is a skill needed in the medical aid industry in particular. By its very nature, it’s an emotional industry. We interact with members when they are most vulnerable, when they feel overwhelmed and when they are stressed, facing critical health conditions. These feelings are compounded when multiple friction points hinder their access to healthcare. Overlaying this is Medihelp’s responsibility to look after the mutual interests of all its members when allocating funding.

South African businesses are at varying levels of delving deeper into this science of human connection and understanding how emotions play a pivotal role in the client journey and user experience. I don’t think we fully understand yet how to harness empathy to resonate with our target audiences, create products that respect consumers and their feelings, and mould touchpoints to speak to their emotions.

For the past 118 years, Medihelp has been adapting to changing circumstances and needs

Journey design with people in mind

The answer, of course – founded in empathy – is human-centred design. It is, however, in stark contrast to the traditional approach to designing products and services. For a long time, taking products to market has entailed designing them and manipulating consumers to buy through clever marketing. This is regardless of whether the product or service addressed the consumers’ needs.

Human-centred journey design is different. It goes beyond satisfying wants and needs and also considers the values and motivations of consumers and the wider membership’s interest. For example, a growing number of people – of all ages, not only millennials – want to see companies give back to communities and care for the environment. If your target audience has personal values that align with your business’s values and behaviours, they’ll support you irrespective of price.

We truly need to understand our clients’ feelings of anxiety and frustration. Their physical must-haves. Their aspirations. Only then can we craft bespoke, personalised interactions, services and incentives to retain customers and turn them into loyal brand ambassadors.

For the past 118 years, Medihelp has been adapting to changing circumstances and needs. We have proven that we can reinvent ourselves time and again by understanding the value of connection with our stakeholders. To keep meeting the ever-evolving requirements wants and values of South Africans, we’re now also crafting experiences that will match the emotional and aspirational necessities – both physical and spiritual – of the human of today and the future. A personal, empathetic commitment to our members’ health is what makes Medihelp’s heart-centred, purpose-driven experience designers different.


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