Expat healthcare trends in 2019


October 15, 2019

In 2019 employees working and living abroad are more aware that wellness is not simply an absence of illness. They are considering other factors when assessing their current and long term wellbeing. These include:

• Genes 

Our family history and genetic makeup impact our lifespan and illnesses we may contract. Although there is little we can do to change this, we are becoming more aware of the importance of screening for illnesses that may be genetic.

• Behaviour 

The choices we make around alcohol, smoking and food can impact our immediate and long-term wellbeing. Globally people, including expats living abroad, are taking action to reduce harmful behaviours. Tobacco use is declining  as we are increasingly aware of the damage of smoking. 

• Environment

The environment we live and work in plays an important role in how healthy we are. Living in a highly populated, polluted city may have an impact on an expats wellbeing. More remote areas can have their own challenges, e.g. in tropical climates malaria may be a risk.  

Expats want to manage all the factors that feed into their overall wellbeing with screening for potential genetic issues, help overcoming behavioural problems and information on how to manage environmental factors. 

From wearable health trackers to machine learning, artificial intelligence and online doctors, digital is truly transforming healthcare and how it is administered globally. For expats working remotely, this is a game changer. Monitoring health and getting advice if there is a problem has never been easier.

In 2019 expats want this innovation incorporated into how they interact with healthcare services they require digitally. As a HR manager, save your employee’s time and hassle by choosing an international health insurance provider that allows them interact online, anytime, anywhere.  

Last year saw the introduction of GDPR across the EU, providing EU citizens with increased protection when it came to how their online data is collected and used. As the most important change in data privacy in 20 years, it sparked a global conversation around the information that is held about individuals by businesses, governments and healthcare providers. The need for robust protection was further highlighted in 2017/18 when government health services in Britain, and Singapore were targeted by hackers. Blockchain allows for the secure transfer of medical records and data through a peer to peer system. It also makes it more difficult for this information to be accessed externally. 

The challenge for the healthcare industry is the need for industry wide adoption to enable true digital transformation. Once adopted, this will have a positive impact on expats who move frequently from one country to another.