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CII looks to digitization of medical records to improve access to insurance

11 August 2019

The Chartered Insurance Institute has proposed way to shift the medical profession and insurers towards sharing electronic medical records (EHRs) to improve access to insurance for consumers.

The Institute’s Shaping the Future of Medical Records and Protection Insurance outlines what work needs to take place in order to build trust in EHRs to avoid the insurance profession having to make underwriting decisions and decide claims based on paper reports from GPs, as a means of speeding up the underwriting and claims handling process.

It outlines four areas that need to happen to allow medical professionals to share digital medical records:

1. Financial advisers should look to play an active role in advocating the use of digital medical records by GPs and insurers to speed up and improve the accuracy of medical information transfer in relation to a protection and other insurances.

2. A Code of Practice should be produced clarifying the use of data redaction systems to ensure public trust regarding data management. Use of big data must also be transparent to ensure public trust.

3. The implications of data sharing between GPs and NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups for the insurance profession and other external data users must be explored.

4. Research must be conducted into how to grant patients access to their own health data and the implications this could have on the insurance profession and other external data users.

Melissa Collett, Professional Standards director at the CII, said:

“Insurers need medical information to assess the risks when offering insurance or when deciding a claim.

An end to printouts and copies of paper notes in response to requests made by insurers and other permitted third-parties, such as advisers, would speed up the process of arranging or paying a policy.

A shift to digital records will also save doctors hours of time and cost when producing medical reports.”

In response to the report, Toby Bainbridge, head of protection solutions at Royal London, said: “As digitalisation becomes the norm, it is vital that the insurance industry keeps pace with developments in new technology.

“Medical records being available electronically can improve access to protection insurance, increase accuracy and also speed up the application and claims process for consumers. GPs are also likely to benefit from digitalisation, as it could create significant cost and time savings for them.

“But digitalisation also comes with risks and the industry must work with regulators and advisers in a completely transparent way to give consumers the confidence that their data is secure and is used only for the purpose it is intended for.”