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A look to the future of health and wellness

In conversation with Jerome Droesch, CEO for the Middle East and North Africa region, Cigna Insurance Middle East, who shares brief insights from Cigna’s 360 Well-Being survey and sheds light on how to stay ahead of the curve in an industry with evolving trends and health engagement solutions…

1. What are some initiatives Cigna is undertaking in the health and wellness space?

To answer the question, I’d like to look at the supporting data in hand. We know that there are a couple of widespread conditions prevalent in the region. First is diabetes and the second one is a heart ailment, both of which are critical. 1 out of 3 deaths are linked to heart attack and in many of the cases, this heart ailment can be directly linked to high blood pressure.

So, at Cigna, we are trying to raise awareness about these conditions, and have built health and wellness initiatives in line with this. One of our initiatives is ‘Cigna Heart to Heart’, which enables us to create the right kind of awareness and address the topic of heart health, in a way that helps our audience understand its significance. We want them to understand that it is critical to check your blood pressure, and it is critical to make sure that if you find out you have any issues, you take the right treatment and you make necessary changes to your lifestyle.

On the other hand, we have also built initiatives to engage with our audiences. For instance, we organise the Cigna Park Run every month, which promotes an active lifestyle and emphasises the importance of exercising. Through such initiatives, we engage the community, as much as we can.

While working with SMEs, we support the team but providing them with the right tools to create a great environment for their teams, because ultimately, the health and wellness of employees drives any business.

To summarise, I’d say our end goal, at Cigna, is to improve the overall state of health and wellbeing of the general population and that is not just about being there to support them when they are facing an illness, it is much more about working on the preventative side and promoting a healthier future.

2. Speaking of a healthier future, what do you think the future of healthcare will look like?

I think it’s always difficult to predict the future. Just look back at the 10 years behind us, would we imagine the way we use technology today? Probably not. I don’t have my crystal ball with me today but still what I would like to say is that there is a strong trend around technology, and the role that it will play in the future of healthcare.

What struck me when I saw the results from our Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey is that people are even more open to the idea of technology playing a large role in healthcare. For us, this means that we’re constantly asking ourselves: how can we use technology to have an impact – both in terms of treatment but more importantly for prevention.

3. How will wellness initiatives impact people’s lifestyles as we move forward?

Again, going back to the survey, people are happy to engage with IoT and other forms of technology. So, it begs the question: would people accept robots being involved in some treatments as well? In my opinion, that’s really something and that reality is not too far away. I think it’s interesting to see people finally accept more and more technology. So, I think technology will be a major factor driving wellness initiatives and people might have easier access than they have today.

On the flip side, more technology means lesser physical effort and one of the consequences we might see is lesser exercising. Hence, future wellness initiatives will need to be creative in how they engage with the younger generation to promote an active lifestyle.

However, one thing is for sure, wellness initiatives will continue to be a critical part of people’s lifestyles, especially when it comes to prevention of major diseases. It will be the determining factor in how people achieve the right kind of work-life balance. Overall, for me, there are many positive elements that will create opportunities for us to make sure we have the right kind of balance moving forward.

Rushika Bhatia

Rushika Bhatia is one of the region’s leading commentators on business and current affairs issues. She is the Editor of SME Advisor magazine - the flagship title of CPI Business. She is passionate about infographics – with special emphasis on data, research and statistics. Rushika has a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University, USA and is also CIMA qualified.