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Discovery Health launches HealthID ™ – A revolution in electronic health records in SA

Press Release   •   Jul 09, 2012 16:26 GMT

Discovery has announced the launch of HealthID, the first electronic health record application of its kind in South Africa, which puts patients’ health records in their doctor’s hands. According to Adrian Gore, Discovery, CEO, “Our vision is that HealthID will do for the healthcare sector what the ATM did for banking”.

 The electronic health record is at the heart of the application, where valuable clinical information derived from claims data and from pathology laboratories is stored. Doctors are able to access their patients’ data and details of their previous doctor and hospital visits. Doctors can view previously prescribed medicines, blood test results and patients’ health measures such as body mass index and blood pressure.

 “We regard this as a first step in a very exciting and innovative journey that will bring full patient information into the consultation process and which will make a significant impact on the quality of care provided by doctors,” says Dr Jonathan Broomberg, Discovery Health CEO.

 HealthID will reduce the administration burden on doctors as they have the patient’s information at their fingertips, which will enable them to apply online for chronic medicines and get real-time approval, as well as to script medicines with full information on which medicines are covered. Very often a patient cannot remember the last time they suffered from a particular disease or in the case of elderly patients, all the medication that are currently on.  HealthID will close this critical gap for patients and for doctors.

 An important aspect of HealthID is the protection of patient’s right to privacy. Only once a patient has given their consent in writing, can the doctor use HealthID; and patient consent has to be given to each doctor individually, so that patients can choose which doctors can and cannot access their health record.

 Dr Michael Setzer, a GP that was part of the pilot process said, “It is a powerful tool, for the patient, the doctor and the medical scheme. Medical practice today should be about doctor patient relationship and the more the doctor can access technology to limit the time spent on administrative tasks, the more he can have a relationship with his patients, which is what it’s all about. This application will allow you to do that”.

Emergency HealthID will be made available to Discovery Health members in the near future. This is a unique QR code based identifier for each individual covered by Discovery Health. Members can place QR code stickers on their cars, phones or children’s lunch boxes.  In the event of an emergency, authorised paramedics will be able to scan the QR code, and gain potentially lifesaving information on the identity of the patient, next of kin, allergies and other critical health information.


Notes to Editors:

  • The application is currently only available on iPad but is being developed with Samsung for use on the Android operating system. 

Discovery information

 Discovery is an authorised financial services provider.

Discovery operates in the healthcare cover market in South Africa, the United Kingdom and China; the life assurance market in South Africa and the United Kingdom; as well as the long-term savings and investment market, and short-term insurance market in South Africa.


Vitality, Discovery’s wellness programme, is the world’s largest scientific, incentive-based wellness solution. It provides individual and corporate wellness initiatives in South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and China. The global Vitality membership base now exceeds three million lives.


Discovery’s core purpose is to make people healthier, and to enhance and protect their lives through financial products that clients need and want.



South African operations


Discovery Health


  • Launched in 1992, Discovery Health is South Africa’s largest healthcare funder and manager of medical schemes. It manages 14 medical schemes.
  • This includes the Discovery Health Medical Scheme, which has a 50% share in the open medical schemes market, making it South Africa’s largest open medical scheme.
  • The Discovery Health Medical Scheme covers more than 2.3 million lives.
  •  The Scheme is the only one in South Africa to enjoy an AA+ rating for its claims paying ability, the highest possible credit rating from international rating agency Global Credit Ratings.
  • The Discovery Health Medical Scheme holds over R7.4 billion in reserves.
  • Discovery Health pioneered consumer-driven healthcare in South Africa with the introduction of innovations like the Medical Savings Account and its wellness programme, Vitality.
  • Discovery Health was voted the top medical aid brand in the Sunday Times Top Brands survey for both 2010 and 2011.
  • Discovery Health was voted the top healthcare product supplier at the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) Awards.


Discovery Life


  • Discovery Life was launched in 2000 and is South Africa’s fastest growing major life assurer in the risk market, having captured 25% of the overall risk broker market.
  • It was the first South African insurer to separate risk from investment, leading significant change in the industry.
  • The value of its business is now more than R1.6 billion.
  • Discovery Life was voted the top life assurer in the Sunday Times Top Brands survey for both 2010 and 2011.
  • Discovery Life was voted the top risk and life assurance supplier at the 2010 Financial Intermediaries’ Association of Southern Africa (FIA) Awards and the top long-term insurer: recurring savings at the 2011 FIA Awards.

Discovery Invest 


  • Discovery Invest was launched in October 2007 and declared its maiden profit in 2010.
  • Discovery Invest combines the breadth and skill of the asset management industry with the existing research and development capabilities of Discovery Life.
  • The company offers consumers a unique and comprehensive product range that addresses the current gaps in the market by offering greater protection against poor investment choices.
  • Discovery Invest now has more than R24 billion in assets under management.
  • Through Discovery Invest’s LISP platform, clients have access to over 329 local and 65 offshore investment funds.
  • In 2011 and 2012, Discovery Invest received the Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) award in the investment product: recurring premium category.


Discovery Vitality


·         Launched in 1997, Vitality is Discovery’s science-based wellness programme that underpins each of the Discovery businesses and is an international brand in its own right.

·         Vitality encourages healthy behaviours that reduce long-term healthcare costs by rewarding members for improving their health.

·         There are now more than 1.5 million Vitality members in South Africa.

·         Vitality is accredited by the Sports Science Institute of South Africa.

  • The HealthyLiving™ benefit offers Vitality members up to 25% cash back on HealthyCare™ products at Clicks, HealthyGear™ at adidas and TotalSports stores, and HealthyFood™ items at Pick n Pay.

·         The Vitality value offering is enhanced by the DiscoveryCard, Discovery’s unique Visa credit card which gives members real cash back.

·         Launched in 2004, the DiscoveryCard is the largest non-bank card in issue, with an 8.9% share of point-of-sales spend.


Discovery Insure


·         Discovery Insure was launched in May 2011.

·         This pioneering product was created by leveraging the behavioural expertise developed in the Vitality programme with the latest telematics technology.

·         The unique Vitalitydrive programme encourages and rewards better driving behaviour and ensuring that vehicles are roadworthy.

·         At the heart of Vitalitydrive is the DQ-Track telematics device that measures and resports crucial aspects of driving behaviour.

·         Vitalitydrive provides up to 50% fuel rewards on clients’ monthly BP fuel spend.

·         Discovery Insure offers comprehensive vehicle, personal and household cover.







International operations


United Kingdom


In the UK, Discovery has a 75% shareholding in a joint venture with Prudential plc. Through PruHealth and PruProtect, the company offers healthcare cover and protection products.   




  • Launched in 2004, PruHealth is the fourth largest private medical insurer in the UK and the only one that rewards people for leading a healthy lifestyle.
  • It offers consumer-directed products linked to the Vitality wellness programme.
  • In 2010, Discovery acquired Standard Life Healthcare, thereby leveraging the significant assets of both companies and resulting in greater scale for PruHealth.
  • PruHealth has won several awards for its product innovations.




·         PruProtect, which was launched in 2007, markets consumer-engaged life assurance products in the UK market.

·         The company’s products integrate with those of PruHealth and Vitality to unlock added value and significant premium savings for clients.

·         The company has become a major player in the UK protection market.

·          PruProtect has received industry recognition, including awards in four categories at the 2011 Defacto Awards. The company was also named Best Individual Protection Provider in 2011 by Professional Adviser, and walked off with the Innovation Award at the 2011 Protection Review.


United States


The Vitality Group


  • The Vitality Group was launched in 2007 and offers a stand-alone version of the Vitality programme to self-insured, large employer groups and to healthcare carriers.
  • Discovery holds a 75% share in The Vitality Group, 25% being held by Humana Inc.
  • The Vitality Group has entered into a partnership with Wellness and Prevention, a subsidiary of Johnson&Johnson, the world’s premier consumer health company.
  • In 2011, the group was awarded the C Everett Koop National Health Award for its work with Alcon Laboratories, a highly prestigious award recognising outstanding workplace health improvement programmes.




  • Launched in 2011, HumanaVitality is a joint venture between Humana Inc and Discovery (through The Vitality Group) that makes Vitality available to Humana clients with commercial medical plans.
  • Discovery holds a 25% share in HumanaVitality.
  • Humana Inc is the fourth largest health insurer in the US with 18 million members. 

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