Changing Health and Wellness with World-class Technology

Discovery Health is South Africa’s largest healthcare funder, managing 14 different medical schemes. Included is the Discovery Health Medical Scheme, South Africa’s largest open medical scheme, covering more than 2.9 million people.

Discovery’s mission is to make people healthier by enhancing and protecting their lives. Discovery Vitality is a core product which underpins all the product offerings across Discovery, rewarding and incentivizing individuals to make healthier choices. Vitality has more than 1.6 million members in South Africa and has been scientifically proven to improve health outcomes and lower healthcare expenses.

Along with many of their competitors, Discovery conduct corporate wellness days across the country for employees of corporate organizations. The purpose of these wellness days is to screen individuals for potential health risks and, if need be, provide and recommend appropriate interventions. The aim is to ultimately enhance employee’s productivity and well-being through a preventative and proactive approach to healthcare.

Previously these corporate wellness days all looked the same, with employees lining up in long queues to have their data manually captured into a paper-based system and then waiting weeks to get the results. Seeing the link between technology leadership and an amazing customer experience, Discovery took the global lead to drastically improve their corporate wellness program.

They wanted a high-tech environment with an automatic, integrated process that streamlines the customer’s experience and solidifies Discovery as an industry leader. Better reporting for both employees and employers, zero-data loss and additional health risk assessments were also key priorities.

Working on a fixed deadline and realizing the amount of cross-system company integration that was required, Discovery partnered with ThoughtWorks to integrate its intelligent back-end with an off-site mobile system of high-tech health stations. The stations capture confidential clinical data and sends the results to the relevant departments inside Discovery’s ecosystem.

The project was the first of its kind at Discovery on this scale to adopt an agile approach to software development, and while many team members already knew the theory, ThoughtWorks was instrumental in showing the team how to apply it.

"Disrupting markets through superior products, services and customer experiences based on high tech innovation is extremely important to Discovery and is deeply engrained in our culture. Time-to-market on this project was paramount and achieving the deadline would have been impossible without radically disrupting ourselves internally."

- Dave Hughes - Divisional Manager Software Development at Discovery Health

Today, a participant can pre-book an appointment, register their fingerprints for biometric logins and quickly make their way through the various assessment stations, ending with a private feedback session with a Discovery consultant. Within 24 hours a customized report is sent with their results. Once all participants have completed the wellness event, a corporate report is sent to the employer, enabling them to better understand the health and wellness risks of their employees.

With improved participation and ongoing engagement from employees, enhanced reporting and a slick customer experience, the Discovery Corporate Wellness Program is regarded as one of the best in the world. The lengthy and outdated process has been transformed into a seamless high-tech offering, delighting participants and giving Discovery a leading edge.

"ThoughtWorks’ adaptive and practical approach to high fidelity agile projects was again a critical catalyst for success. A beautiful harmony of many many moving parts.”

- Dave Hughes - Divisional Manager Software Development at Discovery Health