​NAB to create new digital platform for healthcare

The bank has partnered with healthtech startup Medipass Solutions and NAB Labs-borne Localz to develop a new digital platform for patients and healthcare practitioners.

The National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced it is working with health-tech startup Medipass Solutions to develop a new digital platform to connect patients with healthcare practitioners.

Although the "Uber-like" platform is currently in testing and development phase, NAB expects it will allow users to also receive upfront cost estimates, make appointments, and take care of payment or claiming for the consultation. It will also leverage the NAB-owned health claims and payments system (HICAPS).

NAB executive general manager NAB Labs Jonathan Davey said the bank has been working closely with Medibank and a small number of practitioners since late last year to test the platform, with a full market launch slated for mid-2017.

"We will shortly broaden testing to further practitioners and we will work with more health insurers to bring to fruition the full benefits this service can offer," Davey said.

For the initiative, NAB has also partnered with Melbourne-based tech startup Localz which won NAB Labs' inaugural Hackathon in December 2014, and received funding from NAB Ventures.

"NAB and Medipass Solutions are redefining the healthcare experience, delivering an 'Uber-like' approach to the way patients, practitioners, and health funds integrate," Davey added.

"The solution delivers a seamless and transparent experience for patients, practitioners, and health insurers, through a digitally integrated platform; the first of its kind globally with such breadth and capability."

The platform is being developed initially for Allied Health Practitioners who provide Healthcare services to patients with private health insurance cover, NAB said.

Last year, NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn said the bank was looking to make faster, bigger, better changes, and to do that, it needed to embrace the hunger found within fintech companies.

"I actually think we are a fintech company ourselves. I think we have the mindset of a fintech company, and I actually think we have a lot of the assets of a fintech company," he said previously.

"Fintech companies -- the smaller, emerging ones -- they're hungry, they want to make an impact, they find an opportunity, and they go after it. And that's the sort of hunger we need inside our own company.

"They should be respected, but not feared."

NAB updated its internet banking app in November, with the bank touting the platform as not just an app, rather a "complete experience"; one that is sitting on top of a new digital backbone.

NAB then began the rollout of its application programming interface (API) developer portal in December, which will eventually see the public availability of selected NAB APIs to third-party developers.

Last year, NAB experienced three system outages in the space of seven days.

The first hit its internet banking, customer call centres, and payments processing as a result of a "number of system outages" experienced the night before.

The bank's customers Australia-wide were then prevented from using their bank cards in ATMs or at EFTPOS terminals, with the outage also affecting NAB merchant terminals and the HICAPS system.

The third outage meant customers were unable to access their internet banking.

The bank also reported a 94.4 percent statutory profit slump to AU$352 million for the 2016 financial year, citing technology investments as a main contributing factor.

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