Prudential and Nervotec enter exclusive partnership to bring better health to communities in Asia and Africa
Video-based technology enables people to measure vital signs and track stress levels on Pulse app
SINGAPORE, HONG KONG SAR: Prudential has partnered with Singapore-based Nervotec, a digital health company, to help people better manage and monitor their health and stress levels on a daily basis.
Users of the Pulse by Prudential app (Pulse) will be able to measure their vital signs, such as heart rate, heart rate variability, respiration rate and oxygen saturation levels simply by scanning their face with a mobile phone. These measurements, which can be obtained instantly, can be used to determine daily stress levels, emotional well-being and general fitness levels.
The new feature, named “My Pulse Daily”, will be made available first to consumers in The Philippines and Singapore. Pulse is an AI – powered mobile app designed to bring holistic health and wealth solutions to Prudential’s customers and the communities in its markets across Asia and Africa.
Lee Boon Huat, Prudential’s Chief Digital Officer, said that the company is expanding its digital health ecosystem to help more people lead healthier lives.
“We continue to enhance the capabilities of Pulse with new features that are relevant to consumers in our 17 markets across Asia and Africa. Through Nervotec’s cutting-edge technology, we make it easier for people to access reliable evidence-based information, to better understand how their bodies respond to different activities and be able to take remedial actions to improve their health,” said Mr Lee.
Jonathan Lau, CEO and founder of Nervotec, said the company is excited to partner with leading insurer Prudential to democratise digital health.
“With Prudential’s Pulse app, we will be able to reach out directly to billions of consumers in Asia and Africa. Our contactless technology is accessible through a mobile phone which means that people can monitor their health anywhere, anytime. More importantly, we provide users with tailored insights so that they are empowered to take charge of their health journey,” said Mr Lau
Nervotec’s health service is backed by modern image processing technology known as remote photoplethysmography (rPPG).
Tracking stress levels through a facial scan
The social and economic uncertainties brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic has caused an increase in stress. In a study conducted by Milieu across six countries in South East Asia, Singapore (81%) and The Philippines (78%) top the list with respondents agreeing that it is stressful living in their countries, followed by Malaysia (61%), Thailand (59%), Indonesia (51%) and Vietnam (42%)[i].
Long-term stress can contribute to physical and mental illness. In Singapore, more than 160,000 people are admitted to public hospitals every year for stress-related illnesses. The country spends about US$2.3 billion (S$3.1 billion), or 18 per cent of its total healthcare expenditure, on stress-related illnesses annually[ii].
“By enabling people to monitor and track their stress levels, we hope to provide them with insights on how work, relationships, and physical stress such as aches and pains, impact their daily well-being. Through Pulse, we can help people journey towards a healthier self and reduce their risk of disease through our fitness tracker, diet recommendations and telemedicine service,” added Mr Lee.
A tool for corporate health and wellnes
When taken together, the measurements of stress level and vital signs can enable users to assess their overall sense of well-being and whether they are fit to work for the day. This is especially relevant in industries where shift work is prevalent, and where roles are physically demanding or customer-facing.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are some of the early users of Nervotec’s services. Angjolie Mei of The Life Celebrant, an SME client of Prudential in Singapore said, “Getting daily health insights empowers our team to take greater ownership of their health and well-being. For instance, with better understanding of their physical and mental health state, they can schedule time to have a break from work when they need. For a company like us with a small workforce, it is important to ensure that the wellbeing of employees is looked after so we can sustain a consistent level of productivity.”
Pulse is part of Prudential’s strategy to provide affordable and accessible healthcare and to make financial planning simpler to everyone throughout Asia and Africa. Launched in Malaysia in August 2019, Pulse is now active in 17 markets and 11 languages in Asia and Africa, and has been downloaded more than 32 million times. It features a growing suite of health, wealth and wellness services such as a symptom checker and health assessment, personal wellness services, and video consultations with certified doctors and specialists.