Innovative customer service solution for SA medical scheme members

By Janice Roberts


Discovery Health, South Africa’s largest medical scheme administrator, today announced a partnership with Pypestream, a leading global messaging platform that was specifically developed for customer communication.

In a South African-first for medical scheme clients, Discovery Health will use this technology on its Discovery app to securely message with members of Discovery Health Medical Scheme.

Dr Jonathan Broomberg, Chief Executive Officer of Discovery Health, said; “At Discovery Health, we are big believers in the capacity for digital technology to positively impact people’s lives. We therefore invest heavily in using digital solutions to help our members navigate our healthcare system better.

“In working with Pypestream, we want to bring the immediacy of mobile messaging to our customer care. The real-time, conversational nature of chat offers tremendous opportunity to make interacting with us far more convenient and intuitive for members of all our client medical schemes.”

In contrast to some social messaging apps and platforms, Pypestream ensures privacy and authentication and allows members to get the full spectrum of customer care. This is achieved through restricting usage on the platform to business to consumer only. This ranges from sharing real-time updates with customers on claims, to coverage enquiries or immediate medicine orders.

Discovery Health will initially roll out the service to the 15,000 Discovery Health Medical Scheme Smart Plan members, who can simply sign up for Discovery’s Pype to begin messaging in real-time. This product offering is already a fully digital experience where members are intuitively guided to the most appropriate healthcare providers, thereby ensuring better healthcare journeys at the lowest possible cost. Pypestream will develop a chatbot with specialised automated chat capabilities to help streamline and expedite customer care. This further demonstrates Discovery’s desire to provide immediate and effective support.

Since its founding last year, Pypestream, a New York based company has grown to a global customer base of around 12,000. In a classic case of ‘irony’, the company’s founder, South African born Richard Smullen, was a Discovery Health member until he immigrated to the USA seven years ago.

“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Discovery Health to enhance their customer care using our secure, real time messaging platform,” said Pypestream Chief Executive Officer, Richard Smullen.

“Pypestream is purpose-built for business and provides a comprehensive customer communication solution that includes payment processing, enterprise-level security and artificial intelligence. The initial roll out to the Discovery Health Medical Scheme Smart Plan member base includes a custom-built chatbot and will be the first major integration of automated, conversational customer communication in the region.”

Broomberg emphasised the unique confidentiality and security benefits offered by Pypestream. “Data confidentiality and protection of members’ personal information are critical for us when designing any new customer service channel or process. At the same time, our objective is to deliver best-in-class service, supported by the latest technology, to members of our client schemes. The new messaging platform delivers the required security and privacy features we need in a mobile messaging platform.”

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