Vhi: Strengthening digital to match their customers' needs


3 min read

Posted by Jennifer McCormack on June 24, 2021

Vhi: Strengthening digital to match their customers' needs

As part of our 10 opinions for 2021 report, we interviewed Maeve O’Gorman, Head of Digital at Vhi. Since 1957, Vhi has been helping people in Ireland to access the best value, quality private healthcare through its extensive range of diverse healthcare products and services. With one million customers, they continue to be the market leader for health insurance in Ireland. Vhi is Ireland’s leading private health insurer.


Talking about digital, what was your biggest challenge in 2020? If there were no challenges, what were your biggest learnings?

2020 was a year like no other. At unprecedented speed, there was a huge shift in both customer needs and consumer sentiment. For our organisation who provide both Healthcare Services and Health Insurance, we had to radically reorientate our service models and propositions to focus on a primarily digital delivery model. As an example, at the beginning of the pandemic there was a general reduction in customer usage of normal health services. Without normal levels of social activities, sporting events etc., we saw a much lower need for services like Physiotherapy. This downturn, however, was a temporary dip, and in the meantime, we had to urgently seek and find a digital equivalence service that we could direct our customers to online. To roll out our new Digital Health propositions like Physiotherapy, we had to challenge ourselves to break the norms of working and deliver at speed. This way of working is much more conducive to the methods of a Digital team, who want to deliver incrementally, experiment to understand how best to solution for customer needs and continually optimise. We made significant progress and created a pathway to future change, learning valuable lessons on the way.

Where you are now, what do you think 2021 holds for you? In other words, what will your focus for 2021 be in terms of digital.

2021 looks to be a continuing year of uncertainty and volatility globally. We want to build on our digital service model across health insurance and health service provision to match our customers' needs. It seems clear that our customers will be experiencing greater economic pressures, so we will therefore rise to create a more urgent need to demonstrate value and offer greater choice. The natural, obvious channel to support those needs will be digital. Some of the challenges are clear; how can we offer customers more choice so that they feel ownership of their own products; how can we communicate and demonstrate value so that customers feel reassured about their choices. The challenge in delivering digital solutions that meet these needs is significant. We need to reconsider fundamental aspects of our business and product model to meet those needs, and that’s what we have set out to achieve. It’s a challenge for a +60 year old business to offer a digital first service model, but we’re looking forward to bringing digital to a point of equal service.

What company/companies inspire you in terms of their digital achievements? Why do you find it inspiring, and what initiatives do they do?

Digital Health is an area experiencing extraordinary innovation and rapid development, I am inspired by companies who try to harness technology capabilities for the betterment of their patients. At Vhi, our aim is to provide customers with timely access to the care they need. This means providing them with quality healthcare and access to the latest treatments, medicines and technologies and well-being services.

Read about Central Bank of IrelandDublin Airport, Ibec, Samsung or learn more about the other opinions by downloading our report.


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About the Author

Jennifer McCormack
Jennifer McCormack

Jennie is a Marketing Executive at Arekibo. She has an interest in social media, creating engaging content and keeping up to date on the latest technology.