10 min read

19 January 2024

How have admission rates for five common surgery and diagnostic procedures changed over the past year?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many elective procedures were deferred. Have rates of these procedures returned to pre-COVID levels yet? We look at changes in admission rates for five high-volume, common surgeries and diagnostic procedures from 2022 to 2023, and share fascinating results and insights.

10 min read

17 October 2023

Investigating solid organ transplants among Discovery Health Medical Scheme members from 2008 to 2022

How many solid organ transplants has Discovery Health Medical Scheme funded over the 15 years from 2008 to 2022? What sort of transplants have taken place and where do most transplant recipients live? Also, how old are transplant recipients and how long do they typically live post-transplant? We explore these dynamics and more.

15 min read

19 September 2023

Living to 100 and beyond - DHMS centenarian members

At end April 2023, Discovery Health Medical Scheme had almost 100 centenarian members (people aged 100 years or older). Our investigation into this group looks at a number of health metrics, and reveals fascinating insights into just how healthy people can be in their golden years.

15 min read

11 September 2023

15-year analysis shows chronic kidney disease has significant effects on the Discovery Health Medical Scheme and its members

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects around 10% of the global population, and just over 8000 Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) members. This analysis spans 15 years' worth of DHMS data related to CKD, looking at disease stages, admission rates, healthcare costs, morbidity, and mortality rates and more. What's driven mortality rates down by almost a third over time?

10 mins read

22 May 2023

Data show day clinics gaining in popularity as setting of choice for same-day procedures

Since 2015, there's been an increase in Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) members having planned, day surgery procedures at day clinics rather than in private hospitals. What sort of procedures have led the shift to day clinics? How satisfied are patients with their care? What are the benefits of day clinic care?

8 mins read

04 May 2023

Post-COVID: Breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer screening rates back up in 2021 and 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic dealt preventative screening a severe blow across the board. One consequence is the decline in cancer screening rates evident across the Discovery Health Medical Scheme member base in 2020 in particular. Have screening rates for the most common cancers recovered since the first pandemic year?

8 mins read

13 March 2023

COVID-19 led to the highest death rates ever recorded among Discovery Health Medical Scheme members, finds 13-year review of mortality rates

Although mortality rates reached a historic high during the pandemic's second year, death rates have returned to near pre-pandemic levels. Still, males remained at an increased risk of death even in 2022 compared to pre-pandemic death rates, our analysis shows.

8 mins read

08 March 2023

Did COVID-19 and lockdowns lead to a baby boom - or a baby bust?

A new analysis from Discovery Health Medical Scheme (DHMS) - South Africa's largest, open medical scheme - finally helps answer this question, and reveals births among young women aged 20 to 24 fell by about 10% each year during the pandemic's first three years. Plus, new data sheds light on teenage pregnancies.

Access our content

In-depth analysis of the pandemic, vaccines landscape, and related context.

We unpack a wide range of health conditions through a data-driven lens.

Understand how healthy living impacts healthcare outcomes.

Explore a range of factors that shape the healthcare value chain.

 

Journal publications & Awards

Explore research done by Discovery Health's 'Health Intelligence team' which has been published in prestigious local and international journals. Much of this research has been done in collaboration with leading local scientists.

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Newsroom

Where our analyses represent content that's immediately in the public interest, we publish our posts along with corresponding media releases. Explore these releases here.

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Meet the team behind Discovery Health's Insights

Discovery Health's dedicated Health Intelligence Team consists of actuaries, actuarial analysts, data scientists, data analysts, doctors, and computer programmers. Our team's ability to make sense of health-related data is key to understanding the fast-changing healthcare landscape. Think of us as existing to "Create intelligence for a healthier tomorrow."

What do we mean by "intelligence"?

We have a significant amount of data at our disposal. In fact, this equates to petabytes of data (where a petabyte is 250 bytes of data, and 1,024 terabytes make up a single petabyte). This data relate to close on four million Discovery Health Administered Medical Scheme members' clinical health records, and span elements as wide-ranging as disease registrations, hospital and medicine authorization requests, healthcare provider billing and diagnosis-related information.

We create measurement tools that that make sense of this complex data landscape. This includes designing, creating and maintaining clinical algorithms and classification systems that explain healthcare demand and supply patterns, automating regular reports, and addressing new and unique business questions in a customised, creative way.

What do we mean by "for a healthier tomorrow"?

All our work is goes into supporting Discovery Health's role as South Africa's leading medical scheme administrator and managed care organisation. This, to achieve the highest possible value for our client medical schemes and their members, and to ensure sustainable, affordable access to high-quality healthcare for as many people as possible in our country. We also work to expand understanding of healthcare dynamics on a local and global scale, often contributing to important research and publications.

Access our content

In-depth analysis of the pandemic, vaccines landscape, and related context.

We unpack a wide range of health conditions through a data-driven lens.

Understand how healthy living impacts healthcare outcomes.

Explore a range of factors that shape the healthcare value chain.

CEO Discovery Health

Dr Ryan Noach

The Discovery Group was founded by actuaries, and we have grown to become one of the largest employers of actuaries in the country. Everything in our business is measured. And, we use the data generated to strategise, stay ahead of trends and plan accordingly, continually trying to extract the maximal value proposition for our services. During the COVID-19 period, our Discovery Health Intelligence Team performed ongoing studies and analyses of multiple aspects of the pandemic, with the sole focus of understanding the depth and breadth of we could do to enhance and protect lives - our customers' lives and society at large. COVID-19 was a novel disease. So, every insight generated was useful in better understanding the pandemic, and aligning our services and solutions to the context at hand. Over time, our Health Intelligence team broadened its investigations to include a host of health-related themes. We are excited to openly share our analyses and findings with the public through the Discovery Health Insights Hub, and to continue to provide a credible and robust set of analytics, both to enhance dialogue and provide rational considered material for further consideration.

Access our content

In-depth analysis of the pandemic, vaccines landscape, and related context.

We unpack a wide range of health conditions through a data-driven lens.

Understand how healthy living impacts healthcare outcomes.

Explore a range of factors that shape the healthcare value chain.

10 min read

20 January 2023

SAMJ Publication: Analysis confirms COVID-19 disrupted private healthcare in South Africa
12 min read

24 October 2022

British Journal of Sports Medicine publication: COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness significantly higher in people who exercise regularly
4 min read

20 September 2022

NEJM publication: Need for regular Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to maintain effectiveness against serious COVID-19 illness caused by Omicron BA.1/2 and BA.4/5
13 min read

18 May 2022

2 doses of the J&J or 2 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine? New research out of South Africa reveals they're equally effective against serious illness caused by the Omicron variant.
13 min read

26 April 2022

Discovery Health contributes key control group to first at-scale, real-world study of J&J COVID-19 vaccine's effectiveness (published in Lancet journal)
13 min read

25 March 2022

New (updated) analysis confirms early insights into Omicron variant's lowered tendency towards serious illness
 
5 min read

10 February 2022

New study published in British Journal of Sports Medicine: Exercise protects against serious COVID-19 outcomes
7 min read

14 December 2021

Encouraging preliminary data shows Omicron less likely to cause serious illness than past, dominant SARS-CoV-2 variants
3 min read

7 September 2021

Using pulse oximeters could reduce likelihood of COVID-19 death
 
5 min read

08 October 2021

Discovery Health awarded prestigious Johns Hopkins University Starfield Award for second time
12 min read

24 October 2022

British Journal of Sports Medicine publication: COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness significantly higher in people who exercise regularly
3 min read

14 December 2021

Discovery Health, South Africa's largest private health insurance administrator, releases at-scale, real-world analysis of Omicron outbreak based on 211 000 COVID-19 test results in South Africa, including collaboration with the South Africa
5 min read

4 November 2021

Discovery Health shares unequivocal data on protective effects of COVID 19 vaccination and low risk of vaccine-related adverse events


 
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