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Innovative customer service solution for South African medical scheme members

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.”


About Pypestream

Pypestream is a secure enterprise mobile messaging platform that uses real-time chat to transform the way brands and businesses connect with their customers. Through ‘Pypes’ listed in a searchable catalogue, businesses are provided with a direct connection to their customers for increased engagement, automated customer service, and in-message payment processing. The ultimate customer engagement tool, further loyalty is derived by using proprietary AI and chatbot technology to allow conversations at scale. Since launching in Dec 2015, more than 10,000 businesses have adopted Pypestream to improve their customer communication. The company is headquartered in NYC with nearly 100 employees.

Visit for more information or download the app for iOS & Android.



Discovery information

About Discovery Limited

Discovery Limited is a South African-founded financial services organisation that operates in the healthcare, life assurance, short-term insurance, savings and investment products and wellness markets. Founded in 1992, Discovery was guided by a clear core purpose – to make people healthier and to enhance and protect their lives. Underpinning this core purpose is the belief that through innovation, Discovery can be a powerful market disruptor.

The company, with headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, has expanded its operations globally and currently serves over 4.4 million clients across South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Singapore and Australia. Discovery recently announced an intent to partner with Generali, a leading insurer in Europe, and has partnered John Hancock in the US. These new partnerships will bring Discovery’s shared-value business model to protection industries in Europe and the US.

Vitality, Discovery’s wellness programme, is the world’s largest scientific, incentive-based wellness solution for individuals and corporates. The global Vitality membership base now exceeds three million lives in five markets.

Discovery is an authorised financial services provider and trades under the code “DSY” on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange. 

Follow us on Twitter @Discovery_SA


Felicity Hudson

Felicity Hudson

Press contact Head of Reputation Management Discovery Group 0115294514
Nthabiseng Chapeshamano

Nthabiseng Chapeshamano

Press contact Senior Reputation Manager Invest, Cogence, Long & Short Term Insurance, and Sustainability
Zeenat Moorad

Zeenat Moorad

Press contact Senior Reputation Manager Banking | Vitality | Sponsorships
Karishma Jivan

Karishma Jivan

Press contact Reputation Consultant Healthcare & Sustainability
Sesona Ngqakamba

Sesona Ngqakamba

Press contact Reputation Management Consultant Banking | Vitality | Sponsorships
Lianne Osterberger

Lianne Osterberger

Press contact Special Projects: Reputation Management 083 27 27 313