15 May 2023 – 07:14
Research into the willingness of European consumers to undergo care interventions in retail spaces
The Dutch healthcare system is under increasing pressure, partly due to a shortage of healthcare personnel and an aging population. Dutch consumers generally indicate that they are satisfied with the current health care system. Nevertheless, it is essential that steps are taken to guarantee the accessibility, quality and affordability of care in the future, as is also the case in the the Integral Care Agreement (IZA) is included . Deloitte conducted research into the role that retail can play in this. In this survey, 16,000 consumers from 15 European countries were asked about their willingness to have health care interventions take place in shops.
The research shows that the partial relocation of healthcare interventions to the retail domain, among other things, offers a possible solution for relieving the pressure on our healthcare system. Patients increasingly expect flexibility and personalization of health care services. Offering less complex interventions in a retail environment also gives hospitals more room to focus on complex interventions.
Care interventions perceived as ‘comfortable’ or ‘very comfortable’ by European consumers include cholesterol measurements (44 percent), dietetics and nutritional advice (41 percent), generic blood tests and analyzes (38 percent) and sleep advice (35 percent).
“Offering simple interventions by retailers will certainly relieve the pressure on healthcare in the long term,” says Maurice Fransen, Healthcare lead at Deloitte. “In the meantime, healthcare institutions must prepare themselves to be able to absorb the loss of income in the short term. Our research makes it clear that European consumers are open to change if their need for comfort is met. As far as I am concerned, this should be a priority for both retail and healthcare partners, in order to keep healthcare affordable in Europe.”
The role of retail
In addition to easing the pressure on healthcare, the shift in healthcare interventions also offers potential for retailers. For example, Europe is currently the fastest growing market for in-store health clinics. It also appears that European consumers attach great value to the ease of making appointments and quick test results.
Moreover, retailers are consumer-oriented by nature and could make consumers’ lives easier by serving them in a ‘one-stop-shop’. Customers then do their shopping and, for example, also have their blood pressure measured or they pick up a prescription. Shops are everywhere, meaning most European consumers only have to travel a short distance to find one.
Simple interventions in the right setting
Respondents are open to uncomplicated, low-risk tests and procedures. Think of cholesterol measurements (44 percent) or nutrition and sleep advice (41 percent). Regardless of the interventions that become part of a retail model, consumers do impose certain conditions on the retail environment. 89 percent of respondents say hygiene is important or very important; 84 percent say they need healthcare professionals who are kind, patient and understanding, and 80 percent say healthcare providers should have the highest qualifications. Costs are not mentioned until later.
Opportunities for the retail sector
Consumers were asked about the degree of dissatisfaction with their current health care. 28 percent of the respondents are (very) dissatisfied with how quickly they can make an appointment. This is followed by the costs of interventions (22 percent) and the time between an intervention and the moment that results are shared (12 percent). Nearly a third of all respondents (29 percent) say short waiting times for appointments would motivate them to visit a store for a minor medical intervention. Consumers who showed the most willingness to seek health care in a retail environment are predominantly between the ages of 18 and 44, with high incomes and no chronic illness.
“This is also a great opportunity for retailers, tactically speaking, to increase footfall in stores. On a strategic level, they can play a more valuable and integral role when it comes to consumer health, says Adgild Hop, Market Lead Retail at Deloitte.
Compared results between countries
Respondents in Italy, Sweden and Poland appear to be the most dissatisfied with most aspects of their healthcare. Respondents from the United Kingdom and Ireland, on the other hand, were more willing to seek healthcare outside the clinic/hospital than consumers in other European countries. The United Kingdom and Ireland have had some experience in providing care in shops (such as Boots and ASDA) for some time. But we are also seeing a shift in the Netherlands. For example, the corona vaccinations have already been placed outside the healthcare domain at various locations and today you can have your cholesterol level measured in various drugstores.
How respondents view the prospect of paying for health interventions appears to be related to their perception of how good their current health care is. Especially in Spain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, consumers are less willing to pay extra for healthcare in a retail environment. However, paying extra for care is not out of the question for European respondents; three out of four say they have added premium packages to their basic insurance, which is the case for 73 percent of the Dutch respondents.
European countries differed in their opinion on which retail spaces are most suitable for offering interventions. Preference is given to pharmacies, drugstores and supermarkets.
Recognition and cooperation necessary
The healthcare sector must recognize the urgency of its situation. Consumer care needs will continue to increase, the number of nurses will decrease and costs will increase. There is a possible solution, and European consumers are open to change, according to this survey. Collaboration between sectors that previously did not cooperate, such as healthcare and the retail sector, is necessary. In addition, cooperation with insurers and the government is very important to keep the health care system accessible and affordable.
The questionnaire was completed in March 2023 by more than 16,000 respondents from 15 countries over a two-week period. Participating countries: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. N = 1210 for the Netherlands Some control questions were asked. Respondents who answered both control questions incorrectly were removed from the results. With 800 to 1,200 respondents per country, it is possible to make statements with a reliability of more than 95% within two groups (eg male/female) or with a reliability of more than 90% for four groups (eg age groups). The calculation also applies when zooming in on education level, for example.