Unprecedented demand, combined with increasing expectations for convenience, speed, and transparency, are redefining how citizens engage with each stage of care, according to the Finland findings of an Accenture survey.
The survey of 853 Finnish consumers found that patients are increasingly looking for care beyond the doctor’s office—and towards more convenient non-traditional care delivery services such as virtual health, urgent clinics, or on-demand services.
Shifting to virtual, retail clinics, digital care
The survey found roughly a fourth (24%) of Finnish respondents have used some form of virtual care – up from 15% in 2018 – while two-thirds (67%) would be willing to do so. In fact, roughly half of Finns would like to use virtual to discuss a specific health concern with a doctor or health provider (55%); monitor my health status and vitals (51%); receive reminders to stay healthy (50%); have a follow-up appointment (48%); and receive services at home after being hospitalized (47%).
With fast, convenient access to health services, nearly a third (30%) of Finns have also used walk-in/urgent care clinics, and a half (55%) would be willing to do so. While less common in Finland, a tenth (11%) of respondents have also used on-demand health services, and a half (53%) would consider doing so.
Additionally, some Finns also want to use digital tools to self-manage their health and wellness. About a third would use wearables or health apps to manage a habit or lifestyle condition (cited by 32%), such as addiction or weight loss, or to manage a chronic health condition (32%). Slightly more (36%) would use a virtual nurse to monitor their health condition, medication, and vital signs from home.
Influencing satisfaction and care choices
Finns choose when and where to seek care based on cost, wait time, and convenience. One-third of respondents said cost (33%) is the top factor influencing their decisions, followed by wait time (31%) and convenience of the location (31%).
Satisfaction also hinges on these same factors across generational groups. Baby boomers (ages 55 to 73 in 2019) placed a higher importance than millennials (ages 22 to 38) on specific factors influencing their satisfaction: responsiveness to follow-up questions outside appointment (40% of baby boomers vs. 21% of millennials); wait time and speed of appointment (70% vs. 59%); a doctor prescribing medication expected/requested (48% vs. 39%); convenience of appointment times (65% vs. 57%); and convenience of location or channel (60% vs. 53%).
However, millennials are slightly more likely than baby boomers to take action by choosing medical providers on the basis of strong digital capabilities, such as those who communicate through video conferencing (47% of millennials vs. 31% of baby boomers), offer booking, changing or cancelling appointments online (89% vs. 82%), use remote or telemonitoring devices to monitor/record health indicators (68% vs. 62%), offer online/mobile access to my test results (86% vs. 82%) or request prescription refills electronically (87% vs. 85%).
“As more patients take control of their own healthcare, provider organizations must offer meaningful choices and use technology to provide convenient care to their patients,” said Marko Rauhala, who leads Accenture’s health and public service group in Finland. “Experiences in everyday life are shaping what patients expect to see from healthcare and they won’t accept anything less.”
How does the approach to digital health in Finland differ from other countries covered by a study?
Kaveh Safavi, M.D., J.D., Accenture’s Global Head of Healthcare: “Finnish patients, similar to patients in other countries we surveyed, including the U.S., are looking toward digital solutions that increase speed and convenience of care. One example of this is the interest in virtual care. Roughly a fourth of Finnish respondents had used a form of virtual care. This is lower than in England, where a third of respondents reported having used virtual care, but nevertheless shows an increase of 9% between 2018-2019.
Of all countries surveyed, Finland ranked the highest in healthcare professionals implementing AI, with one in three applying AI in their operations. This is a strong indicator that the Finnish market, in particular, is ready for exponential growth in healthcare innovation.”
How would you describe the attitude of Finnish patients to innovations? What is important to them?
Marko Rauhala, Accenture’s Health and Public Service Lead in Finland: “Finnish patients are not only open to innovation but have high expectations for new healthcare innovations that allow them to access care beyond the doctor’s office. The 2018 FinSote study found that some 400,000 Finns experienced too little medical care in relation to their needs. To meet the medical needs of Finns, healthcare providers must implement digital capabilities that enable the convenient care that the majority of Finns choose their medical provider on the basis of.
Further, a majority of Finnish millennials reported choosing providers that offered virtual care, such as accessing test results online (86%). This indicates that Finnish patients are gravitating specifically towards digitally enabled communication rather than to a simple increase in the speed of care to meet their medical needs.”