Anna Janiczek for PMR: current forecasts for private healthcare market are more optimistic

Ten post jest także dostępny w języku: polski

The development speed of the private healthcare market largely depends on the condition of the Polish economy, in particular the situation of enterprises, as well as families, who are consumers in the FFS segment. As Anna Janiczek, CEO of PZU Zdrowie, says in an interview with PMR, current forecasts for the development of the private healthcare market are more optimistic than they were a month or two ago, as far as the dynamics of the private healthcare market in 2020 is concerned, although the slowdown in the second quarter was very pronounced, we see renewed interest in the purchase of subscriptions and health insurance.

Main trends and actions taken by PZU Zdrowie on the private healthcare market in Poland in 2019

The year 2019 is primarily a time of strengthening the trends initiated in previous years, especially the dynamic consolidation of the private medical care market in Poland and high activity of the main players. Among the significant actions taken by PZU Zdrowie in this respect, it is worth mentioning the acquisition of Falck Centra Medyczne and Tomma Diagnostyka Obrazowa. Also noteworthy is the removal of the limits for MRI and CT examinations financed by the National Health Fund in April last year. As a result, PZU Zdrowie has observed an increase in the performance of this type of diagnostic tests and a decrease in the number of patients waiting for these services.

On the other hand, the expectations of customers regarding the scope of medical services in offers for corporate customers have changed noticeably. Clients expected primarily a wide range of dental care and rehabilitation. Additionally, more and more often, employers are looking for offers for former employees that could be offered to them as an individual follow-up. Employers also expect full administrative support from the medical operator with regard to statutory obligations in occupational medicineemphasises in an interview with PMR Anna Janiczek, CEO of PZU Zdrowie.

The implementation of e-prescription and the dynamic growth of the role of telemedicine, which paid off at the beginning of the year when the pandemic limited the availability of stationary visits for some time, are also important. In this area, PZU Zdrowie has launched the Virtual Clinic, i.e. a portal where the patient can remotely complete the entire medical process, from the analysis of symptoms, through medical advice, issuing a referral or e-prescription and its implementation with ordering drugs to a selected pharmacy.

Coronavirus pandemic and medical services provided by PZU Zdrowie

The first quarter of this year was carried out in PZU Zdrowie in accordance with the assumptions. Due to the pandemic, since mid-March the company has recorded a large conversion of stationary visits to telemedical visits. In the period from March to May, more than half of all consultations carried out at PZU Zdrowie took place remotely. Particularly popular were telemedicine consultations with GPs doctors, pediatricians and specialists taking care of patients with chronic diseases, e.g. cardiologists, endocrinologists.  In June and July, PZU Zdrowie observed that participation in teleconsultations dropped as patients returned to the facilities to carry out their examinations. However, the number of telemedicine consultations remains twice as high as it was at the beginning of the year.

As far as medical packages are concerned, there was no outflow of patients. Employee medical care has an established position on the benefit market in Poland, so employers are willing to maintain it at the expense of possible other benefits. However, there were some motions to reduce fees or postpone financial obligations resulting from the contract. Each such case was considered individually. We focus on long-term relationships and want to support our clientsexplains the CEO of PZU Zdrowie.

The pandemic accelerated healthcare trends that had started before. It is primarily digital innovations (e.g. digital therapies, coordinated products supported by devices, telerehabilitation), building a technological basis for digitalization and intelligent processes aimed at improving customer experience. A very important trend will be advanced data analytics to extract new knowledge from large data resources and use this business information and business support with AI algorithms, e.g. in imaging diagnostics.

The future of private healthcare and PZU Zdrowie plans

According to Anna Janiczek, the development of private healthcare depends on the condition in which companies that ensure stable development of the industry will emerge from the crisis. There are many indications that companies, apart from extreme cases, will not resign from packages for their employees. Possible savings are made at the expense of areas such as development and training, not employee health. The behaviour of individual patients will also be important – whether, after a period of temporary limited availability of facilities, they will return to the previously planned diagnosis and continuation of the treatment process, or whether the pandemic will weaken their motivation in terms of health prevention.

The expectations of customers who moved their purchasing activity to digital channels during the pandemic have changed. According to Google Trends, the popularity of slogans related to remote healthcare in March 2020 was at least 2 times higher than in the previous year. Therefore, we can expect investments of medical operators in the integration of online and offline services, new home medical services as well as remote health monitoring – said Anna Janiczek.

PZU Zdrowie aims to strengthen the position of a modern and integrated medical operator with a nationwide network of own facilities with a wide range of outpatient care. In order to achieve this, the company plans to further develop its own network by investing in greenfield and acquisitions, as well as extending the scope of operations of the facilities with new business lines.

A flexible subscription product supplemented with patient service facilities is a response to the requirements of a corporate client. At the same time, we are heavily investing in the development of technology to effectively respond to the increased demand for remote services through the patient portal mojePZU, as well as in our e-commerce channel, i.e. Virtual Clinic – adds Anna Janiczek.

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