Re-examining the Accenture 2020 Digital Health Consumer Survey
The global pandemic forced adoption of digital health in Finland as it did elsewhere. However, the concerns unearthed by our pre-pandemic research still ring true: Finns’ interest in virtual health continues to be constrained by concerns about data privacy and security and Finnish consumers also want to see significant improvements in the effectiveness of digital technologies.
COVID-19 forced a surge
Virtual healthcare services became a necessity as efforts to slow transmission of COVID-19 sharply limited face-to-face visits with doctors and other traditional care professionals. Virtual consultations, for example, were up 20-fold.
How can pandemic-induced gains in digital care be made permanent?
As in-person care resumes, physicians and other clinical practitioners can help maintain the crisis-era momentum as consumers look to them for motivation.
Interest in virtual health is high
The Accenture 2020 Digital Health Consumer Survey confirmed that interest in digital health, though slightly stalling pre-pandemic, was relatively high in Finland. 72% of Finns were considering using virtual services (vs 67% a year earlier ) and the proportion using mobile devices and apps to manage their health had remained steady since 2018, at 43%. If given the choice, many Finnish healthcare consumers also told us they would choose virtual channels for both basic care services and even for some specialty care. 64%, for instance, would choose virtual for health and wellness advisories, while 54% would go digital for the remote monitoring of ongoing health issues.
Concerns around privacy and effectiveness
Nevertheless, almost a third (29%) of consumers ranked “concerns about my privacy or data security” as the number-one barrier to using chatbots, computers or digital devices. And 55% ranked a lack of trust in service effectiveness as a top-three reason to avoid such services. When asked to rank diagnoses and treatments delivered by doctors supported by AI, for example, only 29% of Finnish consumers had trust in the combination—fewer than in any of the other countries we surveyed.
Lacklustre digital experiences are unappealing
Just over half (51%) of Finnish consumers agreed that a bad digital experience with a healthcare provider ruins the entire experience with that provider, while 40% said a good digital interaction had a major influence on the patient experience, and 14% were even willing to switch to a new provider for high-quality digital services.
Traditional providers are key to maintaining digital adoption
At 76%, Finns’ trust in medical doctors is exceptionally high. In fact, medical doctors are still preferred by a wide margin over digital tools for every type of care, including routine appointments (63% vs 10%).
Consumers want healthcare that is safe, secure and effective
Ensuring data privacy and security will be critical. Our survey shows just how sensitive Finnish consumers are about their healthcare data. And digital access, which varies widely in Finland, should also be top of mind. Beyond that, digital should be aligned with traditional treatment plans and established clinical practice.