Surveying over 16,000 workers and 1,300 employers in 13 markets around the world (including the ‘growing markets’ of Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia and Mexico and the ‘mature markets’ of Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Singapore, the UK and the US), the Health on Demand survey aims to help close the perception gap between what employees want and what their employers provide.
Firstly, the survey draws attention to the desires and needs of employees across the globe. Some of the key findings include:
- When shown a list of 15 specific digital health solutions and asked how valuable each would be to them or their families, in most cases, the solution that the most workers said they would value is an app that ‘helps find the right doctor or medical care when and where needed’; in the UK, wearable technology that helps self-manage chronic conditions is considered to be the most valuable; and in China, where 76 per cent of workers say they are responsible for the healthcare of a family member (compared to an average of 53 per cent across all 13 countries), the most popular digital health solution was ‘companion robots that help elderly relatives stay healthy at home’, the solution that ranked near last or last in each of the 12 other countries surveyed.
- When asked how willing they would be to try each of the 15 solutions, across the growth markets, workers were willing to try an average of 10 digital health solutions, compared to an average of five in mature markets. To some extent, this disparity may reflect generational influence – a higher percentage of workers in growth markets are Millennials and Gen Z (54 per cent) compared to the workers in mature markets (43 per cent), and younger people tend to be early adopters of technology regardless of geographic location.
- In the US alone, the survey identified that nearly all workers (94 per cent) were willing or very willing to try at least one of the 15 solutions; that 48 per cent of US workers said that they would have more confidence in a digital health solution if it were offered by their employer; and 26 per cent even said that they would be more likely to stay with an employer that offered digital health solutions, such as an app to locate providers or access to virtual healthcare.
“The findings from the ‘Health on Demand’ survey confirm our belief that employers looking to build a workplace culture of wellbeing and to improve talent retention should consider digital health investments,” said Hervé Balzano, Mercer President, Health. “Otherwise they risk being left behind in today’s competitive global labour markets.”
The survey gives a particular focus on the health costs in the US, highlighting that 68 per cent of US employers plan to invest in more digital health solutions over the next five years, as new technologies would help employers reduce their health benefits costs while satisfying employees’ desire for quality, convenient and affordable healthcare.
“The survey found that while people have different comfort levels with digital health in general, they are open to solutions that squarely address their values and needs, like an easier way to find the right care,” said Kate Brown, Mercer’s Center for Health Innovation Leader. “In the US, more than in most countries, the cost of healthcare is an important concern. That may point the way to digital solutions that help reduce out-of-pocket spending, like telehealth and wearables.”
And, as the survey also highlighted, the better the benefits available, the more supported and motivated employees feel, and the less likely they are to leave their employer – of the US workers who are offered 10 or more such benefits, 68 per cent believe their employers care about them, compared to just 44 per cent of those offered five or fewer.
“Health on Demand reminds us that employees treat the digital experiences they have in other parts of their lives as the standard for the health benefits they receive from their employers,” said Sam Glick, Leader of the Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Center. “Yet, without paying significant attention to communication, experience, and privacy, employers won’t see that expectation translate to meaningful engagement.”
Read more about Health on Demand here.