What are the new offers to develop to adapt to the new consumer healthcare trends?

Published on 03 July 2023 Read 25 min

We are currently facing an ongoing revolution in the consumer healthcare landscape primarily driven by digitalization and the need for a more human-centered healthcare system. In this article, Alcimed reports and analyses the new solutions and services pharmacies are offering to their patients, as a bite-size of the pharmacy of the future!

A need for a human-centered healthcare experience

The global consumer healthcare landscape is changing rapidly, facing a revolution driven by the need to focus on human-centered health and the infusion of digital technologies.

There are indeed 3 key consumer healthcare drivers shaping the new services and offers for pharmacy customers :

  • Self-awareness of the consumers and their need of feeling healthy (for example customers seeking help to lose weight) ;
  • Self-diagnosis from personalized early warning of potential illness (as customers looking for a quick COVID-19 test) to direct to consumer (DTC) health care ;
  • Self-monitoring using wearable devices (like smart thermometer bracelets) to receive daily health and fitness recommendations.

In this fast-changing consumer healthcare market, currently driven by these macro-trends, two key customer profiles can be identified based on their healthcare preferences and behaviors.

The emergence of two new key customer profiles

We can cluster the pharmacy customers in two major groups:

  • The first group of customers includes the 18- to 35-y.o., more “health-conscious”, actively taking care of their personal well-being, enthusiastic about personalized products and oriented to invest more in the improvement of their quality of life.
  • The second group of customers includes the specific need of the increasing ageing population (or silver economy) and patients with chronic conditions.

The 18-35 y.o. group, focused on healthcare convenience, is experiencing the new digital pharmacy entrants, that facilitate the customer experience at home, and is looking for direct-to-consumer new pharmacy models. At the same time, the US survey “Pharmacy Next: Health Consumer Medication Trends” has pointed out that gen-Z (66%) and millennials (70%) are bullish on primary care moving to pharmacy and retail clinical settings and are more open than older generations to the pharmacist as the drug prescriber[1].

Instead, consumers in the “silver group” seek healthcare guidance from a trusted pharmacist in managing multiple medications and are looking for a high-touch pharmacy model helping them with the adherence to the therapy. These customers rely also on the pharmacist for guidance through the complex and digitalized health care system of today.

Learn more about the challenges related to consumer healthcare >

3 trends to adopt to meet the evolving needs of healthcare consumers

Developing innovative digital marketplaces

Beyond the business of digital pharmacy, like Blink Health, focused on lowering the price for prescription drugs, “traditional” pharmacy segment is embracing new solutions and service offerings fitting the needs of both customer profiles.

For instance, Lloyd’s is building solutions that will digitalize their market, developing a new marketplace model, which will be faster and more convenient for their customers, and will also offer services as “The New Medicine Service (NMS)”. This NMS service is a free NHS service available at Lloyd’s Pharmacy (in England and Isle of Man) that can help their customers to receive support to understand their conditions and more information regarding newly prescribed medicine and symptoms management.

Using automation and data

Increased automation and data processing will enhance real-time diagnosis and the use of tele-pharmacy, allowing customers to communicate with pharmacists remotely and receive consultation.

One pioneer of this “more connected” consumer healthcare business is Nurx, the Thirty Madison’s reproductive and sexual health brand. They already provide their customers, indeed, virtual consultations with physicians and pharmacists, medications delivery directly to customers’ homes as well as vital medications and tests in an accessible and more affordable way to everyone.

Taking customers’ in-store experience to the next level

Moreover, to address the novel customer needs, big pharmacy chains have transformed their operating models in store. A key example is Wallgreen, the second-largest pharmacy store chain in the United States, that offers novel “health advisers” pharmacists. Those pharmacists serve the nowadays increasing requests for testing services and provide in-depth consultations to the patients, while other colleagues are dealing with administrative and routine tasks in store. Wallgreen decided indeed to free up the capacity of their pharmacists so they could spend more time with the customers and ensure higher quality of the delivery of care in store.

Another example of a new pharmacy service approach is Rite Aid, another famous online pharmacy and store brand, that launched the RxEvolution: a new strategy around the figure of the pharmacist and a new store concept defined as the “store of the future”, designed to strengthen the company’s position among patients and consumers healthcare. Rite Aid’s pharmacist role is in fact evolving in a more consultative and engaged way with patients, being more accessible and supportive for the customers. Also, the new store locations have “wellness room” where customers can schedule a visit with licensed clinicians, and therefore visitors in the store are not simply seen as shoppers anymore.

On top of that, traditional pharmacies need help to build up new strategies and solutions to face the competition from online retailers, like Amazon. Notably, Nasdaq research anticipates that by 2040, nearly 95% of all purchases will be conducted online or through digital channels[2][3].

In this horizon, different players might want to consolidate a stronger e-commerce and omnichannel position to face the future of consumer healthcare business. Alcimed will keep monitoring these key trends in the consumer healthcare sector and the new business models and offers built around customers’ changing needs and expectations. Feel free to contact our team to discuss your CHC projects!

[1] Bonis, P., MD. (2022). US survey signals big shifts in primary care to pharmacy and clinic settings as consumers seek lower medication and healthcare costs.
[2] Bugembe, M. (2022). Grow Or Die The New Reality of eCommerce. Forbes.
[3] California Business Journal. (2022). Worldwide online retail revenues are expected to grow to $ 5.4 trillion this year – that’ll constitute 16 % of. California Business Journal.

About the author, 

Nora, Consultant in the Alcimed’s Healthcare team in Italy
Giuseppe, Business and Project Manager in the Alcimed’s Healthcare team in Italy

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