The Brazilian healthcare market is ready for disruption, but would will lead the charge?
Updated: Nov 12, 2019
According to the Brazilian Ministry of Health, around 70% of the 210 million Brazilians have health insurance. Those who don’t pay extra for their health care must rely on the public system, called SUS (Sistema Único de Saúde), or “Single Health System”.
Apart from some areas of excellence in the SUS, usually related to serious illnesses, it is very reasonable to say the private sector delivers more efficient, modern and fast health care for its payers. Those relying on the SUS have to wait days or even months for a simple medical examination appointment.
"70% of the 210 million Brazilians have health insurance"
One thing though is common to all users, no matter private or through the public sector: the access to health related digital records is scarce, and when it exists it is not user friendly, especially to patients. It doesn’t allow a multi-disciplinary view of their health, doesn’t specify any information about diagnostic examinations or results and it doesn’t facilitate the communication among the key stakeholders.
I have been visiting major laboratories for over two years, as well as LIS providers and they all, without exception, agree on one thing: the communication and interaction with clients, patients and doctors, has been the same since the advent of the internet on the late 1990’s. At least in Brazil, no corporation, large or small, has ever done anything to improve this situation, and the health market is far behind industries like banking, tourism, to name a few.
Although research such as “Patient Engagement Surveys”, presented by Accenture, have long showed patients interest for a high dose of digital health in Brazil (as well as in other markets), anyone who makes a simple routine blood test still receives an unengaging, confusing to read and almost impossible to interpret stack of results. The disadvantages of this gap are enormous: self-medication and Cyberchondria are just a few to mention as a result.
But why aren’t healthcare organisations investing in new technologies to interact with their consumers? In my opinion, laboratories have traditionally invested heavily to improve their processes, focusing almost solemnly on the technical side of the business, leaving client satisfaction further down their priority list. Now, with fewer companies in the market after many mergers and acquisitions, laboratories need to differentiate themselves from their competition. At the same time, consumers' lives are increasingly digitally supported. A change is therefore inevitable. CEO’s, Board members, as well as Marketing and IT officers need to face what consumers are demanding.
Who will be the first to accept this change and do it right, and who will ignore the inevitable and risk disappearing?
- Christian Mattos
Country Manager, Brasil