CVS Study: Consumers taking better control of health

CVS Health’s just-published 2021 Health Care Insights Study, which asked 1,000 consumers and 400 providers for their thoughts on the state of healthcare and how they are navigating this evolving landscape, reveals preferences for a more personalised, customisable and accessible experience.

Even as access to health insurance coverage (55%) and location of care (43%) remain among the top factors that influence consumer healthcare decisions, more people are exploring different avenues of care, with a slight movement away from primary care providers (PCPs) to other healthcare resources. Routine care from PCPs has dropped since last year (56% vs 62%), while the use of online resources (19% vs 12%), community health centres (19% vs 15%) and local pharmacies (17% vs 11%) have grown in preference.

Other findings include:

  • 77% said the pandemic has led them to pay more attention to their health in general, while 50% indicated previous stay-at-home orders helped them achieve their health goals
  • In addition to increased substance use, feelings of stress have been pervasive, especially for men, who reported slightly higher levels of stress vs female respondents over the significant shifts that took place during quarantine
  • Young adults (18-34 years) were most impacted by the pandemic and the most likely age group to report depression (35%) and a higher rate of mental illness (28%) vs total respondents (23%)

Comment from CVS Health President & CEO, Karen Lynch: Over the past year-and-a-half, we have witnessed a dramatic shift in consumer healthcare preferences and needs. These shifts towards personalised care have the potential to impact our healthcare system well past the pandemic, with many people taking a more engaged approach to their own health. Going forward, we have an opportunity to take what we’ve learned and continue to foster an integrated health model that is centred around the needs of the individual.

Will consumer interest in boosting immunity outlast Covid? Is the shift to prevention products sustainable? These important questions will be explored in our forthcoming hot topic report focusing on Immunity. A number of categories including antivirals, immune supplements and vitamins C & D will be featured, alongside the latest launch activity and much more. To pre-order your copy and save with the pre-publication discount, or to find out more, please contact Melissa.Lee@NicholasHall.com.

CCA down, but mental wellness products boom

Global CHC market sales in bricks & mortar outlets totalled US$150bn in 2020, with growth decelerating to 3.3%. Categories that were hardest hit by the slowdown were concentrated among CCA (notably cough and sore throat remedies) and Dermatologicals (such as lip care, cold sore and head lice treatments), as a result of social distancing guidelines. However, there were some notable sales successes in 2020, including sedatives & sleep aids and herbal memory & brain health supplements.

As we wrote in the latest issue of CHC.NewDirections: “Sleep quality has deteriorated as the Covid-19 pandemic has progressed, according to the ongoing University College London Covid-19 Social Study. Of the more than 70,000 participants, 12.7% reported “very good” sleep quality in March 2020 vs only 7.7% in March 2021. The number of people who said their sleep quality was “very poor” increased from 5.4% (Autumn 2020) to 10.1% at the start of the New Year.”

CIMA Market Analyst, Sacha Hawker, notes that this increase in sleep disturbance has been accompanied by a rise in sleep-related apps and devices in recent years, creating even more crossover between technology and consumer healthcare. And globally, there have been more than 160 new products with a mental wellness positioning since the pandemic began in December 2019 (Source: Nicholas Hall’s CHC New Products Tracker). With lockdown measures still in place alongside other stress factors, we expect this trend to continue.

Four notable 2020 sleep device launches from our Innovation in CHC report:
Withings Analyzer (Europe), SleepCheck (Australia), Sunrise (UK) and CoolDrift Versa (USA)

Commenting on the DB6 results, Nicholas Hall said: So there it is! Finally, the 2020 growth rate was somewhat lower than expected at 5% (all channels of distribution), more or less in line with the five years before the Covid outbreak. But within the market there has been radical change, and the stable overall growth rate cannot disguise the weakness of the cough & cold market – much worse than expected – and indeed of the whole retail sector. At the moment we are working on the short-term and long-term forecasts for the new edition of DB6, and there are puzzled frowns and long faces among the forecasting team.

So where do we look for rays of sunshine? As my colleague Celine Waller writes, anything connected with immunity and disinfection and e-Commerce is having a fine time, and the expectation is that this boom will carry over for two or three more years. And she points to sedatives & sleep aids among the rock stars with a 13% growth rate. This ties in perfectly with earlier predictions made during a webinar given by Jennifer Cooper and I a month ago. If you haven’t listened to the recording of that webinar, I strongly advise you to do so (link here).

Only two weeks to go until our European e-Conference 2021! Register now to explore e-Commerce and other major trends impacting CHC on 28-29 April with Nicholas Hall and a panel of industry experts.
For a look at the full agenda, please click here
To book your place at our European e-Conference, or to find out more about our other webinars, please contact Elizabeth.Bernos@NicholasHall.com 

Smartphone app may help older adults manage serious mental illness and chronic health conditions

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The use of new technologies in geriatric psychiatry shows promise for advancing personalised medicine and improving patient care. A new study in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry describes the successful adaptation of an integrated medical and psychiatric self-management intervention to a smartphone application for middle-aged and older adults with serious mental illness.

Care of middle-aged and older patients with serious mental illness can be difficult. Often these patients suffer from other medical conditions and are at increased risk of premature death. In order to help patients cope with their illness, researchers from Dartmouth developed a smartphone-based intervention using adaptive systems engineering framework and principles of user-centred design.BJHC_elderlylady_mobile_mini_0_8

“The use of mobile health interventions by adults with serious mental illness is a promising approach that has been shown to be highly feasible and acceptable,” explained lead investigator Karen L. Fortuna, PhD, of the Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

They found that even patients with limited technical abilities could use this app successfully. The app and intervention protocol were developed using commercially available products from Wellframe.

Following multiple design iterations, investigators tested the app’s usability and found Ten participants with serious mental illness and other chronic health conditions reported a high level of usability and satisfaction with the smartphone application.

The app takes patients through 10 sessions over a period of around three months, covering topics such as stress vulnerability and illness, medication adherence and strategies, and substance and medication abuse. Physicians can remotely monitor app use, and intervene when problems are detected, facilitating telemedicine for less accessible populations.

This study is part of a special issue of The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry that captures an important moment in the evolving relationship between technology and the clinical care of