Consumers are worried about lots of things – more so than ever before. And Walgreens is listening. It is expanding its offerings to speak to consumer concerns, by opening care clinics across the U.S.
The pandemic has changed the face of healthcare and patients are super hesitant to sit in a waiting room. Telehealth has become a household term as consumers make appointments, refill prescriptions, and talk to their doctor all from the comfort and safety of their homes. And Walgreens has found their own niche in this rewiring of medical care. We will discuss all of this and how it intersects with these points below:
- The ever-changing conversation around the world of healthcare
- Creating a one-stop shop for medical needs and primary care
- The new face of healthcare and predicting its future and investments
And there are statistics that will blow open the doors on this conversation, including:
- Walmart will offer healthcare for 30%-50% lower than the average cost of a doctor visit – increasing the competition
- 370,434 healthcare patents were granted in the U.S. in 2019
Healthcare Continues to Evolve
Forced to evolve, healthcare is changing the way it approaches patients and checkups. Looking to market research to provide an overview of what is being talked about, the conversation is largely focused on Telehealth.
And all of this is corresponding with the shift in consumer sentiment.
Consumers are in no hurry to meet face to face with their primary care physicians, nor to sit in a waiting room with other patients. And this is why Walgreens, CVS and Walmart are incorporating healthcare into consumers’ regular shopping habits.
Viewing how the conversation has changed in the past six months, we’ve selected a handful of categories to get to the heart of in-person care vs telehealth. The category of Expanding Primary Care Services shows us what is being talked about in the media – and that Walgreens has competition from Walmart:
Consumers’ one stop shops just became more efficient, as their favorite drugstores step into the realm of practicing medicine.
Primary Care & Prescriptions
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. plans to open as many as 700 doctor offices in its drugstores over the next 5 years, investing $1 billion in primary-care provider VillageMD over the next three. And CVS is bulking up their care as well, by acquiring insurer Aetna for $68 billion in 2018, planning to open 1,500 HealthHUB stores by the end of 2021.
Drugstores are no stranger to evolving. In recent years, and under pressure to reinvent themselves, drugstores everywhere began adopting the e-commerce side of retail as giants like Amazon monopolized sales of everyday items.
Additionally, digital pharmacies have been a real threat to the prescription drug business. By integrating doctors’ offices these drugstores could reverse any loss and possibly increase revenue, raising their brand awareness and giving pharmacy chains a stronger foothold in healthcare.
So, the doctor is ‘in’ at drugstores across the U.S. – and for consumers concerned about reducing their time and exposure to the virus, eliminating a stop could be beneficial and give telehealth a run for their money.
And Walmart has had a head start.
Walmart Winning the Healthcare War
Walmart began partnering with clinics as far back as a decade. In 2011 they partnered with Carson Tahoe and opened a second clinic. And now they are becoming their own healthcare providers.
All of this could spell trouble for traditional healthcare organizations and other drugstores, as Walmart is number one in low prices, and already has a sizable foothold in the industry. With prices 30%-50% lower than the average consumer cost of a doctor or dentist visit – it will be difficult for other competitors to keep up.
But if Walgreens is worried, their consumers could go a long way to encourage them. Our sentiment wheel reveals a lot of positive terms and sentiment about this drugstore giant.
And CVS may need to listen a little closer to its consumers, considering.
This consumer, for example, ended up going elsewhere when the turn-around time was longer than expected. With 3 days being the average wait time a customer expects to wait on a product they ordered to arrive, anticipating medical results seems to be no different. A great example of consumer loyalty today – or lack thereof, actually:
Looking at consumer sentiment, our word cloud shows terms attributed to the rise in drugstore healthcare in general. It reveals a mix of positive and negative – each speaking to a flipside of how consumers are feeling.
But with so many facets to it, from prescriptions and medical equipment to online portals and robotics – how does a company decide where to invest?
Investing in Future Care
Exploring our market research in Patent view, we can see who is filing and what they are filing for as a solid place to start. Our bar chart view shows us the top 10 patent segments. And it’s no surprise that Data and Computers are number one:
And we can explore specific patents as well. For example, there are patents focused on surgical applications from companies like Johnson and Johnson and Intuitive Surgical Operations Inc.
The patents are for a wide variety of usages such as Ablation Systems to Spinal Cord Stimulation. And with ambulatory surgery on the rise and the global Ambulatory Surgery Center market valued at 85,840M in 2020 and expected to grow 4.8% during 2021-2026, keeping an eye on this part of the spectrum could be beneficial to those companies looking to invest or trailblaze.
The number of patents submitted is rising each year, in 2019 370,434 patents were granted in the U.S. And perhaps confirming that telehealth may be the future, a 2019 study by Statista revealed a rise in Medtech patent applications with 13,833 filings in the UK alone.
With the continuous advancement in consumer and market intelligence, and its role in reshaping the world economy, every industry can benefit from the developing trends they alert us to, and competitive or consumer-driven ideas these tools generate. Why not yours?
Reach out for a demo and step into the future along with those who seek to capture your market share!