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Healthcare in Latin America: What are consumers looking for?

Feb 20, 2024 | Public | 0 comments

In much of the world, healthcare is shifting toward a patient-centric model that parallels other industries. This has involved a prioritization of patient experience and a greater reliance on digital offerings and engagement, among other changes. The goal of this shift is to provide care that is better, more accessible, and more affordable.

In Latin America, healthcare has historically been challenging to access and relatively expensive. Consider that out-of-pocket healthcare costs in Latin America and the Caribbean average about 24 percent of total healthcare costs, compared with 14 percent in the European Union and 10 percent in the United States. Shifting to models that are more patient-centric, then, could have dramatic effects. But doing so requires understanding how Latin Americans think about care delivery and what changes they’d like to see.

McKinsey surveyed more than 4,200 people in Latin America to learn just that. The results provide insights into consumer healthcare behaviors and experiences, including how consumers approach prevention and wellness, how they finance healthcare, where they receive care, and what products—such as insurance plans and apps—could meet their needs (see sidebar, “About the survey”). The major takeaways include the following:

  • Sixty-two percent of respondents said they deferred medical care, primarily because of accessibility and affordability issues.
  • Digital channels have gained relevance as a reliable source of information for prevention and healthcare, with 26 percent of respondents relying primarily on them.
  • Preferences are shifting toward more-convenient sites of care, with 34 percent of respondents expressing a preference for virtual or at-home care for low-complexity situations.
  • Eighty-one percent of respondents are interested in health apps for wellness and preventive care—and many are willing to pay for them.
  • Twenty percent of surveyed consumers want to acquire private insurance plans but cannot afford to do so.

We explore these and other findings in more detail, providing food for thought for healthcare stakeholders looking to reimagine the way they meet the evolving needs of Latin Americans.

Access to health services in Latin America is highly inequitable. Wealthier consumers are focused on convenience and experience, while middle- and lower-income individuals still struggle with affordability and access. However, consumers across different income levels are generally open to considering products and services that meet certain needs and expectations.

Incumbents, innovators, investors, and policy makers have a unique opportunity to address the evolving needs of Latin American consumers by investing in new business models, expanding digital services along the value chain, and designing affordable healthcare plans that put patients at the center.

The post "Healthcare in Latin America: What are consumers looking for?" appeared first on McKinsey Insights


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