HBI 2023

Subscription Healthcare: Seizing the Opportunity, HBI 2022

This new Seizing the Opportunity blog series unpackages the main topics at Healthcare Business International 2022 (June 20-22), the in-person CEO level event focused on for-profit healthcare. We’ll be uncovering the question; ‘What are the things you can do now to grow value?’.

Almost every healthcare operator wants to move from delivering episodes of care to more continuous care delivery with much more constant patient touch. Ultimately that enables the sale of a continuous subscription and so much higher quality earnings. That is one reason why outpatient chains like Terveystalo and Medicover trade considerably higher than hospital groups. 

Digital health in all its forms means a subscription can be accessed immediately, anywhere, with the patient’s own choice of medium – text, video, whatsapp. The other huge appeal is that this is an asset light model. 

But how far is it possible to build a subscription model outside countries such as Poland and Finland whose laws enable some healthcare services to be written off against tax? We are going to find out soon. Terveystalo has entered Sweden, buying Feelgood, an occupational healthcare group which has focused on enabling employers to meet their mandatory health and safety requirements, and is now rolling out a much broader platform similar to its Finnish offer. In its full year results for 2021 Terveystalo said early results were “encouraging”. 

There are good reasons to think subscription players are pushing at an open door. Across Europe labour is scarce, so paying €20 a month per employee to give them access to primary care and tests may well feel like good value. That is particularly true in countries such as the UK where Covid has left huge waiting lists. 

There is certainly no doubt that the B2B subscription model has legs. In Poland, Medicover reports a 99% renewal rate for its services. So if employers can be persuaded to offer primary and diagnostic tests to their employees it will be a game changer. 

There is no shortage of market entrants to both the B2C and the B2B subscription models. Quiron Salud, the Spanish offshoot of Helios Fresenius has launched a service for consumers at €8 a month. Francesco de Meo, the CEO of Helios Fresenius, talked about his plans at HBI 2021 in September. He presented it as an opportunity to build a global healthcare business without having to spend billions buying hospital groups.

Fill in the form to watch Francesco de Meo’s Keynote Presentation.

    So far we have no clear picture of the real uptake for B2C subscriptions.  Fresenius was strangely quiet on the subject in its full year results!  But we do know there is a lot of interest. At HBI 2021, Axa’s Somesh Chandra said that in the four months after its Italian platform went live, it had 600,000 visitors. Some 20% went on to visit a pharmacist or go to a hospital.

    We should know much more about recent success rates with consumers and businesses at HBI 2022, June 20-22, London. We are devoting an entire session: Who will win the Subscription War and Why? to the subject with speakers including Somesh Chandra at Axa, Sneh Khemka, CEO of Simply Health, a UK-based not-for-profit provider of cash plans for corporates and private individuals, which is planning an ambitious digital platform and Fredrik Ragmark, CEO, Medicover. Elsewhere, speakers include Ville Iho, CEO, Terveystalo and Matthew Strassberg at investor Mid Europa who has built B2B subscription platforms in Poland, Romania and Serbia. 

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    Healthcare Business International 2023

    19-21 June, 2023 | QEII Centre, London

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