A database detailing the spending habits of consumers when they are ill has been launched by the healthcare division of market information company, Taylor Nelson AGB.
PRiME is the first continuous international panel monitoring weekly consumer health behaviour. The research will be based on the responses of a representative sample of 5,000 adults in each country. Members of the panel will be subject to a weekly phone interview assessing the state of their health. Initial data is currently available for the UK and Germany.
Taylor Nelson views healthcare as an undermeasured market. It envisages PRiME filling an information gap, analysing what actions customers take when they are ill.
The company claims PRiME could be a useful t of for the health insurance industry: For example, the data can be used to detect illness patterns, thereby identifying employee’s sickness absence. Regional health differences can also be tracked. National companies can then scrutinise and compare the cost of sick days within its offices around the country.
Unnecessary time off due to illness maybe minimised by studying the levels of inappropriate treatment. Education through research could be used to cut down visits to the doctor for minor ailments, increasing cost savings for the employer and insurer.
Linda Ferguson, UK client services director, highlighted the long term benefits of the research: “Something which is happening now could be a trigger for the future. The current changes in the marketplace could predict the demand for hip replacements in ten years time.”
Dorothy Knightley, PRiME managing director, added that the goal for everyone concerned was to see better optimisation of healthcare resources.
“With healthcare increasingly focused on the patient as customer, we believe that PRiME will enable the industry to really understand those `customers’ and develop new strategies – including new products and changes to the marketing of existing products – so as to deliver better results for both the patients and the healthcare industry,” she said.