Although the healthcare system in Romania offers free access to state-owned medical services, the market for private services has exploded in the last two decades.
Reveal Marketing Research conducted a study on Romanians’ perception of the medical services’ quality in the urban area. The survey was applied to 845 respondents (443 women and 402 men) all over 18 years, in late November 2019.
The results show that the market for private medical services is continually growing, primarily due to young people who receive private insurance from their employers. Other reasons for which private clinics are preferred include cleanliness, comfort, short investigation time and the fact that patients feel more respected. State hospitals and polyclinics have the advantage of low cost and benefit from the confidence of the people in the capabilities of the medical personnel, whom they know to be active in both systems.
State medical services vs. Private medical services
Although almost all Romanian citizens have access to receive free medical services, 30% of those surveyed said that they resort more frequently to private facilities, the percentage being even higher (43.1%) among young people under 25 and those living in Bucharest-Ilfov (42.2%).
Public hospitals are mostly preferred by people over 35, usually men and the residents of Transylvania (75.5%), Moldova (74.4%), and Banat-Crișana (72%) areas. The motivations of those who choose this variant (68.3%) are financial. Cost is the only positive attribute of state services.
Private health services have many strong points, including cleanliness (81%), the respect received by the patient (75%), short time during investigations (74.7%), more professional doctors (57.5%), and overall trust (51%).
If there were no prohibitive costs for specific social categories, Romanians would use more private services, especially young people between 25 and 34 years (76%).
The leading players in the private healthcare market
In Romania, there are several large chains of private healthcare providers and some important local players. Reveal Marketing Research wanted to find out which brands are the most present in the minds of Romanians when they think of private clinics. The survey also included questions about the medical service providers already used by the respondents.
Regina Maria, Medlife, Sanador, Sante and Synevo appear in the top 5 clinics mentioned by Romanians. It is worth stating that many (48.4%) did not answer this question, choosing “Others” (39%) or “I don’t know” (9.4%), which shows that there is an enormous opportunity for clinics to attract and retain patients who do not yet have a preferred provider.
The medical system, what next?
Data from the study show that the market for private medical services is growing and that new generations are willing to pay for these. Given the accelerated aging tendency of the population, it is clear that the need for medical services will increase steadily in the next few years. Most likely, the new demand will be covered by the private segment, since public hospitals are not adequately maintained, they become degraded and do not offer quality and promptness.