New Survey Reveals Workers Worldwide Want ‘Health on Demand’ Digital Solutions from their Employers

February 4, 2020



According to the inaugural ‘Health on Demand’ survey of more than 16,000 workers and 1300 employers in 13 markets around the world*, 68% of employers plan to invest more in digital health solutions over the next five years. This suggests most employers already believe digital health solutions can be a cost-effective means of helping their people get healthier – as well as a way to satisfy their desire for more convenient and affordable healthcare. The survey, conducted by Mercer Marsh Benefits, Mercer and Oliver Wyman, found that while specific attitudes differ around the world, the majority of workers overall (64%) are excited by the prospect of digital health innovation. Many workers (63%) also say they would have more confidence in a new solution if it were offered by their employer.


“The findings from the ‘Health on Demand’ survey confirm our belief that employers looking to build a workplace culture of well-being and to improve talent retention should consider digital health investments,” said Hervé Balzano, Mercer Marsh Benefits International Leader and Mercer President, Health. “Otherwise they risk being left behind in today’s competitive global labor markets.”


Seven of the countries included in the ‘Health on Demand’ survey are considered ‘mature markets*’ and six are considered ‘growth markets*.’ The survey found that the appetite for digital health solutions was especially strong in growth markets. Respondents were shown a list of 15 specific digital health solutions and asked how willing they would be to try each one. Across the growth markets, workers were willing to try an average of 10 digital health solutions, compared to an average of 5 in mature markets.


To some extent, this disparity may reflect generational influence; a higher percentage the workers in growth markets are Millennials and Gen Z (54%) compared to the workers in mature markets (43%), and younger people tend to be early adopters of technology. In addition, 54% of workers in growth markets say they would be more likely to stay at their job if their employer provided digital health tools, compared to 27% in mature markets.


“More workers in growth markets are ready for digital health now,” said Mr. Balzano. “But the survey found that workers across all markets are open to solutions that make healthcare more convenient and affordable. Employers have an opportunity to embrace positive disruption by providing and promoting solutions that help improve access to quality care.”


Market-level results also revealed a number of distinct preferences. Respondents were asked not only if they would be willing to try a solution, but also how valuable it would be to them and their families. The solution that the most workers worldwide said they would value is an app that “helps find the right doctor or medical care when and where needed.” In the UK, the most popular solution was wearable technology to help self-manage chronic conditions. And in China, where 76% of workers say they are responsible for the healthcare of a family member (compared to an average of 53% across all 13 countries), the most popular digital health solution was “companion robots that help elderly relatives stay healthy at home”, the solution that ranked last or near last in each of the 12 other countries surveyed.


For a list of solutions in order of popularity across all markets, see Figure 1. For a graph of the average number of solutions that workers are willing to try by market, see Figure 2.


Interest in digital health solutions is part of a broader focus on workplace culture of health. Clearly, employers believe in the importance of employee well-being; a full 95% say their organization will invest more or the same amount in health and well-being initiatives over the next five years. Further, 71% believe that their organization cares about their workers’ well-being. When workers were asked the same question, however, just 50% said they believe their employer cares about its workers. Survey results suggest a way to help close this perception gap. According to the ‘Health on Demand’ findings, the wider the range of health and well-being resources an employer offers – from insurance coverages to subsidized nutrition or exercise programs –  the more likely workers are to feel supported and energized, and the less likely they are to leave their employer. Of the workers who are offered 10 or more such benefits, 75% believe their employers cares about them, compared to just 43% of those offered five or fewer.


To learn more and download the ’Health on Demand’ report, please visit


*Growth Markets: Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Mexico

*Mature Markets: Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Singapore, UK, US


Figure 1 - Most Popular Digital Health Solutions Across All Markets



Percentage of workers who said this solution would be “extremely” or “highly” valuable to them and their family

An app that helps me find the right doctor or medical care when and where I need it


An app that helps me find an expert doctor based on my diagnosis anywhere in the world


Personal individual and family medical records that are electronic and portable


Self-managing health conditions using wearable technology, e.g., diabetes, heart failure


Self-managing well-being using wearable technology, e.g., fitness, sleep, blood pressure, diet, fertility


Tele-medicine (remote video-chat, text with a doctor or nurse) for a significant health issue like diabetes


Tele-medicine (remote video-chat, text with a doctor or nurse) for a simple health issue like a rash or a cold


Customized treatment and medicines using algorithms based on my genetic sequence


Virtual mental health counseling via video chat to address issues like anxiety, stress, mild depression


New ways to help people follow their medication plans, such as implants and ‘smart’ pill bottles


Tools that predict the likelihood of certain illnesses based on data automatically collected about me (e.g., shopping behaviour, food choices, social media use)


Virtual / augmented reality solutions to provide self-care, e.g., pain management


Diagnosis of simple medical conditions using artificial intelligence (AI) chat based on data I provide


Companion robots or digital avatars that help elderly relatives stay healthy at home


An app that helps me find and interact with other people who share my health issues and concerns


 Source: ‘Health on Demand’

Source:’ Health on Demand’


About the Health on Demand survey

Worker and senior decision maker surveys were fielded in June 2019 in seven mature and six growth markets across North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Responses were gathered from 16,564 workers and 1,300 decision makers at organizations of all sizes. Workers included full-time and part-time employees and contract, freelance and gig workers. The margin of error is +/-0.8% for the global worker responses and +/-2.7% for the global employer responses.


About Mercer Marsh Benefits

Mercer Marsh Benefits provides clients with a single source for managing the costs, people risks and complexities of employee benefits. It is a combination of Mercer and Marsh local offices around the world, plus country correspondents who have been selected based on specific criteria. Our benefits professionals located in 135 countries and servicing clients in more than 150 countries, are deeply knowledgeable about their local markets. Through our locally established businesses, we have a unique common platform which allows us to serve clients with global consistency and locally unique solutions. Mercer and Marsh are two of the businesses of Marsh & McLennan, together with Guy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman.


About Mercer

Mercer believes in building brighter futures by redefining the world of work, reshaping retirement and investment outcomes, and unlocking real health and well-being. Mercer’s more than 25,000 employees are based in 44 countries and the firm operates in over 130 countries. Mercer is a business of Marsh & McLennan (NYSE: MMC), the world’s leading professional services firm in the areas of risk, strategy and people, with 76,000 colleagues and annual revenue of $17 billion. Through its market-leading businesses including Marsh, Guy Carpenter and Oliver Wyman, Marsh & McLennan helps clients navigate an increasingly dynamic and complex environment. For more information, visit Follow Mercer on Twitter @Mercer.


About Oliver Wyman

Oliver Wyman is a global leader in management consulting. With offices in 60 cities across 29 countries, Oliver Wyman combines deep industry knowledge with specialized expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organization transformation. The firm has more than 5,000 professionals around the world who work with clients to optimize their business, improve their operations and risk profile, and accelerate their organizational performance to seize the most attractive opportunities. Oliver Wyman is a business of Marsh & McLennan [NYSE: MMC]. For more information, visit Follow Oliver Wyman on Twitter @Oliver Wyman.