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New report on innovation in PHS

EFSI published the results of a survey exploring the importance of innovation in past and future developments of the PHS sector.

With more than 8 million workers throughout Europe in 2016 and 5 million jobs to be created in the years to come, PHS are an expanding sector. The sector is facing many challenges such as an increasing demand, the prevalence of undeclared work, workers’ retention or an insufficient financial public support to name a few. They require the sector to adapt its services provision and to provide new services, thanks notably to the development of new technologies. However, PHS is a sector for which the potential for innovation might appear to be rather limited as it is labour-intensive and most aspects of the service provision cannot be standardised or automated.

Therefore, EFSI wanted to grasp PHS actors’ vision and experience of innovation in order to identify the main innovation trends in the sector and to close a knowledge gap. The Innovation in PHS report summarises the findings of a survey conducted between October 2017 and March 2018. It reveals inter alia that:

  • 65% of the respondents shared the opinion that innovation is crucial or very important for the sustainability and future development of the sector;
  • the main areas for innovation are working conditions (widely conceived as forms of contracts, welfare conditions, relationship with the employers), work organisation and services design;
  • the growing needs of an ageing population was pointed out as the main driver of innovation. It was followed by competition on quality of services and the ever higher budgetary constraints affecting PHS purchase;
  • the main obstacles to the sector’s innovation are the lack of financing, PHS users’ unwillingness or inability to pay for new services and the lack of key staff necessary to effect change;
  • technologies used to provide PHS are what has changed the most in the last three years, followed by the way PHS providers communicate with their customers and how services themselves are provided. More specifically, the introduction and expansion of online platforms are widely recognised as the single biggest change occurred in the last three years;
  • technology-related innovation processes are expected to be the most intensive for the sector in the next three years.

The results of the survey were presented and discussed during the 8th European Conference on PHS held on 29 January 2019 in Brussels. Discussions focused on the impact of new digital technologies on the sector and in particular when it comes to home care services and online platforms.

Please download the report here.