Segment SwitzerlandMarket environmentBusiness performance
The revenue performance in the Switzerland segment remained positive, gaining 5.7 per cent on the previous year. The coronavirus continued to be a key factor in 2021, and Zur Rose contributed to fighting the pandemic by providing various solutions for authorities, doctors and the public. Zur Rose further expanded its digital offering for doctors’ practices and online pharmacies. The increased shift towards demand for digital services was apparent in the growth of the online pharmacy, and highlights patients’ growing need to order their medications to be delivered directly to their homes.
Innovative solutions in combating the coronavirus pandemic
In the second year of the coronavirus Zur Rose continued to feel obliged to ensure the highest possible security of deliveries and supplies of urgently needed medications and to contribute to combating the pandemic with innovative and unbureaucratic solutions. For example, the company supported the cantons of Thurgau and Schaffhausen with logistics for supplying the vaccine to vaccination centres and doctors’ practices. To ease the strain of administering Covid tests and vaccinations, Zur Rose and partners developed and financed a technological solution that became the most significant software in Switzerland for this purpose. More than 800 practices used the free offering to carry out 77,000 test registrations and perform 120,000 vaccination registrations during the year under review. Between April and September the FOPH insisted that self-testing kits be available free of charge. Here too, Zur Rose quickly provided a digital solution that allowed all Swiss residents to order self-testing kits online and settle directly with their health insurer.
Supplying medications and advising doctors’ practices
Zur Rose had a market share of 24.4 per cent in supplying medications to doctors’ practices.
The trend away from individual practices towards larger doctors’ centres continued unabated in 2021. Zur Rose is supporting this structural change with specialised services aimed at digitalising practice processes and the supply chain. Automating medication management brings a demonstrable gain in efficiency for practices: there is a time saving of up to 35 per cent and cost savings of up to 20 per cent compared to running things manually. This is shown in a study conducted jointly by Zur Rose and the University of Applied Sciences of Eastern Switzerland, which won the WTT Young Leader Award 2021.
A technology provider in e-health
In close collaboration with BlueCare as the technology hub of Zur Rose Switzerland, the Company is focused on developing and expanding platform technologies and offers this expertise as platform-as-a-service and marketplace-as-a-service. The Swiss healthcare platform Well announced last year, which Zur Rose set up with health insurers CSS and Visana and telemedicine provider Medi24, and to which it contributed some of the technology, went live in late summer with the beta version of the app. The digital healthcare navigator provides access around the clock to quality-checked physical and digital healthcare services. As part of the platform-as-a-service offering, BlueCare concentrated on connecting registered service providers to the Well platform. The various different transactions are brought together in the central user interface for sending and receiving medical documents (BlueConnect), so they are ideally integrated in the workflows at doctors’ practices. The compatibility with existing practice information systems is ensured.
Pleasing performance in the online pharmacy
In the online pharmacy business, Zur Rose stepped up the linking of the various players involved (patients, doctors and physicians) to further improve services for customers and patients. Various digital functions were added to the Zur Rose customer account: personal medication plans can now be scanned directly into the customer account electronically by QR code. This means users always have a full overview of their medications and can also set electronic reminders to take them. Further medications can be added to the electronic medication plan and at each visit to the general practitioner, be checked for interactions with other drugs and approved again. The customer account lets patients digitally request a prescription or renew a repeat prescription directly from a practice electronically. The enhanced functionalities, combined with various marketing campaigns, resulted in considerable year-on-year growth in the average number of daily active users of the online pharmacy.
Dailymed’s individual blister packaging for medications also saw strong demand during the year under review. For people who take multiple medications at the same time, Dailymed sorts them into individual pouches in the order of when they are to be taken, as the doctor prescribes. This increases safety when taking the medication and boosts compliance, in turn generating better treatment success. In an effort to make services available to all barrier-free, in collaboration with the Swiss Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired Zur Rose developed a new Dailymed box specially adapted to the needs of people with a visual impairment. QR codes affixed to the individual pouches can be easily scanned with a smartphone, allowing the information on taking the medications to be made audible using the voice output for people who are blind. Zur Rose uses some of the revenue from this Dailymed box to support projects that make daily life easier for people with a visual impairment.
Institutions like nursing homes and homecare organisations are showing growing interest in Dailymed, as automatic blister packaging releases resources that would otherwise have to be used on organising medications by hand, which takes a great deal of time. To be able to offer more safety and efficiency with drug orders from institutions, the Company jointly with a software partner, produced a digital interface for ordering medications, to which data can be uploaded directly from the care documentation software.
Specialty Care, which provides specialist support for complex medication treatments, also posted strong growth during the year under review. The cooperation with specialist doctors was expanded and further cooperations with manufacturers were added.
In addition, Zur Rose expanded collaboration with various health insurers as part of alternative insurance models with solutions to improve compliance.
Joint ventures with Migros subsidiary Medbase
The trend towards more online shopping since the outbreak of the pandemic continued in 2021 in the online shop for beauty and personal care products that Zur Rose operates as a joint venture with the Medbase Group. Revenue in 2021 was once more up considerably on the previous year. Orders from mobile end-devices and use of electronic forms of payment such as Twint grew strongly. Shipping packaging was optimised to improve sustainability and more environmentally-friendly materials were used. The six existing shop-in-shop pharmacies in Migros branches continued to perform positively. An additional shop-in-shop pharmacy was opened in the canton of Bern in the Shoppyland Schönbühl branch.