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Public Health Care Evokes Compassion and Pride More Often than Private Sector

HUS (Joint Authority of the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District) receives more often compassion, pride, and admiration than private health care brands Terveystalo, Mehiläinen, and Pihlajalinna. These results become apparent from an empathy study conducted by NayaDaya Inc., YouGov, and Statista in cooperation with Data & Marketing Association of Finland (DMA Finland/ASML).

The study covered adult Finns’ emotions and engagement toward public and private health care sectors and the biggest brands in the industry. The brands included in the study are HUS (Joint Authority of the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District), Terveystalo, Mehiläinen, and Pihlajalinna. This empathy study reveals citizens’ emotions toward the actors in the corona-strained health care sector.


Nearly 60 percent of all respondents experience positive emotions toward the public health care sector whereas slightly over one-fourth report negative emotions. The most common experiences among those who have responded either positive or negative emotions are contentment (30 %), disappointment (17 %), and compassion (11 %). Also, the emotions brought out by the private health care are mainly positive. Over half of the respondents experience positive emotions and only one-fifth report negative emotions. The most common emotions in this case are contentment (28 %), interest (15 %), and relief (13 %).


According to NayaDaya’s Empathy Evangelist Maria Kausto-Turner, the majority of people view both the public and private health care sectors as being ‘good enough’, especially now after the over one year long pandemic. The most commonn emotion reported on both sectors is contentment – the differences can be found beyond the contentment.


”The public health care sector evokes compassion and pride but also disappointment and fear. The private health care sector generates more interest and relief. There is less disappointment and fear, but emotions such as anger, contempt and disgust are more common within the private sector. These results embody the citizens’ varying attitudes toward publicly funded services and, on the other hand, the private business”, comments Kausto-Turner.


Based on the Behavior Matrix, the respondents’ emotions predict avoidance in relation to public health care (23 %) more often than the private (15 %). On the other hand, the double amount of insignificance in the private sector (private 27 % vs. Public 14 %) indicates that for over one-fourth of Finns the private health care sector is irrelevant.


Terveystalo most well-known, HUS most significant


In the comparison between the health care brands (among those who identified the named brands), the positive and negative emotions as well as lack of emotions were divided as follows:

  • HUS evokes most both positive (54 %) and negative (17 %) emotions

  • Among the private brands, Terveystalo takes the lead (pos. emotions 45 %, neg. emotions 12 %)

  • Mehiläinen (pos. emotions 41 %, neg. emotions 14 %) follows very close the leading brand

  • Pihlajalinna takes the challenger’s role (pos. emotions 30 %, neg. emotions 15 %)

  • Lack of emotions (insignificance) is most common toward Pihlajalinna (Pihlajalinna 55 %, Mehiläinen 45 %, Terveystalo 43 %, HUS 29 %)

The most well-known brand is Terveystalo (Terveystalo 95 %, Mehiläinen 94 %, Pihlajalinna 79 %, HUS 70 %).


The most common emotion evoked by the brands is contentment. HUS, however, evokes more compassion, pride and admiration than the private brands. The private brands, on the other hand, raise more interest.


”Interest is an engaging emotion which helps to lure competitors’ disappointed or content, but nevertheless poorly engaged, customers toward one’s own brand in an evenly competitive market situation. Terveystalo, Mehiläinen, and Pihlajalinna find themselves, from the emotion experience viewpoint, in a ‘tight bunch’, where empathy and the brand’s emotional intelligence can offer means to differentiation and gaining competitive advantage”, says CEO Jari Perko from the Data & Marketing Association of Finland (DMA Finland/ASML).


Would interest toward one’s own health also increase engagement in health care brands?


NayaDaya Inc’s CEO Timo Järvinen brings up an earlier study where NayaDaya researched Finnish citizens’ emotions and engagement in relation to their own health. According to this study[1] , published earlier this year, only slightly over one-fifth of the citizen experience positively engaging emotions toward their own health. The result is very close to the one concerning the private health care brands.


”If citizen do not experience much interest or engaging emotions, for that matter, toward their own health, is it any wonder why the health care brands do not engage people more than this? If the health care service providers somehow managed to get the citizen to gain broader interest in their own health, lifestyle, and wellbeing, perhaps the brands would receive their own share of the increased amount of engaging emotions. Benefits for both the private health care sector’s brands and public health are the same”, sums up Timo Järvinen.


Facts about the study:

  • Emotion data was collected through the YouGov online panels on March 5 -11, 2021 (Terveystalo, Mehiläinen and Pihlajalinna) and on March 24.-26, 2021 (public and private health care as well as HUS)

  • The quota sampling was implemented on the basis of age, gender, and geographic location to represent the Finnish population of 18 years or older

  • Other variables were family lifecycle, urbanization, income level, profession, education level, use of social media, and brand awareness and brand experience

  • For the overall results (N=1500 and N=1002) the margin of error is ±2,2 and ±2,8 percentages with 95 percent level of trust

  • The data was analyzed with the NayaDaya® Empathy Analytics, based on scientific emotion theory[2], University of Geneva research[1] and algorithm[3] which predicts behavior and engagement levels


[1] Kansalaisten tunteet ja käyttäytyminen suhteessa omaan terveyteen (2021). NayaDaya Oy.

[2] Scherer, K.R., Fontaine, J.R.J, & Soriano, C. (2013). Components of Emotional Meaning. Oxford University Press.

[3] Pre-existing scientific research independently conducted and published by the Geneva Emotion Research Group at the University of Geneva.

[4] The Emotional Value Index (EVI) algorithm developed by NayaDaya Inc.


Find out more about the earlier study regarding the Finns’ emotions and health


Please contact:

Timo Järvinen, CEO, NayaDaya Oy, timo@nayadaya.com , puh. +358 40 505 7745

Maria Kausto-Turner, Empathy Evangelist, NayaDaya Oy, maria@nayadaya.com , puh. +358 40 353 5851

Timo Salomäki, Head of Global Growth, NayaDaya Oy, timos@nayadaya.com , puh. +358 40 709 2399


NayaDaya Inc. is an empathy analytics company that reveals the way emotions and behavior interact with phenomena and brands. Through data, insight, empathy, and impact, we empower organizations, authorities, brands, and leaders to strive for a sustainable change. If you respect science, empathy, and data, we would love to discuss with you. News and further information: https://nayadaya.com.