In a new piece for Harvard Business Review, Network member Anita McGahan, Kathryn Mossman, Onil Bhattacharyya, MD, and Will Mitchell explore new mechanisms for "Expanding the Reach of Primary Care in Developing Countries." The piece reports findings from a research project undertaken by the authors in partnership with the Rapid Routes to Scale group aimed at identifying "key drivers of scaling private sector primary care services" in developing countries.
Through "site visits, interviews, document review, and statistical analysis," the authors identified four categories of business skills that tend to play a role in successful efforts to scale primary care:
1. Market Focus: "Programs need to create strong relationships with patients who typically do not value primary care and either go to specialists directly or do not seek care at all, as well as those who simply lack access to care. To successfully scale, programs are focusing on the patient experience, investing in effective branding and marketing, and engaging in health education campaigns to promote services."
2. Financial Tools: "Programs need effective financial strategies to help patients access services and to generate income where resources are limited. This can involve providing alternative payment mechanisms such as micro-insurance, health plans, and membership fees, as well as generating complementary revenue to support the main offerings."
3. Partnership Skills: "Partnering with public and private sector organizations helps obtain financial support, medical supplies, and health care staff. Successfully scaled programs often pursue creative partnerships through social franchising, which involves contracting a network of private providers to deliver services under the same brand, while forging partnerships with organizations that provide access to a customer base."
4. Management and Leadership Skills: "Efficient, high-quality, scalable primary care operations require strong management and leadership skills. A key leadership task is to standardize both clinical and non-clinical operations, including care delivery, IT, clinic design, marketing, and human resources."