Project Everest

Promising Private Pathways

Brittannie Northey
Brittannie Northey | Feb 15, 2018 | in Health Consulting

Does privatization of clinics deserve its somewhat associated stigma?

The Malawi Health Team (February) has undergone very successful and promising situational analyses this month, and with approximately one working week remaining in the project month, the team is very eager to pursue pre-diagnostic application testing if all goes to plan with College of Medicine Research and Ethics Committee (COMREC) approval. After recent presentation of the research protocol of Your.MD mobile health application to COMREC, the team is optimistic in seeking a positive outcome regarding the testing of the application in clinics in order to test its efficiency, reliability and usability in/ for the Malawian context.

When one thinks of prototyping for a particular selling demographic, catering to reach a large (in both scale and size) customer segment is usually the initial basis one desires to target, particularly from a business perspective in regard to sustained enterprise. The goal – to make a positive impact on as many lives as possible.

The Health Team has conducted some very insightful situational analyses this month, taking away data that is crucial to the progress of achieving the health teams’ goals. With the collation of this data, fieldwork and essentially firsthand experience of the surveying process, the evident intrigue from private clinics toward a pre-diagnostic health application has been quite compelling.

Private clinics in the Blantyre district see on average no more than a maximum of 60 patients a day; this number is based off wet season/ Malaria season in Malawi (inevitably higher than dry season). When comparing this data to District Health Office (DHO) registered clinics’ average of seeing 400 patients per day for consultation, the need for a pre-diagnostic health application is assumed to be not as prevalent. However, the teams findings from situational analyses has given rise to qualitative data highlighting that privately ran/ owned clinics have shown somewhat more interest in the application alone and also the applications testing phase (Your.MD application testing) taking occurrence in their clinic. A vast majority of clinics surveyed expressed great interest in the product, and seeing non DHO registered clinics express as much interest if not more has been very eye-opening to the team, especially toward the latter end of the surveying undergone.

To elucidate, the team has never ruled out any options of possible customers or buyers for the application (long-term speaking). Although, through the surveying process it has been made very apparent that regardless of what our statistical data shows; in terms of daily patient numbers for consultation and currently operated/ utilised triage systems in clinics, the customer sector this application is viable for is very broad, and nonetheless promising.

Essentially what this means is that the current health team and future teams here in Malawi have many viable avenues to pursue for this application to be effectively implemented in health care facilities, if all that is planned goes ahead in this current month on the health project. Private clinics enthusiasm toward the application simply amplifies the significant impact such a product can have and also highlights the potential pathways for this products potential implementation.

Very interested on the development of this pre-diagnostic health application. Having such an application in clinics irrespective of being private or DHO registered, could see what will hopefully be a viable and socially beneficial impact and improvement in the Blantyre health system.

Jess Hunter Feb 16, 2018

It is interesting to note the way in which Baobab Health Trust technology has been implemented in local clinics. They sell to the Ministry of Health, which then disseminates this product into the DHO registered clinics. If private clinics wish to access Baobab technology, they must apply for this via the MoH, instead of purchasing straight from the business itself; some applications are successful and others are not. Also, from a private clinic perspective, these applications take a fairly long time become conclusive. It would be useful to research this relationship between Baobab and the MoH further as it may help explain the application criteria for such sales, while also providing insight into how a potential PE sale of a pre-diagnostic application to the MoH may take form (regarding lack of broader sale autonomy to private clinics).

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Brittannie Northey Feb 16, 2018

Completely agree with you here. It is extremely important to consider all interconnections throughout the current health system in Blantyre. Baobab does some incredible and viable work, and with recent observation and research into how some private clinics store data and patient records in clinics, the relationship Baobab has with the Ministry of Health is a crucial underlying factor that may (as you mentioned) assist understanding of the application criteria for sales in this sector. The sale autonomy is certainly a facet that needs greater R&D as well as time spent on it. Certainly something that future projects can look into and further develop when in country.

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Luke Wetmore Feb 16, 2018

Great post and it is interesting that they can still see the usability/viability even though their issues are not to do with overcongestion and overcrowding. Do you see Your.MD being implemented in a similar way in both DHO registered and Private clinics or do you think future teams should look at developing two different business designs based on the customer? I guess the crux of this seems to come down to what are the issues Private clinics believe Your.MD will solve? And as we would have relatively more knowledge than them on the boundaries and abilities of Your.MD, do we believe they can be solved through a similar implementation system as registered clinics?

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Isaac Crawford Feb 18, 2018

This is an interesting post Britt. With regards to having two business models for Your.MD in a public and also private context, would you suggest two different subscription costings?

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Brittannie Northey Feb 18, 2018

Considering the parameters public and private sectors hold respectively, having two different subscription costs is certainly a possibility that shouldn’t be overlooked. I think that there are a few fundamental pros and cons to be considered when comparing the two with one another. However in saying this we certainly want Your.MD to be an attainable product for all, to target as broad a demographic as possible; a trial period of the product would have to be an equal price between the two sectors and be split from then onward. From there I can definitely see Your.MD having two set prices, one for each sector as the latter have the capacity to purchase the application more so than the former. Perhaps the application could be altered so that there are greater functions possibly with the ability to deliver more in-depth triaging for the private sector purchas; making the application more attractive and desirable to this sector specifically.

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