Unlocking the secret of success in public health systems

Africa, Broadreach, Health

By Louise Allen, BroadReach: Vice President, Client Success
Louise is responsible for formulating and delivering the solutions that solve our clients’ critical problems, where people, data and expertise intersect. She brings more than two decades of healthcare experience, in both the public and private sectors, and is deeply committed to improving health outcomes in under-served populations.

I am passionate about public health. I am no doctor, nurse or hospital administrator, I am a mathematician, and I’ve spent the better part of my career trying to find the formula to unlock the healthcare system for all. Public health is messy –and we are learning everyday – it will take an innovative, multi-disciplinary approach to level the playing fields.
I began my career by applying my mathematics education in private healthcare with a number of actuarial firms. My journey to BroadReach began several years ago with a chance attendance at a presentation by the South African Health Minister, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, at a private health industry conference. Many in the audience were eager to hear the minister present further details of the proposed National Health Insurance, but that’s not what they got. Instead, he gave a very simple presentation outlining the money we spend on healthcare: where it goes, and the outcomes achieved. The figures were shocking – the outcomes so poor, particularly in maternal and child health. The disparities between private and public healthcare, the access to health services and resulting health outcomes were glaring.
I came away from the conference inspired to make a difference in public healthcare, and challenged to find the right entry point. I was fortunate to find a connection to a consulting company that was starting a public healthcare program and through this gained critical experience in creating new analytic and actuarial solutions for the public sector. But public health is a tricky landscape – requiring a balance of engagement between government and donors, often with goals that are not perfectly aligned. And while this combination has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, it is deeply inefficient. Most donors only fund HIV and TB in South Africa rather than taking a holistic view of the individual’s health. Furthermore, when people don’t adhere to treatment, it fundamentally affects outcomes, due to the increase in drug-resistance.

BroadReach founders John Sargent and Ernest Darkoh have consistently asked the sector “is this as good as it can get?” and this question piqued my interest. Since its inception in 2003, BroadReach has been on a quest to find and develop the missing kernel that can really change the game. Public health delivery is messy but there is a richness of data and potential. BroadReach’s voyage of discovery has revealed that data can be used to improve management practices, access and outcomes. Technology is then key to help integrate public health data, exploit the power of mathematics and generate the insights and recommendations that direct improvements.
I joined BroadReach earlier this year to join the quest. My department, Client Success, ascribes to Simon Sinek’s “start with the why” – asking first what problem we are trying to solve, systemic problems like: why patients who test positive for HIV don’t adhere to treatment? The answer starts not with the data, but with asking why patients aren’t adhering. We look at key drivers of the problem, and apply our team’s expertise working with the clinical and operational staff on the ground to understand how to craft the solution that will positively impact health outcomes.

We then turn to available data and apply our skills to unlock its value and drive better management practices. We are looking beyond the data to configure proven implementation approaches and methodologies. Client Success then implements enabling technology, through the use of the Vantage platform, to accelerate the scale and impact of the solution so that is can be consistently executed.
Client Success represents the connection between achieving our client’s vision and the implementation of our intelligent technology enabled management solutions, tailored to meet their challenges. I am proud to be part of the team as we forge a new path for health systems delivery.