Developing an E-Health Strategy
Find out how BCG helped the Rockefeller Foundation to assess and develop an e-health strategy.
The Rockefeller Foundation, a charitable organization that works around the world to expand opportunities for poor or vulnerable people, was seeking a strategy for an e-health initiative.
The initiative would improve the quality, equity, and cost-effectiveness of health care in the "Global South"—a term for developing countries. It would do this by using information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve and expand diagnostic, treatment, preventive, and monitoring capabilities, as well as user awareness and access.
The BCG team identified and defined clear objectives, which would be achieved by focusing on five key areas:
Evaluating E-Health Opportunities in the Developing World
Assess the need for potential e-health initiatives
Evaluate infrastructure (for example, the percentage of mobile phone subscribers)
Assess country readiness
Determining the Potential Value of E-Health
Assessing Optimal Timing for the Broad Initiative
Evaluating the Need for a Guiding Coalition
Defining Potential Roles in Coalition
Coordinated action was needed to address multiple e-health challenges. The two most significant challenges to truly effective e-health systems are
Systems Interoperability. As infrastructure (especially electricity and communications) improves in the Global South, many e-health applications are springing up organically. These new systems are evolving in the absence of any standards, leading to a myriad of systems unable to share information with one another
Establishment of a Strong, Well-Aligned, Incented, and Coordinated Group of Partners. This requires broad coordination and cooperation among a variety of players, ranging from IT and infrastructure providers to health care suppliers to government ministries.
BCG recommended specific ways that Rockefeller could play a key coordinating role:
Serve as a leverage point for e-health by increasing donor involvement and catalyzing application development.
Provide coalition leadership at the outset; direct roles and responsibilities will be scaled back as the coalition grows and matures
Focus on advocacy and convening functions, as well as key areas of program support.
Play a convening role. The foundation is ideally suited to this, as it has a long history in global health and public-private partnerships and a neutral position in the technology space
BCG helped the Rockefeller Foundation to:
Assess the potential value of such an initiative
Determine the readiness of individual countries
Identify potential participants, roles, organization models, applications, and action agendas for an e-health initiative or coalition
Develop a strategy through which the initiative's objectives would be met
The Rockefeller Foundation plans to engage the broad global-health and ICT communities to shape the plan for an e-health initiative or coalition.