Building a Health Promoting and Disease Preventing Ecosystem with sustainable business models

In an earlier commentary for TODAY, one of Singapore’s national newspapers, I commented that whilst the Ministry of Health’s exhortation to go ‘Beyond Healthcare to Health’ was laudable and a necessary pivot of the Singapore model, there did not exist today business models that encourage health promotion and disease prevention. Instead, as with most health systems, Singapore’s model perversely pays for ‘sick care’ and the sicker the patients, the more the revenue.

In this second commentary published today, I share thoughts on what a roadmap towards new business models and a sustainable ecosystem could look like:

I highlighted  Livongo in the United States of America which uses advanced technologies and human coaching on-demand via multiple modalities to enable diabetes care:

Livongo’s B2B2C (Business to Business to Customer) model provides diabetes management through technology and coaching, and realises three essential goals: A positive end-user experience which promotes usage and continued engagement, digital-enabled care at lower cost than existing options, and finally, outcomes measurement. Crucially, the outcomes are also digitally enabled and demonstrate convincingly impact and ROI.

The roadmap I laid out as a straw man to encourage further debate and dialogue comprises the following pieces which I guess can be equally applied to any new sub-sector within health and healthcare that countries need to nurture:

  • Unmet needs and
  • Willingness to pay drive innovators to create new products and services which they then partner with early adopter customers to show
  • Proof of concept and value which then motivates other providers to enter the fray, leading to
  • Ecosystem maturation during which winners emerge and losers slink away, finally promoting
  • Virtuous cycle of growth as buyers and sellers interact to create new and better ways to promote health and prevent disease

Early days but I am hopeful Singapore policy makers recognize that after 5 decades of success, it is necessary to re-invent the model and become pioneers once more.

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