Why a collaborative approach makes innovative treatments and vaccines more accessible
When it comes to healthcare, collaborations can make all the difference by improving the patient experience and streamlining support at every stage of the patient journey.
Collaborations can enhance services by improving information-sharing and by supporting the development of faster pathways to diagnosis and care, including the creation of access to high-impact interventions, such as vaccinations.
One initiative that is using the power of collaborations to drive vaccine uptake is the 10,000 Women campaign, led by health tech start-up mPharma, in Ghana and Nigeria. It aims to expand access to testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) and increase uptake of HPV vaccinations. These vaccinations are highly effective against the prevention of cervical cancer caused by serotypes 16 and 18.
Through this campaign, mPharma has brought together organisations with a variety of expertise, including in molecular testing, vaccine delivery and financial support for patients. This is making it both more practical and more affordable to access tests and take up the vaccine, with payment plans and corporate collaborations providing support for low-income individuals.
Market-creating innovation and cost-sharing
Understanding why these kinds of collaborations are so important to the future of cancer care means understanding what it takes for an innovation to have real impact, says Efosa Ojomo, Director of Global Prosperity at the Clayton Christensen Institute think tank.
According to Ojomo, there are three categories of innovation:
- Sustaining innovations, which make good products better
- Efficiency innovations, which do more with less
- Market-creating innovations, which make something accessible to many more people
It’s this third category that is having an impact on patient experience. “A market-creating innovation is not a product,” says Ojomo. “It’s not simply a technology. It’s a system. When Henry Ford built the Model T,” he says, “he did not just create an inexpensive car – he developed what we might now call an ecosystem by catering for refuelling, replacement parts and maintenance. This is where collaborations come in – they create an ecosystem of providers for cancer care.”
Crucially, collaborations mean that costs can be shared. “Healthcare is a human right, but it’s incredibly expensive,” says Ojomo. And in oncology, technological innovation is creating powerful new diagnostics and therapies that promise much-improved patient outcomes – but which bring significant costs.
Ensuring access to these new treatments is also a shared responsibility, says Ojomo. “I don’t know that any singular component of the healthcare industry is responsible for driving access forward, but you do need every single component of the industry.”
How to create productive collaborations
“How do we create a better experience and improve access for our patients?” asks Ojomo. “We have to answer that question objectively – not through the lens of our business models.”
That neutrality is an essential starting point for creating collaborations. “That’s when you begin to bring in the partners and sell them the vision,” he says. “And you can say to them, ‘Look at what we’re trying to do.’”
Partners need to understand the way the set-up works for them, for their partner organisations and for patients. “They have to have the right mindset,” says Ojomo. “It’s an entirely new system you’re creating.” But if they get that right, the upsides are clear: “Everybody wins if we get this right.”