A Hong Kong summit on the Innovation Imperative

A huge challenges for every nation is to provide healthcare to its people. This challenge does not end by simply providing health services for them. The more important goal is to secure everyone with access to sufficient and suitable healthcare, based on the needs of each. Unfortunately, facing this challenge entails a rather complex cooperation among different sectors.

[Healthcare in Asia 2011](http://www.economistconferences.asia/event/healthcare-asia-2011) aimed to address pressing issues on healthcare provision by looking into the significant roles of public, private and non-profit sectors. Organized by The Economist Group, this second Healthcare in Asia roundtable focused on the theme, "Public and private healthcare delivery: finding the right mix."

Around 200 representatives from public sector, private companies and non-profit organizations gathered in Hong Kong last February 17-18 to share experiences, information and insights on how public and private institutions can work together for a better health service delivery. Attending were government ministers from Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan and India, as well many people from private companies and from the NGO sector.

<img src="http://healthmarketinnovations.org/sites/healthmarketinnovations.org/fil... WIDTH="270" HEIGHT="220" BORDER="0">

Public-private partnerships was discussed a lot. The private sector brings good quality and efficiency in health service delivery as these attributes tend to bring more clients and thus, increase in revenue. On the other hand, the government’s control and regulation ensure everyone, including those with low-level income, of the provision of health services. Furthermore, financial assistance is better handled by public sector through health insurances. In this way, the poor has better chances of getting the care and treatment needed.

The NGOs and other social enterprises play significant role in healthcare delivery, especially to low-income communities. With the funds that they get from donors, the non-profit sector is able to share health programs and innovations with the underprivileged. The non-profit sector provides answers to the issues when private enterprises do not reach these low-income areas and public institutions lack resources for addressing healthcare problems.

Healthcare delivery varies across countries and communities. A program may be feasible and effective to one area, yet the same program may not be applicable in another. Variation may be cause by financial status, geographical make-up, government setup or even culture.

With this variation comes the importance of innovations (the topic of the [Economist report that was published to coincide with the conference, distributed to delegates and to the local media](http://businessresearch.eiu.com/healthcare-asia-innovation-imperative.html)). Innovative health programs can address financial constraints, as in the case of non-profit organizations which run on donations. The good news is that innovations can target small communities and can be very specific to their needs.

I am excited to be working on the Center for Health Market Innovations (CHMI) which I feel is a good response to this widely-felt drive for innovation. Its comprehensive database of health market innovations provides relevant information to stakeholders who wish to explore possible options for attending to issues on healthcare delivery. Specifically, funders can identify from the database which programs that are really viable and have potentials for large scale implementation.

Policymakers on the other hand, can use the information to come up with more comprehensive policies and reform. The database also presents information that is sufficient as reference for researchers.

I look forward to the first roundtable discussion on health market innovations here in Manila April 6-8. My organization, the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, will host this event. Contact me for more information.