Recent report identifies 7 success factors for mHealth financial sustainability and scale for mainstreaming of mobile technologies for improved health
Utilizing value chain analysis and case studies, a recent report from mHealth Alliance and Vital Wave provides a clear view of the options and opportunities for strengthening financial models of mHealth for lower and middle-income countries. The report identifies and describes financial models and frameworks that may advance the financial sustainability of mHealth activities.
The report uses a value chain analysis framework to evaluate the following five financial models for mHealth that show promise for sustainability as shown in the figure below:
The report outlines the following 7 critical success factors for ensuring the scale and financial sustainability of mHealth applications:
1. Know the Stakeholders
The characteristics of a value chain partner can influence how(and when) they engage in mHealth solutions and have a strong influence on financial sustainability. These characteristics include:
- Organization size
- Sector membership
- International vs. local
- Repeat vs. New Customer
- Short-vs. Long Term Horizon
2. Ensure the value proposition for all stakeholders
Understanding each player’s incentives along the value chain is a necessary part of engaging them. Implementers and their partners need to consider not just the player’s incentives, but also their strategies.
3. Plan for a long-term economic buyer
Anticipating where money is going to come from, early on and later in the solution lifespan, is also a prerequisite for sustainability. Economic buyers will sustain the operation financially, but they need to have a strong comparative net utility when compared to the next-best alternative.
4. Localize the business model
When examining the “give” and “get”, organizations have to look at the environment, specific players and context.
5. Plan for capacity building, including monitoring and evaluation (M&E)
Ensuring that there is a plan in place for capacity building will help to overcome the lack of financial, human, time and other resources that limit involvement in mHealth. Ongoing M&E is an important tool to support this effort. Communication of impact, cost savings, efficiency gains and ROI is essential to enlisting economic-buyer support
6. Keep it simple
Simpler value chain models tend to have better prospects for success. Where multiple players are involved, keeping contributions within core competenciesreduces the potential for conflicts of interest
7. Understand the particular funding needs of mHealth application types
mHealth interventions have varying needs for funding depending on the type of application and the evolutionary stage of the intervention.
Other key highlights of the report include:
- Financial sustainability and value chain analysis
- Sustainable financing global health case studies
- Strategies for mHealth financial sustainability