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New horizons for expanding healthcare – Business Daily

Recently, devolved governments in Kenya have invested heavily in brick-and-mortar expansions for healthcare services resulting into the construction of mega hospitals.
Last week, Trans-Nzoia County launched an impressive 900-bed tertiary level facility to serve its populace. These may be termed as the ‘hardware’ expansions.
However, more needs to be done in other domains of our health system, especially after general elections wherein the devolved units will get new mandates from voters.
These include improved service delivery, human resource development, information management, availing medical products, vaccines and technologies, innovative financing and improvement of governance. These may be termed “software” expansions.
In its recent 14th annual health conference, the global think tank McKinsey outlined key thematic frontiers to focus on in the coming years in healthcare. These include patient-centric care, virtual service models such as telemedicine, and home-based care models for diseases that allow for their use and utilising big data analytics for informed decision making.
Other novel facets include value-based care which increases financing appetite for risky populations, reduction in hospital lengths of stay through ambulatory care models and increased funding for healthcare through private investors.
Examined closely, these facets aggregate around the concept of patient-centred care which is best summarised using an acronym of 4C’s that stand for first contact, comprehensiveness, coordination and continuity of care.
First contact underpins the need to increase access to primary care as a key entry point for patients into a healthcare system, comprehensiveness describes a need to not only expand curative healthcare services but also promotive, preventive, rehabilitative and palliative services.
Coordination describes a need to have lucid referral structures across a healthcare delivery system. Continuity describes a need to focus on the longitudinal journey of a patient from illness to recovery.
In this complex tapestry, it is important for healthcare leaders to shift from a fragmented approach and create a crystal clear integration of the various components so as to generate a well-planned growth that is better poised to improve clinical outcomes for the citizenry.

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