Innovation at a Glance with Africa MedTech Hub
Genesis Expo will gather over 5,000 CTOs in one place, and about another 11,000 engineers. If you are a first time dev at Expo this post should help you think about your trip.
Where do you stand in the Digital Health Space? Are you an Innovator or a financier? How much do you know about Fintech?
Africa-MedTech Hub has had several interesting conversations with the charismatic leaders of various health-focused innovation companies leading up to the March 2023 Africa-MedTech Conference to be held at Radisson Blu, Nairobi: Themed
TECHNOLOGY FOR VALUE-BASED CARE.
This month we take a glance at our second value-based care lens: Data Infrastructure and Interoperability. Who is Who amongst the companies, innovators, and the pioneers focused on this space, and how do they add to Value Based Healthcare.
A recent conversation amongst pioneers that stood out was with two of Savannah Informatics Directors; Dr. Justus Kilonzi and Dr. Ngure Nyaga. In the hustle of any city a building stands out not because it is new but rather because of its architectural advancement. Savannah is not the new kid on the block, but it is well known for its interoperable IT solutions in the Healthcare space.
Savannah runs the country’s largest health information exchange and prides itself as a forerunner in Universal Health Coverage: Its strength is being able to provide interoperable patient solutions. Its core functions are the ability to provide electronic services to health insurers including pre-authorization, verifying patient information and eligibility; Slade 360 being its main product.
Their first strategy was to streamline the current norm of doing things starting with reducing paper and manual based patient record services and exchanging it with integrated software programs. Using these programs would result in reducing fraud and abuse of the current healthcare systems. The escalated increase in the use of accurate data, promoted better decision making, quickened payment processes between all involved parties, ultimately fostering cooperation, information exchange and network coordination. An impartial observer would see this as an overnight success story, however their hard work and endless all-nighters paid off! Savannah became the go-to interconnector between payors albeit insurers or employers, the patients and the medical service providers. Slade360 provides safe interoperability between stakeholders guided by international standards and data privacy regulations.
Savannah goes the extra mile to ensure that patients are correctly identified, and their health record is accurate thereby ensuring the medical service provider can correspond correct data with correct medical care. It is patient driven holistic care from a data perspective. Prior to Savannah, the interactions between insurers and medical service providers were dominated by paper. Slade360 simplifies and automates the processes involved in identifying patients, claiming payments from insurance companies, getting authorization prior to delivering services and reconciling payments received from insurance companies; ultimately improving access to healthcare. Savannah’s goal is to ensure that patients have access to their own data, and are enabled to access better HealthCare services, throughout the region.
- How did Savannah start?Their initial quandary was where to start with a limited number of successful business models in the Kenyan market to emulate. Having looked at several use cases to understand where the business opportunity was, the team of four focused on insurance solutions. The “Why?” behind insurance was the understanding that there is a huge gap in the information between hospital, insurer and patient. The method was to ensure the gap is filled with correct data and seamless transferability. The answer was to challenge and improve the paper-based systems and at an affordable cost. Thus, the birth of Slade360 EDI Insurance Solution in 2013. Slade, generally described in house as a “transaction engine” is an electronic data interface. Slade works to close loopholes that had driven up the cost of care thereby increasing the number of patients able to receive affordable care throughout the year, instead of ‘staccato’ care. With time Slade360 ensured there was a return on investment for the insurers by reducing the cost of processing claims and increasing the speed at which providers’ claims got settled. Savannah’s strength is that the team has designed everything to work well in the local context and have centered the design on ensuring the patient comes first. Over the years, Savannah has grown to a team of 120, including growing during the challenging COVID-19 Pandemic.
How they did it supersedes our “Innovation at a Glance” for today. However, join us in a panel discussion with one of Savannah’s Directors, Dr. John Muthee at the Africa-MedTech Conference held on March 29th, 30th and 31st! Hear for yourself the truths behind discovering and creating a new space to succeed in!
Schulman, Kevin. “Savannah Informatics.” Harvard Business School Case 316-111, January 2016.
Savannah Informatics Shiriki Webinar (in-house)
Nyakeri, W. (2021) Savannah Informatics: Driving renewed growth in Kenyan Health Informatics Company. dissertation.
Schulman, K., Muthee, J. and Kilonzi, J. (2021) “Savannah Informatics: Innovation During the Covid-19 Pandemic ,” Stanford Graduate School of Business [Preprint].