Let's talk about finance and health

3 minute read

About the authors

Munad Akbari is Head of Public-Private Partnerships at the Ministry of Health and Prevention, United Arab Emirates. James Castro is Senior Managing Director at B Riley Financial. They are both students of the Oxford MSc in Global Healthcare Leadership.

The healthcare industry faces a multitude of challenges; the root cause of many of these issues can be traced back to a lack of balance and insufficient understanding of the practical financial implications of the industry. As the global healthcare landscape continues to rapidly evolve, it is essential that stakeholders take a closer look at the financial aspects of healthcare to ensure that they are properly addressed.

Post-Covid, it is imperative to break free from the traditional mindset that assumes privatization and profiteering in healthcare are detrimental to the wider society. By allowing more private capital to flow into the healthcare sector, we can unlock new opportunities for innovation, research and development, which will ultimately lead to better healthcare outcomes for individuals and communities alikeInnovative funding strategies are required to bridge the expansive gap between current monetary supply and global healthcare demand. Often hindered by lack of cohesive policy-making efforts and governance, global health financing commitments continue to decline as a percentage of targeted fundraising amounts. Well-intentioned philanthropic efforts are simply not enough to materially alter circumstances.

Throughout the program, we have had the opportunity to participate in thought-provoking discussions regarding the connection between finance and health. This is a topic that is currently being hotly debated in influential forums that shape policies globally. It has garnered significant attention from leaders and experts worldwide, and its potential impact on various aspects of society has made it a critical issue that demands attention.

In recent discussions amongst certain cohort members, several potential solutions have arisen as mechanisms to address the challenges at hand. Some of our hotly debated solutions include implementation of sustainable financing mechanisms, utilization of integrated public-private partnerships and using social impact bonds to finance healthcare delivery.

One of the key ways to ensure that healthcare initiatives continue to receive adequate funding in the long term is by implementing sustainable financing mechanisms. Such mechanisms require a careful analysis of funding models to identify sources of revenue that can be sustained over time, while still being able to support healthcare programs effectively. To achieve this, it is essential to explore various funding models in-depth and evaluate their potential to provide sustainable revenue streams for healthcare programs. This could include exploring government funding options, such as tax-based financing, or private-sector funding mechanisms.

Certain cohort members have also engaged in discussions about utilizing integrated public-private partnerships as a way to address ongoing healthcare challenges. It's a promising approach that can help improve the overall healthcare system. The objective of this approach is to combine the strengths and resources of both sectors to improve healthcare outcomes. To achieve this goal, a close partnership between the public and private sector entities, linked to mutually agreed interests and objectives, is required. By leveraging the unique capabilities of both sectors, this approach has the potential to create a more integrated and efficient healthcare system.

Another emerging topic has been the deployment of social impact bonds linked to healthcare delivery through third-party operators. Social impact bonds are a unique financial instrument that enable investors to provide upfront funding for healthcare programs, with returns tied to the success of the program in achieving its objectives. This approach can help to attract private investment into healthcare, while also incentivizing providers to focus on outcomes that matter most to patients.

Whilst we continue debating on these topics within the program, the world of healthcare is in dire need of a complete overhaul of its financial system. It is an urgent and crucial requirement that cannot be overlooked or delayed any further. The healthcare industry must devise a new financing strategy that is more effective, efficient and sustainable to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients and providers alike.

Oxford MSc in Global Healthcare Leadership