- Javier Lozano, Cofounder and CEO, Clinicas del Azucar
- Irlau Machado Filho, CEO, Intermedica
- Sanjay Pathak, COO, CVS MinuteClinic
- Hend El Sherbini, CEO, Integrated Diagnostic Holdings (IDH)
- Carmen De Paula, Principal Investment Officer, IFC
Innovative healthcare entrepreneurs in diverse markets, from Brazil to Egypt to Mexico to the United States, described the key ingredients that have enabled them to rapidly expand access to their services without compromising on quality.
Hend El Sherbini, CEO of IDH, an Egypt-based diagnostic services provider that has grown from a small family business to 420 branches, with recent expansions into Jordan, Nigeria, and Sudan, said: “Quality was our number one objective. It’s just the way we think things have to be done.” The keys to IDH’s success in scaling up, she said, include having very well-trained staff and maintaining consistent standards of quality across all its branches. The company has also worked hard to be cost-effective and affordable, with the average price per test in their labs less than four dollars.
“Quality was our number one objective. It’s just the way we think things have to be done.”—Hend El Sherbini
With more than 1,100 clinics in 33 states across the United States, CVS MinuteClinic is the largest and fastest-growing walk-in clinic in the U.S. Company COO Sanjay Pathak identified the following as factors in their success: 1. specializing on certain clearly-defined healthcare services, 2. developing and publishing evidence-based operating guidelines, and 3. harnessing technology so that a single provider can operate individual kiosks, with patient data communicated directly to CVS MinuteClinic’s electronic medical record. One challenge they continue to face, however, is that up to 50 percent of patients do not report having a primary care physician.
Noting how Brazil’s average annual medical inflation rate over the past decade has hit 14 percent, Irlau Machado Filho, CEO of Intermedica, one of Brazil’s largest integrated healthcare operators, said that his company opted for vertical integration to control costs and reduce waste and fraud. “If it’s a fee-for-service [model] you will always have a battle [to control costs]. Having our own facilities and value chain, we reduce that pressure because we consider them as cost centers rather than revenue centers,” he said.
“If it’s a fee-for-service [model] you will always have a battle [to control costs].”—Irlau Machado Filho
Javier Lozano is CEO of Clinicas del Azucar, the largest provider of specialized diabetes and hypertension care in Mexico. “Diabetes is a catastrophe in Mexico—it’s the number one cause of death,” he said. After witnessing up close and personal the difficulties that his diabetic mother faced with accessing care, Lozano decided to transform the diabetes treatment landscape by cofounding Clinicas del Azucar: “We are a one-stop shop for diabetes care, something that you can rely on very easily,” he said. Their patients pay a monthly or annual fee in return for which they visit as often as they want for free, including receiving insulin doses.