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June 08, 2018
Tackling one of the world’s biggest health issues – improving access to healthcare
By: Lisa Neuberger

Earlier this year, Accenture celebrated the champions of its 2018 HealthTech Innovation Challenge, which welcomed more than 700 start-ups from around the world to demonstrate how their innovative technology and business models help improve the way people access and manage healthcare. The digital health start-up industry reached $7 billion in funding last year, and Accenture’s HealthTech Innovation Challenge seeks to identify and incubate promising healthcare solutions – by pairing leading-edge startups with prominent health and life sciences organizations to address healthcare’s toughest challenges.

One prominent category for HealthTech participants was all about Access to Health. According to a recent report, by the World Bank and the World Health Organization, more than half the world’s population still lacks access to essential health care services. Furthermore, approximately 800 million people spend more than 10 percent of their household budget on healthcare and nearly 100 million people are pushed into extreme poverty each year because of out-of-pocket expenses. There is a critical need for innovative solutions and global actors to work together to help patients access the healthcare they need.

“As leading pharmaceutical companies look to integrate sustainability into their DNA and build stakeholder trust to stay competitive, we are seeing growing investments in access to healthcare for vulnerable and underserved patients around the world,” says Anne O’Riordan, senior managing director of Accenture Life Sciences and co-author of Healthcare Disrupted. Digital health start-ups will play a crucial role in bridging the access gap. For this reason, Accenture is eager to cultivate innovative start-ups that address how remote populations get access to better trained and skilled healthcare workers.

doctHERs Leads the Way with its Innovative Solution – Access to Healthcare and Work
We are excited to announce doctHERs as the ‘Access to Healthcare Innovation Champion’ of the 2018 HealthTech Innovation Challenge. doctHERs is a novel, digital healthcare platform that connects female doctors to health consumers in real-time while leveraging online technology. doctHERs stood out among the applicants for its innovation and commitment to transcend socio-cultural barriers that restrict women healthcare professionals to their homes, while correcting two market failures: access to quality healthcare for underserved communities and inclusive employment for women.

The team at doctHERs understood the strategic business and societal value of access to healthcare and has a compelling model to partner with companies to unlock value. After impacting more than 25,000 lives across its network of eight telemedicine centers across Pakistan, doctHERs strategically pivoted from the Community Health Model to focus on target underserved/uninsured stakeholder populations within corporate value chains like Unilever.

What’s Next – Accelerating Innovation
“Accenture has tremendous experience in advancing groundbreaking technologies to improve access to healthcare,” says Natasha Sunderji, Global Health Lead of Accenture Development Partnerships. “Working collaboratively across our global footprint, we have the potential to accelerate the work of leading social innovators like doctHERs.” We will bring together emerging technology with health and international development experts to support doctHERs in scaling and replicating its Punjab corporate value chain model in a unique workshop leveraging Accenture’s Innovation Architecture.

“We’re thrilled to be part of this program… it’s like drinking from an innovation and strategy fire-hose!” – Dr. Asher Hasan, Founder and Executive Chairman, doctHERs

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