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Focus On Management To Address Global Disparities In Health Care Delivery

Writing in the Huffington Post’s “Business” blog, Anjali Sastry, a senior lecturer in system dynamics at the MIT Sloan School of Management, examines “a stark contrast in health care delivery” between developing countries and the developed world. She highlights several obstacles one might face visiting a clinic in sub-Saharan Africa, including lack of transport to the clinic, unreliable electricity, medical supply shortages and incomplete medical records. “Medical research continues to advance, and with the growth of interest in global health we’re seeing spectacular technological innovations,” she writes, adding, “But what’s needed now is management innovation.” She continues, “Without management innovations, emerging markets still face the challenge of deploying new technologies, making sure health care workers’ knowledge is current, and that patients get the follow-up care they need.”

“For the past five years, I’ve taught a course at MIT Sloan called GlobalHealth Lab,” Sastry states, noting, “The course pairs teams of students with clinics, hospitals, and medical startups in the developing world to help them provide health care in more effective ways.” She writes, “Over the years, my students and I have generated practical ideas to improve health care delivery,” and she describes some of these ideas, including: improving the patient experience, better focusing data collection, making the most of human resources, and leveraging existing technology. Sastry concludes, “There’s much promise in these ideas, but they present new challenges, too. … We must also keep working to understand what is needed to enable next steps” (7/26).