We had a fascinating discussion about the promise that franchising offers in the quest for efficient, scalable, sustainable models for global health delivery in resource-constrained settings. Could being “in business for yourself but not by yourself” offer a way to link social benefits to individuals’ drive to build and create?
First, it’s important to understand what franchising offers. Our MBA students have that one down–please post comments to discuss what you think the value, and the drawbacks, might be in drawing on franchising to address the global health delivery gap. Look through some of these links, then come up with your own analysis.
Social entrepreneurs have discussed social franchising in recent years. Here’s a discussion on Social Edge hosted by Benjamin Litalien, President & CEO of Social Franchise Ventures (January 2007). Noting that “there are real risks associated with choosing the franchise route. So, as the social benefit community begins to engage the franchise sector it is critical to go in with eyes wide open, realizing that a disciplined approach is vital to tapping into the value that seems so apparent” he lists some pros and cons .
To begin to explore franchising for global health delivery in a little more depth: a blog post entitled Franchising Health Care as a Business Model for Social Marketing by Craig Lefebvre makes many of the points that came up in class:
One of the shortcomings of social marketing and social change programs is the lack of attention given to their business models. ….. the idea about now being able to build a potentially sustainable program that includes quality control measures and requires the staff to pay close attention to the marketplace, and benefit when they do, is an appealing option…. But the research needed to figure out better business models and how to transition from one to another in a social change program’s life cycle is way behind what the need is.
How to sort out which models work and why, when it comes to franchising? One starting point is a small set of published papers in this area:
Dominic Montagu, 2002. “Franchising of Health Services in Developing Countries“ Bay Area International Group. (June 1).
Jeff Ruster, Chiaki Yamamoto, and Khama Rogo. 2003. Franchising in Health: Emerging Models, Experiences, and Challenges in Primary Care. Public Policy for the Private Sector (June; No. 263)
Edith Patouillard, Catherine A Goodman, Kara G Hanson and Anne J Mills. 2007. Can working with the private for-profit sector improve utilization of quality health services by the poor? A systematic review of the literature. International Journal for Equity in Health.
David Lehr, 2008. Microfranchising at the Base of the Pyramid. Acumen Fund working paper. (August.)
Bishai DM, Shah NM, Walker DG, Brieger WR, Peters DH. Social Franchising to Improve Quality and Access in Private Health Care in Developing Countries. Harvard Health Policy Review. Vol. 9, No. 1, Spring 2008: 184-197.
Finally, a useful resource has just been created by the University of California, San Francisco, featuring brief and up-to-date reviews of issues in private sector healthcare delivery in developing countries–check out Private Sector Delivery of Healthcare Goods and Services the many resources reachable from Private Healthcare in Developing Countries.