Liz Jarman, CEO of Living Goods, joined the organization after leading product strategy at Sainsbury’s, a US$ 30b grocery business based in the U.K. The performance and innovation mind-set she acquired from heading product strategy at a multi-billion dollar grocery chain is helping Living Goods put technology and innovation front and center to drive change in the way healthcare is delivered.
Living Goods supports networks of “tech-enabled” community health workers who go door to door to provide healthcare and sell life-changing products and medicines to treat malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea. By combining best practices from business and public health, Living Goods is reducing child mortality by more than 25% at a yearly net cost of less than US$ 2 per person reached. These successes are largely due to the technology-forward approach Living Goods has taken over the years. By equipping community health workers with smartphones that register, track, and diagnose community members, Living Goods is not only delivering more health services at scale, but also improving transparency and health worker performance by tracking progress digitally.
Innovation that Drives Performance and Transparency
Mobile technology has been a game-changer for Living Goods. The smartphones Living Goods provides to community health workers allow them to register and track pregnancies, diagnose and treat childhood illnesses on site, and follow up with community members. The technology also fuels a best-in-class performance management system that enables them to get real-time data from the field, track instances of illnesses, identify cases that need timely follow-ups, identify struggling health workers, strengthen supervision, and eliminate paperwork.
Living Goods’ innovative approach and deliberate effort to continuously improve quality is starting to spread to its government partners. In 2018, Living Goods built customized performance dashboards for district governments in Uganda to help them monitor and visualize the performance of Living Goods-supported government community health workers. Evidence and learnings based on Living Goods’ operations in 20 districts in Uganda over the past 10 years has led the Ministry of Health to invite Living Goods to be a leading partner for integrating community-level health data into national health systems. In 2019, data collected by community health workers from Living Goods smartphones will automatically push into national government databases, creating efficiencies by cutting out manual processes and ensuring the integrity of data. With Uganda’s current community-level reporting at only 31% nationally, this will drastically increase the Ministry of Health’s understanding of community health. The implications of this national integration will not only allow the Ugandan government to create smarter health policy based on more robust health data, but also promote a culture of transparency and accountability.
“ The Chandler Foundation’s unrestricted operating support enables Living Goods to pursue rapid innovation, which has been the engine of our success. The Chandler Foundation allows Living Goods to think boldly, test new ideas, analyze results, and quickly pivot or redirect if needed, rather than committing ourselves to a certain plan or approach before we know what works. With their flexible funding, we are able to strengthen our work and invest in only the most successful strategies when the time is right.”