In 2012, FSG in association with Grantmakers in Health published an important report titled Better Outcomes, Lower Costs: How Community-Based Funders Can Transform U.S. Health Care. The report includes an in-depth conversation with Dr. Atul Gwande, author of The Checklist Manifesto and widely cited expert on health innovation.
In this conversation Dr. Gwande makes the case for more coordinated systems of health care at the local level in order to improve quality and control costs. Achieving this goal requires collective action by multiple stakeholders, including health care providers, employers, community-based organizations, and public health. Although generating collective action can be challenging, community-based funders have distinctive positioning and social capital which they can use to convene the key players and start conversations about health system improvement. Depending on their own particular mission, community-based funders may also become partners in funding and strategy.
In addition to optimizing their role as conveners, community-based funders can play an important role by helping to spread what works. Dr. Gwande points out that one of the challenges in developing local systems of care is the lack of readily available information on strategies that work for particular populations and settings. Community-based funders can help by supporting local stakeholders in their efforts to define, document, and spread what works so that others may learn. This idea of spreading innovation is an often overlooked but vital strategy for strengthening community systems of care.
This brief summary highlights just a few of the important insights contained in this report. You can read the full report here.