Innovation is at the heart of our work at Living Goods. We test innovations with the potential to dramatically deepen the impact of community health programs, as well as to build important evidence to influence community health practice and policy.
Innovations at Living Goods
Living Goods is passionate about pushing the envelope to expand the health services we offer, reach more families by partnering in new ways with government, develop new technologies and to pioneer long-term financing mechanisms for community health programs—so we can build lasting change and impact.
Ongoing innovation is vital when lives are at stake, and we are determined to ensure we embody a culture of learning and learning from failure. The community health programs we directly implement serve as a testbed for innovation and fast learning, and we seek to share those insights with the broader community health community.
We believe in finding and developing transformative, context-relevant solutions for community health through our data-driven “Five-Stage Innovation Process”:
Living Goods’ Five-Stage Innovation Process
Examples of innovations at Living Goods
Results-Based Financing in Uganda: Living Goods is testing a results-based financing mechanism that could ultimately lower the risk in community health investments to government, bi/multilateral funders.
Technical Assistance to Government: Living Goods is developing new ways to support governments to strengthen community health systems and service delivery.
Government Contracting of Living Goods services: Living Goods is pioneering new ways of partnering with government to deliver high-quality community health services. One example is the co-financing partnership with Isiolo County in Kenya to digitalize and deliver their community health services.
Family Planning Services Integration: Living Goods tested the integration of comprehensive family planning services into its core MNCH program, including the injectable Sayana Press in Uganda and is now rolling it out in Uganda and testing in Kenya.
Immunization Services Integration: Living Goods is testing the integration of immunization services into its core MNCH program, including testing several incentive and demand generation innovations to drive timely and complete uptake of immunization.
The Community Health Innovation Network
The Community Health Innovation Network or as is more commonly known, the Innovation Network, is a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded program that brings together Living Goods and Medic Mobile to design, test and deploy creative solutions to the health needs of the communities served by Living Goods’ supported CHWs. The goal of the Innovation Network is to leverage emerging technologies such as non-invasive diagnostics, smartphone-enabled testing, RapidPro, and biometrics, which demonstrate the immense potential to transform health care delivery.
Under Phase 1 of the program, the Innovation Network tested three innovations through a field office, located in Kisii County, Kenya.
Living Goods aims to improve client care and experience through an improved flow of care between health facilities and community health workers (CHWs)—closing the loop of care. To test the efficacy of the “closed-loop’” referral system, a digital referral mobile application was rolled out to seamlessly transfer patient information between CHWs and health facilities in real time, ensuring community-level follow up, noting referral completion rates, and facilitating flexible referrals for treating childhood disease, pregnancies, and newborns, with a focus on building the capacity of existing referral strategies to ensure we leverage the full-spectrum continuum of care.
HIV Self-Testing Closed Loop
CHWs in Kenya currently provide counseling on healthy living for HIV-positive people, identify and refer at-risk pregnancies and newborns, provide counseling on HIV prevention, and distribute condoms. Through this pilot, the aim was to improve HIV status awareness and lifestyles through designing, building out, and testing workflows that facilitate HIV self-testing, referrals, notifications, and ongoing care at the community level. This included providing information and contact cards for partner-assisted testing; and using the closed-loop referral system to refer reactive and untreated cases to health facilities.
Living Goods’ aim was to leverage a large amount of data collected by CHWs through our Smart Health app to create algorithms that allow for better prioritize and focus a CHW’s time toward the households most in need of care. Using the Equity Tool embedded in our app, the team identified the most in-need populations by harnessing data exploration for prediction indicators and risk factors, building predictive models for risk identification, and leveraging data modeling to prioritize tasks based on risk predictions in a targeted area.
Under Phase 2 of the program, the Innovation Network team brought on board some additional partners with a more aggressive approach to enhancement of health care at the community. This includes both ThinkMD and Praekelt. Studies launched include:
Client Initiated Health Assessment (CIHA)
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Living Goods launched a self-triage tool that allowed households members to self-assess themselves for Covid-19 through sending “Help” to 20276. The tool which is available to registered households under the Living Good’s network, will take the user through a series of “Yes” or “No” prompts which the platform uses to make an initial illness assessment. The household member is then guided to either seek further assistance at a health facility or contact their CHW (via a system-initiated alert) to conduct a household visit. To further enhance the value the platform has to offer iCCM assessments capabilities were added and soon ANC and PNC assessments will also be available to household members.
Data Ecosystem Support Initiative (DESI)
DESI or the Data Ecosystem Support Initiative looks to leverage data for insights generation and planning. Here Living Goods’ looks to build an analytical data repository that pulls together both internal and external data to support insights generation for innovations in response to a couple of use cases such as the impact of Covid-19 on community health service delivery, commodity distribution and predictive analytics modeling for immunization default.
Virtual Design Lab (vLab)
Initially designed as a HCD pop-up Lab to be embedded with the community; the Design lab needed to take a virtual approach in response to the pandemic leading to the creation of the vLab.
The vLab focuses on innovations that have passed concept stage and are ready for user feedback, whether physical products, digital services, or new ways of working. Its purpose is not to ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ these innovations; rather to gather useful insights that can be used to iterate designs and build more successful solutions. It is a necessary support function for all the activities under the Innovation Network and allows for rapid design, iteration and testing of various qualitative and quantitative sprints. Each sprint focused on a different product or process enhancement which collectively lead to better community health service support.