David Saganelidze: Hospital Sector Development is a Project of the Century for Georgia
April 11, 2016
Educational animation about PPP
April 27, 2016

Public Private Partnership in Health Care

Nino Subeliani: PPP Benefits are Especially Revealed in Healthcare System in Various Countries

Healthcare has become one of the most vital components for Georgian society, Government is actively implementing several reforms to improve and develop the system.

Georgia is about to implement “one of the biggest projects” in the healthcare sector that will see the cost of medicines reduced by 30 percent. The project also envisaged a complete overhaul of three of the country’s hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry to ensure it meets top European standards.

Georgia’s state-owned shareholding company, the Partnership Fund (PF), and the country’s Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs discussed future plans with AlphaMedic, an Austrian consortium, to turn this project into reality. Nino Subeliani a healthcare communications consultant answered to our questions in this regard.

Nino, what is the informational environment in the healthcare system now in Georgia?

Situation has drastically changed now if we compare 2014-2015 to the previous years. Activities in the healthcare system are rapidly intensifying in positive way, based on what I see, but there is also much interest to get more and more information about the healthcare projects.  Publicity of healthcare projects is high, but the finding is the following: there is a lack of knowledge in some directions and, seemingly, some projects need not only PR, but also educational campaigns before launching.  In this case the communication process will bring its positive outcome.

Which directions would you emphasize for educational campaigns?

I would say, all directions are required, but the PPP model is of crucial importance, especially in the healthcare sector – this model has become a topic of discussions in the light of cooperation between AlphaMedic Consortium and the Partnership Fund. I monitor all the information in media related to this topic and the findings are that the model should be explained to different groups – doctors, business sector, media, and even to ordinary citizens, because the PPP model is beneficial for the whole society, each citizen.  If you ask 10 persons in the street – what is the PPP, answers will be different and 90% of them will be wrong, but the problem is that answers might be wrong even if you ask employees of different industries, as well. It’s more important to make focus on the media that delivers information to the general public.  PPP – as the Public Private Partnership format, is not something new even for Georgia and if we speak about this model, we should analyze its benefits on a local and international level – and the government and private sector should provide good and valuable informational campaigns in this respect.  

What about your experience in PPP?

Not big, but during years I have worked in a German concern – cement business that is international company operating in more than 40 countries, thus, more or less I have sufficient experience to know the best practices of business models on an international level, including the so-called PPP. I have personally participated in the Public Private Partnership project for “promotion and protection of biodiversity at quarries” and I can analyze this model as the best one to avoid any financial or on time delivery risks, because the private sector bears significant risks and management responsibility, and remuneration is related to performance.  

Have you examined the international practice of PPP projects?

I would say – yes, but process still continues. I plan to attend the international healthcare PPP summit in Istanbul in April for a knowledge sharing that will be important for the proper communication process in Georgia. As to the worldwide practice: Like in environment protection, that I mentioned, PPP is well practiced in different directions such as infrastructure, education, and healthcare. In PPP benefits I would emphasize – Long-term value-for-money created through appropriate risk sharing throughout the whole life of the project and benefit for the public that is especially revealed in healthcare system in various countries, like Great Britain– that is a leading country in this direction.  In the developed countries, PPPs are used to develop and maintain healthcare infrastructure, mostly leaving service provision in the public domain. This mechanism, also known as a “private finance initiative” (PFI), introduces predictability into government payments for creating and operating healthcare facilities as a result of bundling the design, construction and maintenance of the facility into the same contract. Doing this incentivizes the private operator in ways that can lead to better quality and more efficient hospital design, management and maintenance. As healthcare is directly related to wellbeing of each person in population, information on any healthcare program and its business models, should be delivered in affective way to the public and why: that is something that significantly changes our lives!

According your desk research, what is the statistics of the PPP projects in healthcare of the developed countries?

The leaders in PPP projects in healthcare are Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany and the USA that have developed more than 1000 projects under the PPP model especially in healthcare.  This is the signal that we should go on this way! This is the signal that we should trust this model.

Finally, once you are concentrated on healthcare communications, what are your future plans? Seems healthcare became the most interesting direction for you.

True! Healthcare is in my mind because of many reasons: I am from doctor’s family, so I always was interested in this sphere – from my childhood. Once I am communication consultant that I like very much it’s interesting to merge these 2 interests in my career.  Other point of my enthusiasm is my social responsibility – it’s clear – healthcare is important for any citizen – and it’s clear – each person should know what is going on in this direction. When I visited one of the biggest hospital in Istanbul because of the personal reasons, I dreamed to have the same in Georgia… By the way – hospitals development is rather related to medical tourism that is important for country and my personal objective is to support these important healthcare projects. Moreover, concentration on communication process is important for industry that needs international relationships to be well organized.  I personally trust international standards and would like to follow experience of the developed countries.

About future plans: healthcare is a specific direction, and the international experience shows that communication process in this field has more effect if there is an independent competence center that works only for healthcare programs. It might happen in the nearest future that I create a special company. I think this is realistic plan from my side, based on my previous or current work experience and local and international contacts.  Industry really needs a competent group that will be focused only on healthcare. I already have negotiations on partnership with local and international associations and international healthcare PR companies that will help me make steps forward.

Nino Subeliani