How We Work With Ministries of Health and Public Health Programs
A Few Words About Connectivity
Connectivity for point-of-care devices in many countries can be challenging, but over the last decade it has been proven to make an enormous difference in numerous areas – enabling health systems and disease-mitigation programs to get the most return on their investments in point-of-care diagnostics.
|Without Connectivity||With Connectivity|
|Results don’t get to clinicians||Results get to the right person|
|Results don’t get to patients||Patients are alerted if wanted/needed|
|Are my machines turned on?||Real-time testing overview|
|How many modules are broken?||Real-time operational view|
|Which facilities are testing?||Resource planning & allocation|
|Is there an outbreak.hotspot?||Epidemiological information|
|Do my facilities have stock?||Inventory management|
|My stock expired before it could be used?||Improve ROI on medical diagnostic investments|
To learn more about the operational and clinical return on investment, click here to contact our team!
Why isn't the software free?
SystemOne maintains a team of software developers to keep Aspect and Aspect Mobile functioning in large and small countries (and GxAlert, where applicable).
The digital landscape constantly changes: SystemOne engineers must make adjustments as new regulations, devices, testing algorithms, country-requirements, telecom capabilities, and program requirements change.
Maintaining the code base is difficult, but having a system that works in numerous countries means that:
- more and more developers and lab personnel are trained to work with it
- countries can “speak the same language” around diagnostics
- disease programs can compare information and learn from each other
- improvements made for one region or country can benefit all others.
None of this is possible when every country or program develops its own connectivity solution
We also employ a team of operational/customer support staff to work directly with our customers. Our fees are used to pay for these operations.
Unparalleled experience making point-of-care connectivity work in challenging places:
30+ Million Results
5+ Million Notifications
How Does SystemOne Determine Its Fees?
As a company devoted to global health, we seek the fairest methods of allocating our costs to programs around the world. There are different ways to think about this:
- Equal costs for any country or program: This would benefit the most populous programs or countries, but place a higher burden on our least populous ones. Also, larger programs require more support and customizations than their smaller counterparts, so they should bear more of the costs.
- Price per device: Others have suggested we determine the cost per unit, such as ascribing a cost for each device that’s connected. But what if those devices are unused and do not have any information to transmit... should the program still pay for connectivity?
- After feedback from health programs and countries that use our systems, and from the donor community, we concluded that using the number of samples tested is the best means to equitably and flexibly distribute our fees. This is how many products and services work around the world: the greater the consumption, the greater the cost. And it makes a lot of sense in our world because bigger countries and bigger programs use greater proportions of our support and service capacity. It also means that as consumption grows significantly, economies of scale can help reduce costs (see below).
- Yet per-test pricing doesn't work for every country or health program. We will work with programs to allocate the cost of connectivity in ways that work for them and their donors.
Ideally, all diagnostic devices and communications networks would be “plug and play.” But SystemOne had to raise millions of dollars to create a system that could work in any country and handle a wide range of telecommunications networks, device protocols, changing data requirements and program requirements, and that could function through power outages, equipment failures and human failures. We share this only to communicate the fact that setting up a digital infrastructure for diagnostics is difficult and expensive. SystemOne recovers fractions of these invested dollars with each project it implements, and the recipient countries each benefit from the large investment we made. We took this path because we believe it is prohibitively expensive and complicated to do it in each country separately, and such an approach would lead to numerous, heterogenous and unsustainable systems across many countries.
With per-test pricing, our annual fees are based upon the expected number of tests a country or program plans to procure and use. Beyond that, we do not enforce "license limits." Using a "per test" cost allocation method generally works out on both sides and avoids continually changing expectations on costs, which is hard for a program to sustain, and would be difficult and costly for our customers (and us) to manage.
Yes. We set a base level fee because there is a minimum level of effort to support each unique instance (country or program) of the software and to administer a contract. This is independent of the number of tests conducted or network usage. At this point, our minimum fee to set up and run connectivity in a country or for a health program is $50,000 .
In an ideal world, yes, and some device manufacturers include a digital offering with their devices. But they have no expertise in making information move in different countries and ensuring it gets to the right people at the right time. They are also not talented at making sure their instrument information is interoperable with other sources of data, which is incredibly important when dealing with multiple systems and multiple diseases.
Most importantly, no country or program should be stuck with one device manufacturer’s digital platform. What if you want to change devices? Or what if you need to see information they might not willingly reveal, such as error rates and malfunctions? Of what if a health program needs to combine information from different manufacturers' diagnostic devices? For these reasons and many others, a multi-device, multi-disease platform is most useful.
Connectivity usually costs between 4% and 6% of the cost of diagnostics, and of course this can vary. But in general, this is a good percentage to keep in mind when budgeting. It is also a fraction of what a connectivity-enabled system will save in terms of inventory, re-testing, loss-to-follow-up, and optimizing numerous other parts of the diagnostic network.
This is a good question, and this concern is shared across many countries and programs. To state the concern differently: “what if I test 10 billion samples in a few years - will connectivity cost me $12 billion (assuming $1.20 per sample), and isn’t that unsustainable?" But it actually works the opposite way: Because we index our fees to the number of tests anticipated, as that number grows across the world, our fees will diminish proportionally. This is true whether we do per-test pricing or use a different method -- economies of scale will in time reduce the cost of the systems we sell. Currently, our service and support grow in proportion to the amount of testing that's performed, but we can already see that eventually they will level off and then diminish in proportion to the tests performed -- that's one of the advantages of working across numerous countries and encountering similar challenges.