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Winds of change:
towards new ways of improving public health in Europe

Ljubljana, Slovenia
28 November - 1 December 2018




Social Impact Bonds: driving innovation in healthcare and social services? 

Organised by Health Navigator, United Kingdom and Sweden



Healthcare costs are spiralling throughout the industrialised world. Predictions are that they will increase further, driven by expansion of the possibility frontier combined with more obese and aging population and increased expectation and demand from citizens (1).

Something has to be done; It is well established that we must shift from expensive hospital care to early interventions and preventive care, and we must move from payment for activities to payment for measurably improved health. But so far, little has happened. Key barriers to innovation within healthcare are echoed in much of the business world, stemming from funding, policy and accountability challenges. Or simply: who pays, under who’s supervision, for what outcome, and to what benefit?

Can Health Impact Funds - that combine evidence based early intervention/prevention with outcome based contracts backed by private or other capital - be a way forward? 

Social Impact Bond (SIBs) are a new tool that can enable organisations to deliver outcomes contracts and make funding for services conditional on achieving results. Social investors pay for the project at the start, and then receive payments based on the results achieved by the project. SIBs are relatively new financing model developed in the UK, focusing on premium social innovation by defining and praising a desired impact at a specific target group through cross-sectoral cooperation.

Enabling public sector parties to partner with high-performing service providers using private or other investment to develop or expand effective programs, provides an opportunity to innovate under strict budget pressures. A repayment for performance model ensures public sector entities repay only if predetermined outcomes performance metrics are met. 

Since its conception in the UK in 2007, SIBs have expanded globally, with more than 60 projects launching in 15 countries(2). Projects can vary in scope and focus, from correction services to social services and healthcare.

In 2016, Health Navigator facilitated the first SIB in Sweden, a project that has been successful in drawing much needed funds for innovation to a stretched health system. Mutual benefits for investors and public health actors affirm both the reason why this type of financing is becoming increasingly popular.

In this lunch symposium we will explore incorporating SIBs further into the future of healthcare. With examples from Sweden we will discuss investors, responsible parties, payment models, measuring success and outcome based performance.  We will draw on our own experience and incorporate key players from within Swedish healthcare today. We believe that raising private or other capital for intensive support and preventative programmes can address areas of pressing need and invigorate a system under pressure to move forward.