News and Insights

A New Prescription for Health: The Power of Purpose-Driven Organizations

June 23, 2023

As we navigate the complexities of the 21st-century business landscape, one term is on everyone’s lips: ‘purpose-driven’. Beyond buzzwords, this concept represents a profound shift in the role of organizations and the way we work together in society. I was inspired by pride in today’s report on purpose-driven organizations from FINN Partners, where I work.

Far from being confined to corporate social responsibility (CSR) departments or marketing campaigns, purpose is now driving core business strategies. This shift has significant implications across sectors, but nowhere is it more urgently needed than in the world of health.

Despite advances in medical technology and health policies, half the world’s population (3.5 billion) needs better coverage of essential health services, according to the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO). The question of access to treatment is as pressing as ever, particularly in underserved communities. Purpose-driven organizations focusing on creating social value are uniquely positioned to tackle this issue.

The need is becoming more urgent because of the climate crisis. As my colleague, Gil Bashe says in that FINN report, “Preventing disease, despair and death is now a national — nay, a global — imperative, and environmental health, economic health and public health are everyone’s priorities”.

For instance, companies such as pharmaceutical giants MSD and Sanofi have made it their mission to improve access to medicines. Recognizing that traditional business models often leave low and middle-income countries behind, these organizations have introduced access programs that adjust pricing strategies according to a country’s wealth. By making life-saving drugs more affordable in these regions, they’re not just driving profits — they’re saving lives.

Meanwhile, technology firms are using their innovation prowess to tackle healthcare disparities. Companies such as Medtronic, through Medtronic Labs, are pioneering medical devices designed to enhance access to quality care, particularly in remote or underserved areas. Through these efforts, they’re challenging the notion that advanced healthcare should be a privilege of the few, not the right of the many.

Purpose-driven organizations have a few key strategies at their disposal. One is leveraging digital technology. Telemedicine has seen a surge in recent years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, promising to revolutionize healthcare by breaking geographical barriers. Then there are public-private partnerships, where organizations work with government bodies and non-profits to strengthen health infrastructure. Finally, these companies can — and should — use their influence to advocate for policy changes addressing systemic healthcare access barriers.

This purpose-driven approach comes with challenges. Aligning the interests of various stakeholders, ensuring the sustainability of health initiatives, and dealing with the logistical hurdles of delivering healthcare in diverse regions are just a few that come to mind.

These challenges also present opportunities. Purpose-driven organizations can pioneer new healthcare delivery models by finding innovative ways to overcome these obstacles. Doing so proves that it’s possible to marry profits with purpose and business success with societal progress.

The purpose-driven approach offers more than just a novel way of doing business. It provides a blueprint for building a more inclusive, equitable healthcare system — one that doesn’t just treat patients but sees them as partners in a shared mission. By putting purpose at the core of their strategies, organizations can play a crucial role in making universal health coverage a reality.

The age of the purpose-driven organization is upon us, and it promises to transform healthcare as we know it. As the landscape shifts, it’s clear that the question is no longer whether businesses should embrace this trend but how fast they can. After all, when it comes to health, every moment counts.

POSTED BY: Christopher Nial

Christopher Nial