SINGAPORE, 18 September 2018 – IIX – a global organization dedicated to building a more inclusive world through innovative finance – today announced the results of a study on gaps in women’s health services, financing, and outcome measurement in the United States. Focused on underserved women in California, Minnesota and New York, the study demonstrates a new patient-centered, inclusive model for financing, measuring and driving improved health outcomes, reducing long-term costs, and integrating patients’ voices into health care delivery.


The study was supported by the Medtronic Foundation, which is focused on expanding access to quality chronic disease care among underserved populations worldwide, as well as supporting health initiatives in communities where Medtronic employees live and give. IIX and Medtronic Foundation partnered to assess the potential for an innovative financial structure – the Women’s Health Bond – that unlocks new resources for underserved women and improves the rigor of health measurement, and to build a health outcomes assessment toolkit publicly available for any organization to use looking to improve its own performance.

Durreen Shahnaz, Founder and CEO of IIX, said: “The area of women’s health is facing severe funding gaps, rising disparities, and high incidences of preventable diseases or deaths. With the opportunity to impact the lives of millions of women across our target areas, the study provides further evidence of the role that innovative finance can play in catalyzing solutions to women’s health—particularly for underserved women. Our hope is that IIX can bring our decade of experience putting women at the forefront of change to drive greater gender equity in health.”


There exists a significant gap in women’s health in the U.S., in terms of patient experience, quality of care, and total health care costs. Key findings from an analysis of over 60 stakeholder interviews and insights from industry experts, frontline health workers and patients demonstrated the need for an innovative financial instrument that unlocks new sources of investment capital and scales up solutions to key women’s health challenges. Based on three principles for delivering positive impact—patient-centered, pro-active, and positive incentives for health care outcomes—the study identified women-specific cancers, maternal health and reproductive rights as areas where innovative finance can make the biggest impact in saving lives and reducing future costs.


While there is growing interest in value-based care in the United States as the foundation for sustainable health care, challenges exist to measuring outcomes and the impact of care on patients. The study identified ‘lack of inclusion of patients’ voices’ as the most significant barrier to measuring health outcomes, followed by ‘focus on volume of care instead of value of care’ and ‘retrospective approach to measuring results.’


Shahnaz continued: “Innovative finance provides more than a new model for funding much needed change. Our impact assessments have benefited over 23 million people across 40 countries on issues ranging from women’s livelihood and empowerment to sustainable peace. Our financial instruments are built around systematically listening to and amplifying the voices of beneficiaries, measuring and tracking outcomes that are important to them, and proactively aligning investment dollars and solution providers to the desired end goals. The next step for IIX is to design a series of innovative financial structures to magnify health care outcomes at a greater pace and scale.”


In the U.S. women-specific health issues require special attention—especially for underserved women. As much as 53% of low-income women face barriers to accessing preventative or early diagnostic breast cancer services due to the cost of medical care, despite the potential of mammography to reduce cost of treatment by as much as 35%. Meanwhile American women face the highest rate of maternal mortality among developed countries, despite 60% of pregnancy-related deaths being preventable.


The study was advised by a task force of over 20 experts in healthcare, finance, and academia—including representatives from The Mount Sinai Health System, the American Cancer Society, the Minnesota Department of Health, Stanford University, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Social Impact Initiative.


Read the Women’s Health Bond Feasibility Study Report

Read the Women’s Health Impact Assessment Toolkit