“The idea for Le-Nest was formed when we realized the potential of preventive health care and improved health management skills among community members to lower costs and increase efficiency in the healthcare system. As it is, most people seeking health care completely bypass primary health care facilities, seeking care instead at overburdened tier-three hospitals. This will simply not work with China’s increasingly aging population and growing chronic disease burden” -- Limin Gao, founder of Le-Nest.
China has one of the most rapidly aging populations in the world and as a consequence is experiencing an increasing burden of chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. Le-Nest addresses this gap by bringing appropriate and effective preventive care and self-management skills to their patients through existing community networks in Shanghai, China.
As it is, patients in China are able to self-refer to higher-level healthcare facilities, including the most prestigious and specialized hospitals, without seeing a primary care provider first. This practice leads to overburdened tier-three hospitals and has negative ramifications for patient outcomes. Patients often arrive at tier-three hospitals in the early hours of the morning to wait all day for treatment for a common illness, sometimes returning the next day because they did not receive treatment at all. Elderly people in particular have trouble receiving the treatment they need at crowded tier-three hospitals because they are not as versed in navigating the healthcare system as their younger counterparts.
Le-Nest addresses these barriers to care by providing preventive care in the communities where their patients reside and by teaching self-management skills for chronic diseases in order to decrease future hospital visits. Le-Nest also recognizes that the Chinese healthcare system can be very hard to navigate, especially for elderly patients, and has incorporated programs that help the elderly make appointment reservations and obtain necessary medications after their visit. Le-Nest also encourages use of local primary care facilities first, before seeking treatment at tier-three hospitals, by giving patients information about local primary care providers, their specialties, and even their bedside manner. This process, in combination with preventive care and disease self-management, has increased patient trust in the capabilities of primary care providers and led to a decrease in hospital visits among Le-Nest members.
For more information about Le-Nest, see our recently released IPIHD Innovator Profile featuring Le-Nest and white paper Initial Findings in a Landscaping Study of Healthcare Delivery Innovation in China.