Funding agency: Turpanjian Family Foundation
The “Entrepreneurs in Healthcare” (EIH) project is an innovative initiative for the rural development of the Armenian healthcare industry in the scope of the Turpanjian Rural Development Program (TRDP). The project includes several interventions to assist both new medical graduates and experienced healthcare providers in opening and operating private health practices with the aim of improving the quality of, and access to, healthcare services in rural areas of Armenia. The main objectives of the “Entrepreneurs in Healthcare” (EIH) project are the following:
- To equip those healthcare providers who want to open private practices in rural regions (EIH project beneficiaries) with the necessary knowledge and skills through trainings on the basics of Healthcare Entrepreneurship focusing on the development of their own Business and Quality of Care plans;
- To assist project beneficiaries in applying for loans with low interest rates from the local banks to finance the establishment of their private practices;
- To provide continuous support to the new entrepreneurs throughout the process of establishment of the practice, through technical consultancy and quality assurance.
In the frame of the project, recruitment materials (ppt presentation, poster and leaflet) and project webpage were developed between November-December, 2016. As a part of recruitment process a series of meetings with heads of medical associations were conducted in February, 2016. Some heads of medical associations provided EIH team with lists of potential physicians who were working in rural areas and might be interested in EIH project. Between March-April 2017, the EIH team contacted each physician from the list provided and presented the project. During the same period, Dr. Petrosyan with TRDP director of field operations, Zorair Kirakosyan and Hayk Davtyan had a meeting with Natalia Artsruni, the Head of the Investment Development and Promotion Department at the Development Foundation of Armenia (DFA) that works next to the Ministry of Investments and Economic Development. The main purpose of the meeting was to seek for potential collaboration and support for TRDP and EIH programs.
The EIH team several time contacted the Dean of the faculty of postgraduate and continuing education of the YSMU, Dr. Baghdasaryan, to request a meeting with the new YSMU cohort to present the EIH project to the medical residents, though these attempts were not successful because of the reluctance from the YSMU’s side. EIH team also contacted physicians from the needs assessment phase of the EIH project. Additional recruitment of potential applicants was done through TRDP regional coordinators. As a result of these recruitment strategies, 13 applications were identified.
The Quality of Care (QC) training course for eligible applicants took place during May 2017 at AUA. Training participants were practicing physicians from TRDP who wanted to enlarge already established healthcare centers, as well as those who wanted to open and operate quality private health practices in rural areas. Overall, 10 physicians from seven regions of the Republic of Armenia and the Artsakh Republic completed the QC training course. QC trainings were conducted by experts in the field, Drs. Murad Kirakosyan and Garnik Harutyunyan. Dr. Kirakosyan taught the course on quality of care and Dr. Harutyunyan covered the financial issues, development of financial reports, and the process of getting a license for medical activity and getting financial resources from the State Health Agency. Vahe Kazandjian, MPH, PhD, made a guest lecturing on the quality indicators via Skype. All the training participants, besides the course materials, received the book on Quality of Care by Avedis Donabedian in Armenian.
In June, 2017, the participants, who successfully completed the training course presented their Quality of Care (QC) plans to the jury and received certificates of completion.
During the same period (June, 2017), Drs. Armenian and Petrosyan had meeting with the rector of the YSMU, Dr. Muradyan to discuss potential career possibilities for those students/ medical residents who might be interested in the EIH project.