Meet Isimo’s new CEO, Dr Jacques Snyman

Call it a match made in medicine. ICON is proud to introduce Isimo’s new CEO, Dr Jacques Snyman, who shares our passion for a patient-centric approach – and considered it a no-brainer to join the team.

When the opportunity arose to head up Isimo Health, Dr Jacques Snyman didn’t hesitate. “I’d been discussing and researching oncology and super-specialised medicine access models for some time, and had been a director for one of the funding companies that worked with ICON, so I had been their client. ICON shared my passion for a patient-centric approach,” he explains. “It was a very easy step to consider an offer which would bring me closer to clinical outcomes.”

Isimo functions as the operational and administrative body of ICON and was founded to roll-out the ICON model to align super specialist environments. Isimo is a doctor-driven organisation that provides a clinical care solution by doctors to patients and their funders which puts patients’ interests first. It offers a progressive approach to healthcare treatment that combines population risk management with individualised care.

Dr Snyman says joining the Isimo team has been an absolute pleasure. He started in January, and although it was a dive into the deep end, he’s been swimming. “It’s going well. At the moment I’m learning about the business and understanding the processes. It helps that I knew the individuals for many years, including several of the board members. We go back a long way, and were involved in other medical processes and clinical trials. That has always been my passion, so it has been great to continue on that path.”

A scholar at heart, Dr Snyman was previously Head of Pharmacology at the University of Pretoria for 20 years and has been a previous President of the South African Society for Basic and Clinical Pharmacology. The Pharma Market Access and Pricing Conference described him as “a renowned expert in various fields of Clinical Pharmacology” and praised his contributions to the advancement of clinical pharmacology in South Africa. Dr. Snyman has lectured extensively both nationally and internationally, and is widely published in scientific and mass media journals and publications.

As a researcher and administrator, Dr Snyman feels strongly about bringing the focus back to the patient. Speaking of Isimo’s goals, he says: “For patients it’s all about the health outcomes. Then there is the clinical and data research component, demonstrating the value of a patient-centric approach to the patient, the funder, and also the provider.” But, he adds, the key is to understand the nuances of the various perspectives. “All three of those values can be so different. The value for the patient will be a clinical outcome, while the value for the provider will be the clinical outcome, but also being remunerated. The value for the funder will be to have this done in a cost-effective way.”

A challenge, he says, is that at the moment South Africa enables a very small private sector healthcare environment which to some extent inhibits widespread and efficient patient care. “Looking at other financial models, developing specific care solutions for patients and their funders, the challenge there would be to convince people that you are not dependent on a single scheme of funding – it’s wider than simply depending on the private sector,” he says.

“There should be a focus on the patient-centric approach, but also the value proposition one puts to your stakeholders. The patient must understand the value of this approach and the specific offering that you bring. What is often misunderstood is the idea that if I give you a value offering, it needs to be cheap. It’s not that one is going for cheap. Your clinical outcome must be justifiable. It’s about cost efficacy and your willingness to pay – getting the best clinical outcome for the money you are willing to fund.”

Measurability is a further difficulty in liaising between patients, practitioners and funders. “When it comes to effectiveness of interventions and the real-life outcome of a treatment modality, we often get to use a wonderful array of treatments but don’t know the clinical outcome in real-life practice. If you can measure that, the picture changes.” Isimo, he adds, has a database of almost 3 million lives, with way over 10,000 cancer patients. “We have the data to drive the achievement of sufficient outcomes. Our clinical protocols can be honed in a specific direction,” he says.

Dr Snyman’s major goal at the helm of Isimo Health is to drive the provider’s interest in caring for patients. “That’s a key strategy – to get the best value for the patient. This is also where the funding comes in: to get the appropriate remuneration, so that providers can continue to do what they do, which is so badly needed.”