The Surprising Health Care Companies Changing the World

by Amref Health Africa

Fortune is out with its fifth annual Change the World list, a collection of companies that are “doing well by doing good.” Unlike nonprofits and NGOs which, of course, do critical work to lift people out of poverty and improve quality of life around the world, the firms featured on the 2019 Change the World list are very much driven by the profit motive (hey, we’re a business magazine, after all).

As you might suspect, health care plays such an integral role in every day life that several companies working to lift access and improve outcomes made this year’s cut. What might catch you by surprise is that a few of those outfits aren’t traditional health care firms at all.

Take the number four company on this year’s list: TE Connectivity, a Switzerland-based firm that specializes in sensor and connectivity technology to serve a spectrum of industries, from aerospace to oil and gas.

But the reason TE made the cut is for its recent foray into the health care provider setting, where the company has provided guide wires and microcatheters to help cardiac and stroke patients. These threads are about the the diameter of noodle—and doctors can use them to precisely guide medical devices to the exact part of the brain where a clot needs to be broken up or bleeding staunched, all with a simple incision in the femoral artery, according to the company.

Alright, so at least TE is somewhat in the device and device-tangential space, which can clearly be useful in medicine. But what about Accenture, global consulting giant and number 21 on the 2019 Change the World? The company has developed a learning platform that uses simple flip phones and text messages to help train tens of thousands of community health workers in Kenya in a partnership with Amref Health Africa.

While Amref is a nonprofit, Accenture still has the bottom line on its mind: “If you’re not working with NGOs around the world, you’re missing out on growing your business,” Roger Ford, managing director and global co-lead for Accenture Development Partnerships, told Fortune in an interview.

There are plenty of other names to peruse, including: Illumina, which lands at number 35, and has advanced rapid genomic sequencing to the point that critically ill newborns can be sequenced and diagnosed with rare disease in anywhere from 20 hours to just a few days; insurer Centene, which has upped its commitment for American patients with disabilities; GoodRx, whose website makes a valiant effort at untangling the Gordian knot of U.S. drug prices; and many others.

Check out the entire list of companies, and the potentially unexpected reasons they made it, right here.

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