Roberto Tapia
Director General
Fundación Carlos Slim
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View from the Top

Connecting People and Information

Tue, 09/06/2016 - 16:51

Q: App-prende was recently released as a platform for teachers, students, parents and the general public. In what ways will it impact the health industry?

A: The app, app-prende, also found online as aprende. org, has three main components. The first is aimed at strengthening content to ease the learning process for students in areas such as math and science, particularly in elementary and middle school. The second provides training for high-demand employment from technology and food production to other service areas. The point is to make courses available for anyone, no matter their level of education, which can connect them to the job market and improve labor opportunities. Self-employment is promoted as well, as we offer training courses such as beauty salon management. The third element we offer concerns health. The app provides easy to digest information created for the general public. Navigation allows people to reach everyday information through video lessons related to basic information on areas such as skin care, tattoo care and bullying. Plus, the app and website provide calculators that can provide measured information like the Body Mass Index (BMI).

The Foundation deeply believes that health is a shared responsibility between the individual and agencies that can provide support in case of health loss. However, people should not wait till they are ill to take care of themselves and should prevent as much as possible. App-prende is informative, preventive, educational and accessible. The platform is completely free to all Telcel users as there is no charge for navigating the website.

It was created with the Foundation and Carlos Slim’s philosophy, which emphasizes the importance of taking advantage of the information era and its ability to eliminate access barriers through connectivity.

Q: What are the target audience goals for the app?

A: The idea is to reach millions and to continue promoting it. In the first week we were able to reach thousands. Growth has been quick and it is already positioned as a high-level app. The number of downloads gives us a good sense of how these applications are useful for people’s daily lives. The bulk of access has been through the online platform, yet the smartphone growth in the market is increasing.

Q: How does Fundación Carlos Slim collaborate with the public sector to achieve its goals?

Universal health coverage is one of the most relevant topics in Mexico. Fortunately, the Health Ministry is striving to expand their system through solid actions. We collaborate with the institution to implement our noncommunicable disease (NCD) program Casalud, which looks at re-engineering the first level of attention. Our philosophy emphasizes the importance of strengthening the foundation of the health system.

Technology allows us to start all of these projects as we collaborate with public institutions that are promoting our program nationally such as MIDO, an integrated measurement for opportune detection of NCDs. The project implies entering communities, and finding diabetics, pre-diabetics and those free of chronic illnesses. We are finding that the exam can be applied to people on the street in only nine minutes. It allows us to do a preliminary evaluation and find unaware pre-diabetics who can benefit greatly from our guidance. Lifestyle changes are essential to avoiding diabetes and can improve the life quality of many people at risk. We find that half of diabetics are completely in the dark about their condition while the other half, aware of their condition, are not taking care of themselves adequately. The latter can cause eye, circulatory and kidney damage.

Another program being developed is based on paradigms that worked for infectious diseases and that need to be modified for chronic diseases. Health units that focus on obesity and diabetes need their patients to be monitored and not just tended to for a specific period of time. The reengineering of the system is then coupled with technology. Mido Mi Salud is an app that was developed to promote the fluidity of communication between the patients and service providers. Treatment and medicine follow-up will be easier.