Empowering Patients With Enhancing Wound, Ostomy TechnologyBy Miriam Bello | Tue, 05/18/2021 - 09:37
Q: Why are your solutions the most appropriate to support Mexico’s chronic disease burden?
A: Wound care and ostomy care are our most important pillars in Latin America and strongly tied to the epidemiological profile of the region, which is heavily affected by chronic diseases. ConvaTec’s solutions treat chronic diseases. For example, one of the leading users of our ostomy products are cancer patients. ConvaTec also has a significant role supporting the recovery of patients with diabetes or cardiovascular issues, which we successfully address through our wound-care division. Our solutions directly impact the patient as wound recovery and ostomy care plays an essential role in helping patients re-enter society.
Q: ConvaTec recently opened a research center in Boston. What is the main goal of this initiative?
A: The research center in Boston responds to our drive for innovation that will focus on patients’ unmet needs. Convatec has contributed to the world health with many “patients focused disruptive innovations”. Within our hydrofiber technology for the treatment of chronic wounds, the company has innovated, and special dressings, with a specific chemical composition, have been designed to disrupt biofilm. This biofilm is formed when colonies of surface-attached bacteria secret a slime to protect themselves, exist in most chronic wounds and is one of the healing barriers that lead to a stalled wound. Our solution contributes to fight effectively against biofilm and accelerate wound healing.
We are also working on a foam family dressing that will prevent pressure injuries, which are common and difficult to avoid among bedridden patients. We also recently launched a negative pressure therapy product, which serves as an alternative wound care solution. Regarding ostomies, we developed a new “moldable technology” solution for skin barriers that provide a personalized, custom fit around the stoma to help protect the peristomal skin avoiding worries about gaps and secure seal.
Q: How is the company ensuring access to its highly specialized technology solutions in Mexico?
A: Mexico has a broad health-access problem, even compared with other Latin American countries. Many countries’ healthcare coverage might have gaps but it is available to those who need it. This is not the case in Mexico as the country has a limited health budget that places the country among the lowest rated among the OECD. Mexicans also one of the largest out-of-pocket expenditures at about 43 percent of the total healthcare expenditure, so patients have to pay directly to have access to technology. Given this backdrop, our task in Mexico is to expand our coverage in public and private hospitals and to private insurers. We also try to educate healthcare systems on the benefits of providing patients with solutions that will improve their life quality. For instance, if a patient can access an ostomy pouch, they can continue their daily life with few restrictions. Without it, a patient will have problems rejoining society, primarily because of their discomfort or the stigma related to having an ostomy bag. There are strong social and psychological factors impacting this type of procedure, so we work closely with medical professionals to educate patients.
We have achieved and developed programs within public institutions where we have offered diverse tools and introduced educational models to bring our solutions to the patient.
We have a program with FUTEJE, an organization that collects funding for colon cancer patients, where we support those who need an ostomy procedure and offer them a special price for it.
Q: In the area of ostomy care patient participation is crucial to ensure effective results. How are you encouraging patient empowerment?
A: At ConvaTec, we understand the shock patients face in the aftermath and recovery from an ostomy surgery. We developed a program called ConTigo to support the patient’s re-entry into society after the procedure. The program involves a group of medical professionals, including a psychologist, nutritionist and other specialists. We also have a wound and ostomy care clinic to share information with patients, where they can evaluate the options, they have available to support their full social re-engagement. The information relates to diet, sexual life and travel precautions, among other areas. The goal is to provide them with the tools they need to live the life they want. So far, patients have said that the program has given them immediate solutions to return to their usual activities.
Q: How does Mexico participate in your R&D processes?
A: Through support programs like ConTigo, we receive feedback and measure the impact of our products on the patient. Through that program, we are able to identify the needs and also the achievements of the program. In Latin America, we identified that the main discomforts that patients faced were the adhesives or skin protectors, so we were able to rethink our solutions to create something that provided a better fit.
Q: How could Mexico start strengthening its health system?
A: Mexico faces a dilemma. On one hand, the country needs to start looking into prevention and primary care to keep patients from developing serious complications. Otherwise, the country’s health system will face a serious burden. The complications Mexico is facing are those that break healthcare systems: Non-communicable chronic diseases. The healthcare systems of countries in Latin America will not be sustainable if chronic diseases continue to be rampant. Therefore, Mexico needs to work on preventing these diseases before it is too late. Primary care should be strengthened. Access to primary care helps keep people out of emergency rooms, where care costs are several times as much other outpatient care.
Treating problems early, is also cheaper than treating severe or advanced illness, which often bring patients to specialized doctors in higher levels within the system.
ConvaTec is a global medical technology business focused on serving people and caregivers in advanced wound care, ostomy care, continence and critical care.