Roberto Tapia-Conyer
Fundación Carlos Slim
View from the Top

Improved Care Through Prevention, Awareness

Tue, 03/05/2019 - 18:04

Q: How is Fundación Carlos Slim using technological platforms to improve healthcare standards?
A: Our platforms PIEENSO and address certification and training for healthcare personnel, mainly for primary care workers who usually have fewer opportunities for training. These professionals work most closely with the general population because they oversee prevention and care of 85 percent of all diseases. As a result, they require continuous training to have up-to-date knowledge. We have developed diplomas in mothers’ health and immunology, which are essential for primary care professionals. PIEENSO’s programs and syllabi were based on patient needs and are validated by UNAM.
Q: Which new platforms is Fundación Carlos Slim developing now?
A: In 2019, we will focus on developing an app that will allow us to communicate with patients and provide them with cellphone access to the health information they need. We will focus on creating a healthcare ecosystem. Our platforms will allow us to use data science to benefit patients through better medical interventions. We work with national and international players to develop these courses because we believe in the importance of keeping healthcare professionals up to date in their medical knowledge. All our platforms are built in close collaboration with medical professionals, as well, to ensure they are easy to use and sustainable in terms of growth.  
Q: What is the foundation’s CASALUD program’s role in improving healthcare policies?
A: Close monitoring helps people keep chronic diseases under control. In March 2015, only 10.4 percent of diabetics had tested their glycosylated hemoglobin levels and 36.1 percent of those had it under control. By May 2019, 52.2 percent had taken the test and 44.3 percent had it under control. CASALUD’s goal is to support the Ministry of Health’s efforts in terms of prevention. CASALUD is a digital platform at healthcare units located in public spaces, such as metro stations, where people can receive checkups and orientation regarding their health. By May 2019, CASALUD’s MIDO program has provided care to 1.32 million people and throughout its history, the program has diagnosed 86,117 cases of diabetes, 136,106 cases of prediabetes and 121,605 cases of hypertension. To date, the Ministry of Health has diagnosed 1.85 million Mexicans with at least one chronic disease using its 12,413 healthcare units. Of these individuals, 1.08 million were diagnosed with diabetes, 1.21 million people with hypertension, 699,399 with obesity and 519,297 with dyslipidemia. Of the 1.07 million diagnosed with diabetes, 52.2 percent received a glycosylated hemoglobin test and 44 percent had it under control. We support the Ministry of Health by collecting information from the country’s healthcare units and processing it to improve the ministry’s decision-making process when crafting public policies.
Q: How is the foundation using IoT principles to improve care standards?
A: Using digital health tools allows us to provide personalized healthcare. Through Big Data, we were able to classify patients into 21 profiles and provide them tailored recommendations according to their needs. This project began in 2016 and has gradually expanded. In addition, its goals include improving measurement strategies during pregnancy, focusing on a number of areas. The first is to predict whether a patient is at risk of gestational diabetes, as about 10-12 percent of pregnant women are at risk of developing this condition. In most cases of gestational diabetes, the symptoms disappear after birth but in about 40 percent of cases the patient remains at risk of developing diabetes later on. The second is to diagnose pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy complication that increases blood pressure and one of the main causes for maternal death. The third objective is to measure excessive weight gain, which might lead to pre-eclampsia or to gestational diabetes. The fourth is to prevent premature births, which are most commonly caused by urinary tract infections. The last objective is to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.