Vanessa Ballarte
Executive Director, Corporate Strategy and Digital Health for Latin America
Omron Healthcare
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Omron Bets on Remote Monitoring

By Miriam Bello | Wed, 03/16/2022 - 12:44

Q: What technologies will keep Omron at the forefront of the health sector’s digital transformation?

A: We are pushing two technologies. One has to do with connectivity because as online ecosystems grow through mobile devices, our consumers want to monitor their health on their phone or through an app. We are working to launch a portfolio of connected products, including not only pressure monitoring devices but also thermometers, nebulizers and so on. Additionally, we are expanding our technology to cover chronic conditions beyond hypertension, including cardiovascular or cerebrovascular problems, which can result from hypertension. This will include the ECG, which a client can use at home to get an ECG measurement. Most people cannot read the data from an ECG but our technology will alert you to consult a doctor if necessary. The doctor can then decide how to treat the information. Additionally, nebulization is expanding our portfolio for asthma-prevention. We are launching products that will allow parents to monitor asthma attacks in young children who may not know what is happening. This technology will inform the parent of the attack the child is experiencing so they can get medication. We also have products for pain control, including an expansion into the sports arena through a product called TENS. It is used by soccer professionals when they experience knee pain but anyone can access it.

Q: Why is tech the perfect ally for the “Going for Zero” initiative?

A: The “Going for Zero” program is aimed at eliminating heart attacks and strokes. It is focused on three pillars: Initially, preventing a patient from developing a chronic condition before they develop hypertension or obesity. The second level is control of chronic conditions. And the third is avoiding a second occurrence after a primary event. In Mexico, in particular, we are focused on prevention and we are working to introduce plans for controlling conditions remotely. In the future, as we introduce new products, we will be able to enter the third level, finally “going for zero.”

Q: What products, such as VitalSight, could enter the Mexican market?

A: VitalSight is exclusive to the US because it is associated with US hospitals and their EMRs (electronic medical records). We are mostly thinking about implementing European programs such as Hypertension Plus. We could expand this program in Mexico in 2023. From there, we will launch remote monitoring with a treatment for hypertension, which is our current focus.

Q: How are preventive programs promoted in a Mexican system that is more corrective than preventive?

A: The Omron Academy is a program that works directly with doctors in Mexico and Latin America to ensure they can communicate to patients the importance of home monitoring. One of a patient’s biggest influences is the doctor. With that in mind, five or six years ago, we founded an education and awareness program for doctors. It was created in Europe with a focus on hypertension and comorbidities, obesity and diabetes, including pregnant diabetics.  The goal is to make doctors aware of the benefits of digital home monitoring for the tracking of diseases. We are now promoting this program with some innovations, such as the implementation of digital monitoring where the patient simply connects through their phone and the data is automatically sent to the doctor’s computer in real time, allowing the doctor to monitor that data without a consultation.

We make this technology accessible by ensuring our devices are available in the most important pharmaceutical chains across Latin America as well as in supermarkets and certain retailers. We also have relationships with public and private institutions and provide workshops for the general public, especially regarding prevention.

Q: How does Omron use the data gathered from its devices?

A: Our devices give clients the option of saving the measured pressure on their mobile device. That is where the remote monitoring comes into play because the doctor can see how the patient’s condition is evolving, adjusting the prescribed dosage as needed. In the medium to long term, we will generate algorithms using AI. Through the patient’s mobile app, we will be able to obtain data to help the doctor with treatment recommendations. The regulatory element also varies by country. In Mexico, software will be handled as a medical device and certain requirements must be met before they are approved.

Q: From your global experience, what is the state of Mexico’s health sector interconnectivity?

A: Each country in Latin America is in a different stage of connectivity. Some, like Colombia, are a bit more developed in the connectivity of online medical records and telemedicine approved by federal governments. Mexico is more divided between the public and private sector. The private sector has seen more investment in the development of technologies related to interconnectivity for online medical records, but we have not reached a mature phase of connectivity. Telemedicine and remote monitoring are still in an initial phase where the software infrastructure is being developed, but I think we’re on the right path. The public sector requires a greater effort in regulation through legislation.

This is a process, and we are trying to connect an entire health sector, including institutions of medical care, doctors, patients and insurance companies, with the end-goal of making professional health more accessible for everyone.

 

Omron is a global medical devices company backed by research, innovation and industry-approved educational strategies. It specializes in blood pressure monitors, nebulizers, electrotherapy TENS2 devices and other innovative products and services.

Photo by:   Omron
Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst