News Article

Is Patient Centricity a Passing Fad or a Long-term Trend?

Thu, 09/06/2018 - 14:49

When people become patients, they should also become the center of attention, panelists at Mexico Health Summit 2018 said on Thursday at the Hotel Sheraton María Isabel in Mexico City. The patient-centric model sees the patient as the center of care where all healthcare elements, including providers such as hospitals, doctors, nurses and all the people around the patient, provide care with greater humanity and efficiency.

During their discussion, the panelists talked about patient centricity from its construction as a concept, the change in philosophy and the impact it could have on patients and other players in the health industry. “Patient centricity is a concept that has evolved over time and depends on the service or product with which the health agents participate. For pharmaceutical companies, the impact of patient centricity must be considered from the clinical research stage until the moment people have access to the medicine,” said Monique Clúa, Regional Director of the Transformation Area at Novartis Mexico.

The patient as the center of medical attention also should become a matter of philosophy and conviction for the industry. “Companies must leave aside the idea of being pharmaceuticals that only sell drugs and hospitals that only sell health services, to evolve into a more comprehensive model of medical attention. The purpose of new business models must be to combine all the necessary elements to provide effective, accessible, customized and humane attention to each individual,” said Jaime Cervantes, CEO of Vitalmex.

This change in philosophy should also consider how the patient is perceived and supported. “The pillar of change should start by shifting the patient from being a victim to being empowered. This transformation will spread to the health system and later impact positively the epidemiological profile of the country,” said Lizete de la Torre, Director of Corporate Affairs and Health and Value at Pfizer Mexico. “The future of health in the country will rely on how the industry and the government provide better and more resources to empower the patient through this model. Healthcare is an issue for everyone: the patient, the government and the industry.”

Although the panelists agreed on the relevance of the new model in health, they also stressed there are conceptual differences among industry players and obstacles in the health system to overcome before this model can be successfully implemented in Mexico. Alejandro Paolini, Director General of Siemens Healthineers for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, told the audience that “patient centricity is a very present topic in the industry, but there is still doubt whether all the players in the sector share the same idea.” He explained that the model “should not be about having the patient on your mind all day but about generating a connection between the patient, the services, resources and the system that surround healthcare.”

Alejandro Luna, Partner and Life Sciences Co-chair of Olivares and moderator of the panel, asked the participants to share how the patient and the various players in the health industry could become part of this model. For some, the answer was technology and for others, multisectoral collaboration. Paolini said that “approximately 60 percent of the population has access to digital health apps and wearables, but this is only the first step. The health sector must accompany the patient along the process with technology and by creating more customized spaces and experiences that have a greater impact on the well-being of the individual.” However, for others the key to this change is collaboration. “There is still a long way to go before we have a functional model in Mexico, but as more players in the industry align to the patient-centric model and work together, healthcare attention will continue to evolve positively,” said Cervantes.

The panelists agreed that patient centricity is not a fashion but a trend and a necessity. “Mainly, because the patient-centric model has become one of the key solutions to achieving greater sustainability in healthcare and the patient has become an informed consumer of health services,” said Paolini. As a result, “the way in which companies treat the patient, provide services and products will become not only an obligation but a key differentiating factor for the patient when choosing where to receive treatment,” he said.