Regional Telemammography Solution Meets Social, Health NeedsBy Miriam Bello | Thu, 01/27/2022 - 16:54
Q: Why is Mamotest an ideal solution for Mexico’s and Latin America’s social and economic reality regarding healthcare?
A: Breast cancer’s impact is linked to the lack of early diagnostic opportunities, especially in Latin America, due to shortages of mammographs and outdated technology used to perform a screening. Moreover, access to specialists is also lacking as they mainly work in urban areas. There is also limited awareness on the subject.
With this in mind, Mamotest was developed 10 years ago as a telemedicine-based solution that uses remote state-of-the-art mammographs to enhance access to a proper, timely diagnosis. This solution does not depend on an in-person visit; it virtually reaches out to specialists to obtain a professional diagnosis. Mamotest can be used by anyone no matter where they live, whether in the capital or a rural community. Through this solution, women in both locations receive the same quality results from a recognized specialist.
Mamotest increases access to care — 70-80 percent of women who have used it were unable to receive an in-person diagnosis. The solution also provides top-quality service, delivering results within the first four hours after the mammography. We have already diagnosed 500,000 women in Argentina, allowing us to obtain investment from Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), their first direct investment in Latin America. We will use this investment to expand to Mexico.
Q: Mamotest’s goals include venturing into Mexico between 2020 and 2025. How did your regional success propel this plan and how is the expansion going?
A: Mexico’s health system is fairly different from Argentina’s. However, the Mexican market is larger because we are able to work directly with patients, while in Argentina we have to work through an insurance company.
In Mexico, we are planning to expand through pharmacy chains, local governments and individual diagnostic centers. For example, Mamotest allied with Fundación IMSS in October 2021 to spread awareness. We hope to replicate these efforts in 2022 to reach a wider audience and save more lives.
During our physical expansion, we have recognized that to save the patient, it is necessary to go beyond diagnosis and offer treatment to those who need it. With MSD’s investment, we have started developing our Bolder platform, which will manage the patient’s follow-ups. Bolder will allow patients to store the data from the different follow-up studies and treatments on their journey to a full recovery from breast cancer.
The real-time data generated by Bolder will be used to improve treatment, accessibility and care for women. It will also be used to create a database of the disease that can later be used to create novel solutions and provide the appropriate care and resources for treating breast cancer. We expect to collect data from a variety of indicators, such as mental health impact, treatment adherence and socio-economic trends that might influence outcomes. This data will be protected and anonymized.
Bolder is possible thanks to our work with German company Vara, their expertise on artificial intelligence, used by the German health system, and Mamotest’s know-how are added to the continuous monitoring of the patient through Bolder to offer the best diagnostic experience.
Q: What public and private collaborations are you seeking for your expansion in Mexico?
A: We partner with private companies, such as Avon in Argentina. Through its network of distributors, we were able to spread the word about breast cancer awareness and Mamotest. This was a unique, simple and effective way to reach women in Latin America. Sometimes a company does not need a Silicon Valley-approved communication campaign to approach women; it needs the experience and understanding of the local society.
Our way to approach women in the region has attracted companies such as Vara, an AI-based firm that now powers our diagnostic solution. Vara wanted to expand into Latin American and found in us an effective partner to do so.
Mexico’s first Mamotest center was financed by Vara. This first center, located in Metepec, State of Mexico, offers discounts and “Buy 1, donate 1” promotional offer.
We expect a US$20 million investment to open the 50 centers in Mexico, expand into other Latin American countries and address the underserved market in the US.
Additionally, we recently achieved a key alliance with the Mexican Hospital Consortium (CHM).
Q: Aside from your solution, Mamotest has been involved in law reforms to increase women’s access to health. How do you expect to replicate these efforts in Mexico?
A: In Argentina, we backed a now-approved law that grants women leave from work to undergo diagnostic tests, such as Pap smears, colonoscopies and mammograms. A similar law was recently approved in Yucatan with the support of Mamotest and Tocaté Foundation in Merida. Other states are also seeking the approval of this law through organizations such as Cancer Warriors.
Mamotest’s commitment goes beyond generating tech solutions; we want to change mindsets and laws, improve health access and achieve universal healthcare. We were recognized by the UN as one of the Top 4 health companies driving change within health systems and we were the only company from a developing country to be nominated for the Zayed Sustainability Prize, which we actually won.
Mamotest is the first telemammography network in Latin America. Conceived as a company that uses technology to promote social impact, Mamotest aims to drastically reduce breast cancer mortality.