Using Data to Prevent Fatal Healthcare OutcomesBy Miriam Bello | Thu, 12/10/2020 - 14:21
Q: What opportunities did NEOTECK identify in the healthcare sector and how does your Medical Apps solution address them?
A: NEOTECK was born in 2005 with the goal of upgrading information integration in the healthcare sector. Through the use of existing technological tools, NEOTECK develops solutions to improve the sector’s practices. Information plays a key role in patient management and global health outcomes. As a result, we are constantly trying to propose innovative, accessible solutions for the Mexican and Latin American market. One of the most important concepts for NEOTECK is the integration of all healthcare actors into the same platform. One benefit is to allow patients to access their own information through the same platform a doctor would. This interconnection allows medical professionals to easily detect indicators that can contribute to safe, quick decision-making.
One of the developments we introduced was a diabetes mellitus monitor for mobile phones. The monitoring solution included an option to upload pictures to check on diabetic foot or other diabetes-related conditions. All this information goes to a database that is later used to identify severe cases, their location and what could be done to approach these patients. This development was part of a project in Oaxaca and its outcome was recognized as an innovative proposal by FUMEC.
To respond to the large number of patients with chronic diseases in the country, we developed a project called “My Doc at Home,” which is a home-delivery service of equipment for monitoring vital signs. Each patient will receive a blood pressure meter, a glucometer, a heart monitor and an oximeter with the intention of detecting any signs of a chronic disease. Patients can also download an app where they enter their vitals and if there is cause for alarm, they receive a follow-up call.
Q: What drove NEOTECK to develop the app “MADRE” and how does it benefit users?
A: MADRE is a Spanish acronym for remote monitoring of pregnancy risks. This project aims to prevent maternal death. Last year, 33 women out of every 100,000 died during pregnancy in Mexico. With the pandemic threat, this number tends to increase by 30 percent. With MADRE, pregnant women can send warning signs during pregnancy via text message to a phone number powered by NEOTECK, which, based on the text, will send out a survey to identify the cause for the alarm. We developed a smart comm that sends a survey to identify the sign of alarm and allows a follow-up for prenatal control. MADRE has helped us identify high-risk pregnancies, severe-risk pregnancies and low-risk pregnancies. The data we collected is segmented by geographic zones, age or condition, which can also help us identify common risks. We can also recommend health facilities to go to.
The response to MADRE has been very positive and active. We decided to offer the solution via text message because, through INEGI’s data, we identified that 87 million mobile phones are being used throughout the country, 51.6 percent of those by women and 52 percent of them between 12 and 44 years of age, which is the normal reproductive age. This project has been running in Jalisco since 2019, where we have supported more than 4,000 pregnancies. Both patients and doctors have been very positive about its use and results and have integrated it as a regular practice. MADRE also offers follow-up after 42 days of the baby’s birth to make sure they receive the proper health attention for a newborn.
Many maternal deaths, according to WHO, are due to the lack of follow-up care. With the pandemic, the risk of this scenario worsening is already growing as many pregnant women are avoiding visiting hospitals out of fear of contagion.
Q: What are the main benefits you see in technology being a permanent tool for health provision?
A: The main goal of technology in healthcare should be to integrate all levels of care and attention to deliver personalized results. The patient must be a participant in the processes by sending valuable information that supports decision-making. Doctors should open their practices to technology tools and statistics to support their decision-making.
Q: What is NEOTECK’s target market?
A: We are initially targeting the public sector because of the amount of investment and valuable data we collect. However, the private sector is a more feasible target as resources are needed at the beginning of each project. The sector, however, demands a greater effort as it is wider and has many big players. Moreover, it is heavily influenced by pharma, which makes it hard for us to access and grow.
Q: What other projects is NEOTECK developing?
A: We developed a new app called Mides in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This app integrates information on COVID-19 cases and their follow-up for monitoring purposes, using a methodology that is similar to MADRE. Many COVID-19 patients stay at home and are monitored digitally, through calls, video calls or messages. Mides fits right in with an already common practice for the patient.
By collecting symptoms and data, we began developing indicators that the public sector uses for its traffic light of contagion risk. This allows us to monitor the pandemic through an algorithm of eight indicators at the state, municipal and town levels to know the specific conditions of each area of the country. This is valuable for economic and health reasons because it enables economic activities to resume or to implement special care in areas at high risk of contagion. To conform its database, Mides uses entry information registered by doctors and interaction with clients via text or commutators to create official SSA figures. It also determines hospital capacity to know where a patient should go according to bed availability.
Mides offers real-time projections in each area, which helps us to prevent dangerous scenarios from developing. The project is running in Tamaulipas and Coahuila. Both states are already planning to resume presential education activities based on their contagion risk indicators. Our geographic data is able to break down the zones and identify who is in real danger and who can safely return to activities. For this specific strategy, mobility options are also considered as they are a risk of contagion that can lead to an outbreak. Both Tamaulipas and Coahuila use the terminology RASA, which stands for Radar en Salud, to refer to this project.
NEOTECK is a technology firm that specializes in the design and development technological tools and innovative for health control and care