Antonio Carrasco, Director General of PLM, spoke to Mexico Health Review on the ways technology is increasingly changing healthcare.
Q: Which PLM segment has experienced the biggest growth over the last year?
A: Our digital segment, since the PLM digital transformation created audiences, traffic and new channels. Through online media and our registered user database, we can know what patients and health professionals are looking for and redirect them to where they can find it. This has allowed us to offer digital marketing campaigns focused on our clients’ specific needs. All the information we gather targets pharmaceutical and medical devices companies because through searches made by users we can predict what other products may interest them. Therefore, we can offer marketing opportunities to more companies and increase the number of PLM’s potential clients. Each year, our channels receive 120 million searches related to products within the life sciences.
Q: What impact has the use of applications had on the PLM business model?
A: The impact has been enough to replace the main business of the company. We are implementing an innovative digital element based on assets such as audits, our credibility as an editorial platform and the traffic generated by this platform. We have been working on transforming all our content to digital for years using Watson, IBM’s AI system. We have been using IBM for our mobile applications and after six years in stores our applications are still in the Top 10 for health.
Q: Why is Guía Salud, your new project, important to PLM’s strategy and what are its benefits?
A: It is an application that answers three questions: Why was the medicine prescribed? How much does the medicine cost? Where can I find the drug? It is supported through an IBM Watson service provided by a company called 1Doc3. The application provides the content in a familiar language for the patient and links the SKUs with their prices.
Q: PLM has a collaboration agreement with UNAM’s Medicine Department Library. Is there a plan to expand this collaboration to other universities?
A: We have worked with universities since the foundation of this company 76 years ago. If the information we share is closer to the industry and to the clinical evidence, the decisions that thousands of doctors will make about millions of patients will be better and their health will improve. UNAM has had full access to our database for 15 years and all universities interested in our information can be linked to our program.
Q: How have PLM’s human resources needs changed through digital transformation?
A: PLM has three main pillars for its transformation. First, we created an information laboratory made up of professionals specialized in data science with a focus on statistics and mathematics. They know how to standardize, categorize, understand and analyze information and can develop AI cognitive processes and machine learning projects. Many of our data scientists are biologists, so they know how to organize information. We also have an IT department in charge of transferring information to electronic platforms and configuring the database. Finally, we maintain our editorial area, which is important for us because all the content we share must be perfectly written and edited.
Q: How can a full penetration of Big Data impact the Mexican health system?
A: Data is the strategy every country is using to improve healthcare. For professionals, it is essential to provide a better diagnosis and better treatment as well as to create a commitment to the patient, since the patient centricity is based on the information. In the case of Mexico, data can help contain chronic diseases and can help manage patients and give them better follow up. Overall, data can help professionals and patients make better decisions, which will lead to reduced healthcare expenditures.