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Interview of the Week: Accessible, Effective and Dignified Renal Care



Andrés Gutiérrez, CEO of Médica Santa Carmen, spoke to Mexico Health Review on the statistics of kidney damage in the country and how to address this growing problem.

Q: How is Médica Santa Carmen redefining the renal health business?

A: At Médica Santa Carmen, we focus on what is needed and imagine what could be possible for renal patients to live a healthy, happy and productive life. What is needed today is accessible, effective and dignified care. Mexico needs more clinics to boost access with cheaper and easier payment methods, including the possibility for universal care. It is also essential to have better clinical results, evidence-based medicine, hygienic practices and the implementation of international safety standards to improve kidney health.

We consider that a patient-centric long-term view is key to redefining renal-patient care. We need to stop defining the condition when a person’s kidneys stop functioning as insufficiency or end stage. While stage 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD) is currently irreversible, patients can live a long, high-quality life with available therapies like dialysis. We are not far from having stem-cell, genetic and other biotech-based solutions that closer mimic the original kidney function.

Q: Why did Médica Santa Carmen decide to focus on renal health?

A: We started out by observing the large gap between the growth in kidney disease cases and the quantity and quality of clinics available. Diabetes, hypertension and other public health concerns contribute to the high incidence of the disease in Mexico. The country has over 10 million people with some form of kidney damage, of which between 200,000 and 300,000 have stage 5 CKD requiring dialysis or transplant. It is also estimated that one in every two Mexicans does not have access to therapy and a third of the facilities that can provide treatment do not comply with the Ministry of Health regulations. Dialysis is expensive, unsustainable for most individuals and yet there are few alternatives. We see an opportunity to change renal care in Mexico.

Q: What has Médica Santa Carmen identified as the main needs for encouraging renal health?

A: We believe that awareness and clear care “action paths” are essential to achieve a measurable impact in reducing CKD prevalence. Most people are unaware about chronic kidney disease as it is generally asymptomatic. The goal of Médica Santa Carmen’s ‘Check Your Kidney’ (#RevisaTuRiñón) campaign is to raise consciousness and emphasize prevention through basic screening tests.

Q: What are the main concerns faced by renal patients?

A: Patient experience is something that is a real concern, especially for patients living with CKD Stage 5. We try to be very aware of the physical, social, economic and other hardships which patients face. We’ve designed our systems, processes, and organization around making the patient journey more pleasant. Coordinated care among specialists such as dieticians, psychologists, laboratories and other providers is key to improving the length and quality of life.

This is a fragment of the complete interview published on Mexico Health Review 2018. For more information on this publication and where to find it, please click here.



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