Tell us who you are and your relationship to telemedicine?
Vifor Pharma is a company especially committed to patients with serious and chronic diseases. We work every day to improve not only their health but their quality of life. Therefore, we strive to deeply know their needs, those of their families and other caregivers and those of the professionals who assist them. These needs change so much and so fast, that there is nothing like digital tools to detect and try to match them faster. Our incorporation as partners to associations such as Barcelona Health Hub or Barcelona Tech City seeks to reinforce the integration of new technologies in our activity, so that we can move forward in that process of detection and solution of medical and patient needs.
Why did you decide to support the #YoPacienteDigital project?
We share with this study the objective of contribution to the growth and adaptation of the Spanish health system and accelerate the introduction of models that complement the current relationship between patients and healthcare providers.
At Vifor, we support projects that open the dialogue with health professionals and patients, to maintain the excellent care level that we have to create knowledge networks and, also motivate changes to even improve the care of patients when possible. This project was a great opportunity to exchange experiences and success stories with other corporations, startups, hospitals and health institutions and make this information available to those agents involved in the definition of health strategies and their implementation, both at national and regional levels.
What is a digital patient for you?
In the health sector, the need of empowering patients has been a key topic for many years. According to the World Health Organization, patient empowerment is a process through which people gain greater control over decisions and actions affecting their health. Digital tools can make that process easier and faster, so we can define a digital patient as a patient whose empowerment is reinforced by digital tools. Technological advances such as greater access to information and knowledge and self-management programs are creating a new dynamic through which patients are redefining their roles in relation to health care.
Where do you see the benefits of telemedicine for pharmaceutical companies?
Patients should be the main beneficiaries of telemedicine. Our responsibility as a pharmaceutical company is to offer them the best options to benefit from it. The acceleration of telemedicine could ensure faster diagnosis, easier follow-up and probably a more efficient use of resources. And a patient which is early diagnosed and better followed-up is a healthier patient because treatments usually work at their best given those two conditions.
Why is it important for pharma companies to digitize their services? What are the challenges?
Digitalizing our services is one of the best ways to make our corporate patient-centric vision stronger in order to achieve our already mentioned objective: to improve both the health and the quality of life of patients. The challenge is how to do it, either directly or through their health care providers, without compromising the privacy of the information they share. We must take all the steps required to offer the best technology in the safest way.
Why should innovative companies partner with a medium size pharma company like Vifor?
Medium size provides two factors that characterize the digital area: agility and flexibility. Nevertheless, regardless of the company size, the corporate values of Vifor Pharma – entrepreneurship, teamwork and respect- remain key pillars, and we are happy to partner with those who share them to meet the needs of patients and their families with severe, chronic diseases in the iron deficiency, nephrology and cardiorenal areas.