Healthcare Spain – Ana Maria Arboleda, Director General
Adherence solutions company Atlantis Healthcare founded its Spanish affiliate in 2010. Ana Maria Arboleda, managing director, discusses adherence issues in Spain and efforts to ensure that patients remain committed to their medication treatment.
What was the inspiration for creating Atlantis Healthcare in Spain?
15 years ago, we had a very successful and growing business in Australasia and needed to open local offices to give the best service, in Europe (UK, Spain and then Germany) and most recently in the US. Our ambition is to be global leaders in the delivery of patient behavior change and self-management solutions. We partner with healthcare providers, public health systems and pharmaceutical companies to deliver personalized solutions that empower their patients to achieve better health outcomes.
In terms of adherence rates in Spain, what are the most important areas for improvement?
Most chronic diseases have adherence issues. It is important to integrate the full circle of care to achieve better self-management and adherence rates. This can be done by facilitating better one-to-one support, educational workshops, developing specialized communication tools that help inform and empower patients and HCPs. We have found that a support solution designed in collaboration with end-users that also combines unique behavior change techniques (health psychology) can help to overcome treatment barriers. This approach helps to support better outcomes for patient health, the payer and the healthcare industry.
How does this belief change work?
It is a very personalized and unique system. Atlantis Healthcare understands that each patient has individual beliefs that affect their behavior.
Atlantis´ health psychology approach is patient centric and premised on understanding and changing a patient’s behavior to empower them to better self-manage treatment and thereby improve their health. This approach allows us to get to those beliefs and give the patient the unique support needed on an individual basis, since one individual’s concerns might be completely different from the other.
If you target a specific concern, you can make positive changes to achieve a desired change in their behavior. We use evidence-based psychological techniques designed and implemented by our Lead Health Psychology Specialists who are key members of the largest health psychology team in the world. All our interventions are based on clinical research and proven results.
Atlantis has delivered over 80 programs worldwide, across 51 different disease areas over a very wide range of indications. Which areas do people seem to have the most problems?
Chronic conditions and poly-medicated people are the most at-need populations. Asymptomatic individuals have a low perception of needing their treatments therefore their tendency to abandon the treatments is higher. Even for life-threatening diseases like cancer or renal failure, patients can also be non-adherent, although the reasons are different. We are researching these complex challenges more in-depth, in almost all the diseases, adherence is not 100 percent.
How do you measure adherence for pharmaceuticals prescribed?
There are different ways to measure that will depend on the objective of the measurement. We use validated questionnaires through phone interviews or within other ways of contacting the patients (readings materials, digital interface…) in different moments of the programs to track the change in time and track the change in behavior.
What is your market share and how do you reach out to customers?
We do not measure market share, but we do know that our positioning in patient self-management and adherence is very strong. Indeed, we were the first company to talk seriously about adherence in Spain. Since then, I have been in contact with many people across the industry, talking about their issues, patient support, adherence solutions, and support for education or side effects management. We were the first company in Spain to talk about adherence and behavior change. We used to host an adherence event on a yearly basis. Atlantis Healthcare is also leader in adherence and self-management research, and we are periodically publishing local or international articles or white papers aimed to the industry.
How did you find clients in Spain?
We have already created and delivered programs for most of the pharma companies in Spain, so they already know Atlantis. During the crisis we have kept the quality and integrity of our work, and the industry is considering us when they have a new launch in the pipeline. We also implement locally programs that are created as brand support by pharma headquarters across Europe.
How has your relationship evolved with public institutions as pharmaceutical companies become more patient-centric?
We are mostly working with pharma in Spain now. The payers are now recognizing the savings they can get with self-management programs and consequently the improvement in the efficiency of the system. By creating new strategies to integrate the patient self- management into their healthcare policies we are making a positive difference in the lives of patients.
Has the shift towards more private health insurance in Spain affected your business?
Private healthcare is indeed growing in Spain. As they say, if there is a crisis you’d better get into private healthcare. This segment is increasing and developing strategies in order to better maintain and expand their patient database. It is not affecting our business; on the contrary, we might add value to their patient management and wellness strategies for those who do not need any treatment.
Where can we find Atlantis Healthcare Spain in the next five years, as a leading company in the adherence sector?
The company has a very interesting plan of growth for the next three years, which includes growing into different sectors, scaling and diversifying. Atlantis Healthcare has an interesting history, culture and wealth of experience that supports empowering patients to improve their health. We make a positive difference to people’s lives, while assisting our commercial partners to meet and exceed their objectives.