AN OCEAN OF ONE

Colombia 2018 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Rubén Darío Romero Mouthón, Operational Director of Coosalud, on thinking strategically, focusing as much on prevention as treatment, and delivering a comprehensive model of care.

 Rubén Darío Romero Mouthón
BIOGRAPHY
With a degree in dentistry from the Metropolitan University in Barranquilla and an MBA from the Universidad del Norte, Rubén Darío Romero Mouthón also specialized in stomatology and oral surgery at the University of Cartagena and has a postgraduate degree in health and social security management from the Universidad Simón Bolivar in Barranquilla. He also completed several advanced training courses in selection and strategic implementation at the University of Pittsburgh and attended a meeting of Latin American Leaders in Health at Harvard.

How would you evaluate your operations in the past year?

In 2017, we went deeper into our strategy regarding the general population. Our plan consists of following every user individually beyond their specific epidemic profile to understand each person and the relations they have with their social and health environments. We will then integrate each individual identified as pertaining to a risk group. To execute effective and comprehensive interventions, we must always remember what benefits society. All this is done within the legal framework of the intervention models established by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection.

What is your strategy to maintain high levels of satisfaction?

In the subsidized regime, our public health insurance (EPS) ranks first in reputation. Indeed, this is a marker of what we do for the community and a reflection of our productivity. It demonstrates that our health indicators are solid and that we are financially sustainable in the sector and community. Half of our mission is to make the general population more productive. If the sector considers the wellbeing of our population as we do, our society will prosper.

Colombia spends about USD20 billion on healthcare per year. How would you evaluate the current system and EPS network?

The system must and will be sustainable. The dilemma lies in deciding whether the money is sufficient. We have to analyze in depth past movements of capital and prospects for the future. There are clear success factors, such as the models used against health stress tests, but we must also ask ourselves how to make smart purchases of services and how to make the value chain of insurers more technically competent. Each time we disperse funding, we must also determine whether we are making a financial or a health-related decision. We also need to coordinate and get providers to think as insurers, and vice versa. If we can do this, we can succeed.

What CSR initiatives has Coosalud been participating in recent months?

For us, social responsibility has to do with being environmentally and financially sustainable, being responsible with our collaborators, and having the financial capacity to provide the best services.

Can you elaborate on your project of digitalization?

We want to provide most of our services within a patient's home, where they are much more likely to recover, and where they have a much better chance of preventing the illness in the first place. Thus we want to monitor patients from their homes and are seeking strategies to make this technology accessible to any user, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

What are your key priorities for 2018?

We aim to create a comprehensive model of care with an individualized follow-up focused on at-risk patients without ignoring the legal basis of equity. This means we will also intervene with healthy people by suggesting preventative methods. We will have an accessibility strategy to provide services that go beyond the presence of users in special attention sites, though that will have the capacity to move freely between the different areas where we offer those services. We will complete this strategy by digitalizing our information systems to help us make better decisions and deliver statistics, building a company with greater financial solvency.

What are your expectations for 2018?

We will grow. We are a subsidized company and work with the disadvantaged of Colombia; however, our ability to act has led us to think about entering a higher demographic of net contributors. This would improve our finances and let us invest more in the poor, which is after all our target audience.