Health innovations

How inclusive business models are making health accessible for all

Building a “control tower” to support patient needs in Colombia

Building a “control tower” to support patient needs in Colombia

Interview with Mateo Gómez, Growth Director, Omnivida

Omnivida is a Colombian health-tech startup founded in Medellin, 2017, with the purpose of revolutionizing health care in Latin America through the implementation of its proprietary patient-centric wellbeing generation model. The company currently serves chronic disease patients in Colombia, and is expanding to the rest of the region aiming to impact +1 billion lives by 2050.

Omnivida was developed as a “patient-centered” health care company. How do you act as a “control tower” between different actors to provide an improved health care plan for patients?

From its beginnings, Omnivida was conceived as an enabler of wellbeing for patients, focusing on their individual needs and context. Based on that, we created our wellbeing generation model for the management of care continuity. This model has three interdependent pillars:

  • Advance analytics that enable us to provide personalized care at the patient level, but also predict and intervene among populations at risk in a timely manner, saving lives and resources in the health system.
  • Patient empowerment, which centers on developing patients’ self-care and self-management of their condition in their everyday lives. We achieve this through our digital tools catered for their needs, through our patient education program, and by providing empathetic and personalized emotional support for patients through our team of ‘angels’.
  • Patient journey articulation, where we changed the common practice of forcing the patient to accommodate the needs of the providers and insurers, for a model where all the agents involved in healthcare are articulated around the patient and their needs. We achieve this through process automation, by providing the involved agents with data for taking timely and informed decisions, and finally by understanding and properly allocating the resources and capacities of the providers.

What is your typical patient profile? Which populations and income segments mostly use the services provided?

We primarily serve chronic disease patients throughout Colombia. Over 11 diseases are managed through our wellbeing generation model, with special emphasis on cancer, diabetes, and high-risk pregnant women. The majority of our users are third-age patients. Our solutions also assist patients’ caregivers and families by accompanying them throughout their journey and managing the heavy administrative diligences they would have to perform otherwise.

Because of the structure of Colombia’s health system – where 98 per cent of the population has coverage under contributory, subsidized or special insurance regimes (police, military, etc.) – we serve a particularly heterogenous population regarding their socioeconomic, educational, and geographical profile. Hence, we serve patients in remote rural areas in the pacific region of the country – with a historically marginalized and vulnerable population – as well as high-income patients located in urban centers. Our model is successful for either scenario, as it is implemented based on the personal data and reality of each individual user.

Omnivida: woman looking at data on a computer
Omnivida uses data to improve patients' health. Imagy courtesy of Omnivida.

How do you make your care services affordable for low-income patients?

Our service is completely free for our patients, as our business model is structured around financing our services through the pharma industry, providers, and insurers; hence, each one of the mentioned agents pay a percentage of the monthly fee charged per patient. Furthermore, we provide those allies with tools to optimize their populations’ health management, besides generating important savings and improvements in their processes. Moreover, we are currently developing two additional business models: a value-based-agreement scheme where Omnivida will only charge a percentage of the generated value through our services, and a model in which we coordinate with NGOs, state and local governments, and other agents of our society so more vulnerable patients can access a broader array of services. 

How do you use data analytics and research to provide better outcomes for patients?

As mentioned before, data analytics is one of the pillars of our model. From a public health point of view, we create and train machine learning algorithms that enable us to predict possible negative health outcomes of patients within our program, taking into account a vast array of variables, from clinical data to social determinants of health. This allows us to prioritize specific groups of patients and take preventive or prompt actions. Secondly, our data analytics capabilities let us personalize the communication with and empowerment of our patients, by understanding their specific needs and context. Then, we can leverage our tools and resources – and those of our allies – to improve the health outcomes of our patients.

In order to achieve this, we conduct a rigorous analytics model definition, meta-analysis of the scientific literature, and data cleaning and capturing (as missing data is prevalent with the cohorts we work with).

Your care model is based around “Omnivida Angels” who help patients manage their healthcare plan. How and why did you develop this model?

We understood that one of the biggest missing points in a patient’s life was the presence of an agent who would help them navigate the burdensome administrative diligence they are required to do while carrying the psycho-emotional load of facing a chronic disease, and would understand their individual needs and realities. That is how we created the ‘Angels’, as those agents that guide patients throughout their journey, usually becoming a key part of their lives and the achievement of their health goals.
As for the name ‘Angels’, it was given by our first breast-cancer patients back in 2018, when we would visit them to further understand their needs and support them when our technological capabilities were not as developed as today. They would say “There are our Angels coming to help.” We loved the connotation ‘Angel’ has, as it signifies that caregiver, that protector that our model leverages.

What kind of training do the “Angels” receive from Omnivida, and how are they recruited to serve specific communities?

Our Angels are recruited through an arduous selection process that begins with sourcing candidates with healthcare experience. The process centers on conducting an extensive skill and cultural-fit screening, where we prioritize the testing of the candidates’ values, empathy, resourcefulness, and passion for helping others.
Our training process has two major elements. First, we align the Angels with our purpose (‘impacting 1 billion lives throughout the world’), our culture centered on wellbeing, and on the empathy required to understand and support the needs of our patients. Furthermore, we constantly provide them with emotional and psychological training in order to handle the emotional burden created from the interactions with the patients. The second element focuses on training them on the use of our suite of technological tools and those of our allies, teaching them the operational flow of a patient throughout the health network, and finally training them on the administrative due diligence for the diverse array of tasks they will manage for the patients with different agents.

Do patients need to have internet access  to benefit? Is this a challenge for patients in remote or underserved areas?

When we designed our model and solutions, we started by understanding the reality of the country regarding technological maturity and access. Based on that, patients can benefit from our model with or without internet, as we have developed important omnichannel capabilities. Patients interact with us through phone calls, cellphone calls, videocalls, WhatsApp, SMS or email. 

Nevertheless, we strongly support the digitalization of patients’ interaction with our model, for which we are constantly developing new digital tools. In a few months, we will also be launching our App for our patients and their caretakers.

Mateo Gomez

Mateo Gomez, BSBA from Boston University, currently serves as the Growth Director for Omnivida. He leads the creation of new patient-centered products, coordinates strategic partnerships and alliances, and supports the expansion strategy of the company. He is actively involved in entrepreneurship and tech, and has had previous involvement in Pharma, Private Investment, and Real Estate.


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