Paula Ávila Vélez

Marketing Manager RCS Latin America. – Leader of the Patient Experience pillar.


  • How long have you been at RCS?

It's a long story. My history in the company began in 2005, as a trainee student. After that, I stayed working at RCS in the entire Central Information part and I was working here until 2008, I was away for two years working at another company, and then a vacancy opened to work in Renal Marketing at RCS, in 2010 So, in April 2010 I went back to Renal Marketing and from there 100% in the area. I have been in the new arrival for more than 11 years.


  • What is the most important part of your job?

I have always said, and when I was at the University, they always told us that we should find out what our mission in life is. When I started working here, I realized that my mission is to work with patients, so everything I can do to improve something, in their day-to-day, so that they are calmer, so that they have a better quality , in making them feel better, well, it will make it much more pleasant for me. The most important thing about my work is being able to work and contribute something for our patients.


  • What is your role in the strategy to offer a good patient experience?

My role within the strategy is to define where we want to go, by creating work plans and improvement plans with responses to the needs of our patients. We do some patient surveys in which we look at each moment, and each point of contact with them, how they really feel and what they expect or what we could do differently for them, then on those points we create work plans and plans of improvements with the clinics. So, all the development of that strategy, plans, instilling them in the clinics, because we manage them from our role.


  • What is the RCS patient experience and what does it seek to provide?

Since last year we started to make a change regarding how we want to see RCS. So, based on that, we set out our mission for 2025 and created 5 strategic pillars. Within the strategic pillars there is a very important one called patient experience in which I am leading. So what are we looking for with this pillar? have situations of well-being for our patients and make them feel much better with us. So, within this role we created, with my team, the entire strategy that revolves around the patient experience and a culture focused on People. When we talk about People we do not want to talk only about the patient but also about those around him, his family, our work team, because we all have to work for the same common good.


  • What are the most important aspects to be able to provide a good experience to our patients?

There are many things, the first thing we must have are empowered patients, what does it mean that they are empowered? That they know and are trained in their treatment, in their therapy, that they participate in their treatment, that is, when a patient arrives at the renal clinic, it is not the doctor, the nephrologist or the nurse who says what will be done, but the The patient has the power and can participate in choosing their treatment according to their lifestyle or according to their clinical condition, that is, this is not only the patient choosing or only the nephrologist, but both will reach a common agreement according to the patient's situation. Apart from that, we need committed teams that handle very good communication, today empathetic communication is very fashionable and it is not just putting oneself in the shoes of the other as everyone sees empathy, but it is really saying the words or communicating or speak in a way or deliver information in such a way that we all understand the same thing, we do not all learn in the same way, we do not all communicate in the same way and we have to learn to give the message according to how the other person receives it and how you understand it better so that we all work, it is the same. So these are all the parts that we want to work on and that we hope to strengthen in order to have a great patient experience in our renal clinics.


  • What does Saving and Sustaining Lives mean to you from your specific role in the company?

We in Marketing have many work fronts, so when you think specifically of Saving and sustaining Lives, we do it in many ways. For example, we guarantee that the products reach our clinics, we work with the Supply Chain, we work with the global teams to innovate in products and they can have access to the clinics so that it is the best for our patients, so that is where we are saving and Sustaining Lives with new products and new technologies. In addition, with all the patient service work, we work with them every day to make them feel good, to work with our nurses, with our nephrologists. Apart from that, with the whole issue of empowered patients, especially in Colombia with the Citizen Participation Policies in Health, then, that is also Saving and Sustaining Lives because they are patients who know what rights they have, but also what duties they have. So we have to empower them and have patient leaders work with the Veedurías, so that patients can defend their rights, but also begin to exercise their duties, then, we work on all of that and to fulfill our role and all we do is Save and Sustain Lives.


  • What do you think is the role of patients and what would you like to improve in the patient-collaborator relationship?

We always talk about what are empowered patients, patient leaders, who have a voice, who defend their rights and also fulfill their duties, but not everyone is the same, there are people who are not very interested in that, such as "I only come to do my treatment, I don't want to get involved in other things” and it is a valid thought, all points of view are valid, but when we talk about a culture centered on people and experiences, we do need to go a little further, and these It comes from a worldwide initiative and program that is Planetree. It is an organization that works on all aspects of culture centered on the person and that has 5 very important pillars:

The first is that the entire organization is working towards it, that is, from the head of the organization we are working on it.

The second is that the vision and goals of the organization are focused on a patient-centered culture.

The third is to measure how the patient feels, the whole subject of satisfaction, experience, surveys, and not only in quantitative terms but also in qualitative terms, doing a focus group.

The fourth is that, based on the previous ones, improvement plans are carried out.

And finally the fifth is the whole issue of communication and teamwork with patients. So when we think “how do we want a patient and how do we want the relationship between collaborator and patient?” it is that we are all aligned towards that and it is that the person is not only the patient, the person is the family, the person is the nephrologist, the person is the nurse, that is, it is that we are all focused on a common good and for improve the relationship between everyone, how do you manage this? With very good communication, with a very good education both to our teams (because we must be training them by updating them on issues of therapy, legislation and communication) and also to ours because we must train and educate them in all their treatment options so that they know and are participants, then we do need that both patients and collaborators turn to always work on the same goal, which is to have a Person-centered culture.