Carmen Suarez Fernandez.
The tendency to ever more care processes tackled by multidisciplinary teams it is also moving to organizations representing health professionals. With this spirit, the Madrid Association of Vascular Risk and Disease was born in the Community of Madrid (Amareva)a new scientific society that brings together specialists and health professionals from different specialties involved in the care and prevention of vascular disease.
Until eight medical disciplines come together under the mandate of the internist Carmen Suarez Fernandezwho in an interview with Medical Writing anticipates that more specialties and more groups such as Nursing will be incorporated. The current head of the Internal Medicine Service at La Princesa University Hospital also outlines where the models of scientific societies should go and the importance of collaborative work to prevent and treat vascular diseases.
Why was Amareva born?
It was born due to the absence in the Community of Madrid of an association or society in the region on the prevention of vascular diseases. This local structure did not exist. Although there are initiatives from different scientific societies, there is none that brings together in a transversal way, which is what we intend, the different specialists who are in charge of preventing and treating vascular diseases. The multidisciplinary character is one of the strengths of Amareva, we are many companies involved. There’s Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Neurology, Primary Care, Endocrinology, Nephrology, Angiology, and we’ve just added vascular surgeons. It is an important and differentiating fact.
What importance do you give to the joint work between different specialties to address this pathology?
It’s basic. Two conditions have been set from the beginning of the creation of Amareva: detect the need and that it be a multidisciplinary team. The whole team is and we also want to have Nursing. In addition, we are open to other health professionals. Vascular disease is a multidisciplinary problem that can manifest as a disease of the heart, brain or lower extremities. Therefore, the patient may arrive due to a certain symptom, but all the vessels of his body are affected. We all have to coordinate and make a global approach.
“Today any medical problem of a patient requires a multidisciplinary and team approach”
Is your model an example to follow for other associations or societies?
Today in the attention to diseases there is management by processes and that implies multidisciplinary teams. Any medical problem of a patient requires a multidisciplinary and team approach. This is today a basic rule if we want to manage pathologies successfully, so without a doubt.
What do you think of the current system of scientific societies where there are even several within the same specialty?
These societies are focused on problems, which is the traditional model, also at the healthcare level. A change is taking place in organizations, we are not the only transversal association. For example, there is the Spanish Society of Hypertension-Spanish League for the Fight against Arterial Hypertension (SEH-LELHA) or the Spanish Society of Arteriosclerosis (SEA). These bring together different specialists interested in these pathologies, although not as extensively as the idea with which Amareva was born, that each one contribute their grain of sand under a global concept. We are talking about an arteriosclerotic disease that affects the entire body and, therefore, there is room for many specialists.
Does this model improve dialogue with the Administration?
Undoubtedly, because we show that the objective of different professionals, regardless of the specialty they have or the society they come from, is the same. This is another strength. Making ourselves known to the Health Department of the Community of Madrid is another of our objectives, which we have already done, because we would like to be the interlocutor for the treatment, prevention and health education of vascular diseases in the population of Madrid.
“We show that the objective, regardless of the specialty they have or the society they come from, is the same”
In the meeting with the Ministry of Health, did they transmit any progress in vascular risks?
They gladly accepted the creation of the association and the objectives it pursues. Yes, they asked us, and I think something is important, that we coordinate with other initiatives that exist in the Community of Madrid to create networking between all the hospitals.
How do you rate the prevention of vascular diseases in Spain?
Very improvable, but it is a worldwide problem. It is the great challenge we have in vascular disease. The best way we have to fight against it is by avoiding the appearance of risk factors, detecting these factors early and controlling them. That the person has contact with the system when he has had heart problems means that we are arriving late. It is a challenge for everyone, and Primary Care is fundamental there. Another of our objectives is for Primary to be well represented because it is the entrance to the system and population prevention has to be done by them. There is a very important area for improvement. We also want to educate the general population in health, not just patients.
Are specialists well trained in vascular diseases?
Vascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide and is a very powerful research area. The daily generation of important information is very large and difficult to cover. The challenge that we health professionals have is to always be up-to-date and trained in this information. One of our goals is to be able to select the most relevant information and facilitate knowledge through training for our professionals.
Regarding treatment, is it already in a more advanced phase?
Something similar happens, new treatments are emerging frequently. In diabetes it has been a revolution in the last ten years. We have gone from a shortage of medicines to an avalanche of medicines, and they not only serve to control diabetes, but also to avoid and prevent vascular disease. The same happens with the field of lipids. We’re getting a lot of new drugs that have shown a survival benefit. You have to have up-to-date information and be aware of new drugs available, which fortunately are many.
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