Improving patients' quality of life
Published on April 12, 2022
Because every patient experiences their illness differently, Air Liquide favors personalized care pathways. This is a virtuous approach that aims to improve both the patient’s health and quality of life at the best cost for the healthcare system. Working daily with all healthcare professionals, the Group contributes to the transformation of healthcare at home, in hospitals and in other care settings by offering innovative solutions that create value for all healthcare stakeholders.
1.8 M patients at home around the world in 2021
38% of whom are following a personalized care pathway
You launched the transformation of Air Liquide’s Home Healthcare business by implementing a Value-Based Healthcare approach. Could you please explain what this means?
This approach focuses on patients beyond their illness. We put them, as people, at the heart of the healthcare system, taking into account everything that makes them unique. By this I mean their relationship with their illness, their history, their lifestyle and even their family situation. We are moving from a service-based approach to an approach that focuses on the key benefits for patients to improve their quality of life in a more cost-effective way. It is a unique opportunity to organize the entire healthcare ecosystem around a common goal. Leading stakeholders are already implementing it in several countries (hospitals, clinics, healthcare systems), and the results are promising. International organizations1 are taking part in this transformation and helping shape healthcare policies that promote the emergence of value-based initiatives.
In what way is this approach strategic for Air Liquide?
Around the world, healthcare systems are facing a two-fold challenge: ensuring their continuity and upholding quality of care. Value-Based Healthcare is now essential for Air Liquide, which is taking long-term action to meet this challenge. Today, Air Liquide takes care of 1.8 million patients with chronic diseases. Our combined human and digital approach allows us to offer them more personalized care pathways. Our proximity to our patients and our role as a major player in home healthcare alongside healthcare professionals allow us to contribute to the transformation of healthcare.
What challenges do you face in the coming months?
Although several European countries have begun this patient-centered transformation process, the challenge now is ensuring this initiative is adopted in all regions. We must fundamentally rethink care pathways, with the goal of making them more personalized in order to improve patients’ health and quality of life. We need to prove the value we are generating with this approach, and this requires systematic measurement of the benefits to the patient. This is a complex but exciting task. It requires a coordinated approach from all healthcare professionals in order for the entire ecosystem to reap the benefits. This includes physicians, who can rely on our teams to ensure compliance with treatment, those responsible for covering the costs, who see the optimization of overall care costs, and hospitals, which can focus on critical procedures.
Air Liquide has a major presence in hospitals with medical gases and related services. Accordingly, how can Value-Based Healthcare be adapted to healthcare institutions?
Value-Based Healthcare is a unique approach that encourages all stakeholders to jointly re-examine the benefits for patients and to be involved in the transformation of healthcare systems. We work in partnership with each stakeholder in the healthcare pathway (hospitals, urban medicine and emergency services) to help medical professionals concentrate on tasks with greater added value for patients, while securing the availability of the medical gases they need on a daily basis.
What does that mean specifically?
Today we are only in the early stages of using the Value-Based Healthcare approach to benefit hospitals. But we already have solutions in place that ease the work of caregivers and optimize costs for hospitals. Besides supplying medical gases, we offer services that account for all hospital needs. One example of this is Total Gas Management, which enables everything in the gas logistics process to be managed on the hospital site. Another example is our new line of cylinders for medical oxygen that facilitates the administration of medical oxygen, patient mobility and inventory management for hospital caregivers, who have been in extremely high demand during the pandemic.
Hospitals face a great many challenges. How are you responding to them?
All hospitals do indeed face sizable challenges: accommodating patients in greater and greater numbers, lowering costs without affecting quality of care and participating in regional care networks, all while remaining a hospital of choice. We are adapting to these challenges by redesigning our operational models. As an example, we want to offer a comprehensive care package per patient treated, rather than per products and services supply. Such a model lets us offer optimal quality of care to the benefit of the patient, the healthcare professionals and the healthcare system as a whole.
Covid-19: Producing and distributing more medical oxygenTeams mobilized to meet the needs of hospitals.
All over the world, Air Liquide has stepped up in the face of the pandemic by supplying the medical oxygen needed to combat Covid-19. Our employees raced against the clock to offer help to caregivers by increasing production and adjusting the supply chain. In the hardest-hit areas, hospital demand for oxygen increased sixfold and even tenfold.
Supporting vaccine researchContributing to global efforts to fight Covid-19 by opening access to a new adjuvant that increases the efficacy of vaccines.
Furthering vaccine research is one of our ambitions. Seppic, an Air Liquide subsidiary that manufactures specialty ingredients, stepped up in the face of the pandemic by making its Sepivac SWE™ adjuvant—which was developed in partnership with the Vaccine Formulation Institute2—available to the global scientific community. Available without a license, this adjuvant helps accelerate the development of vaccines to combat influenza and Covid-19.
Acquisition of Betamed, a Polish leader in home healthcareBuilding on the at-home support services we offer to patients in Europe with complicated illnesses.
The 2021 acquisition of Betamed, a Poland-based leader in home healthcare, was a turning point for Air Liquide, adding to its European presence in complex treatments. With expertise in long-term home care and mechanical ventilation, Betamed enables the Group to broaden its range of services and products across the entire care pathway for people with severe illnesses, either at home or in a specialized clinic.
Launch of the Making Diabetes Easier websiteEnabling patients and their families to live with diabetes more comfortably, using a single information platform.
Living with diabetes requires an understanding of the condition and how to manage it on a daily basis. Harnessing 20 years of experience in treating diabetes, Air Liquide launched the website Making Diabetes Easier, which provides practical learning resources for diabetic patients (particularly those living with Type 1) to improve their daily lives. Available in Europe in six languages, this website deals with subjects as varied as diabetes management, nutrition, sports, school, sleep management and more.
Re-inventing the care pathway is a crucial factor in improving how the needs of patients are met. Playing a role along with caregivers in the transformation of the healthcare sector, Air Liquide has devised innovative, patient-centric solutions. These approaches foster personalized treatment, to both improve the follow-up care patients receive and their overall quality of life.
In partnership with healthcare professionals, Air Liquide has committed to rethinking home healthcare services by adapting them to patients’ real needs and lifestyles. Since living with an illness is a different experience for each patient, the Group has set up a digital platform that connects the different stakeholders at each stage of the care pathway, enables follow-up care to be adapted and maximizes patient satisfaction thanks to innovative data-driven solutions.
How can we leverage the potential of data to create more value in healthcare? This can be demonstrated by two approaches developed by Air Liquide, which is investing in the field of artificial intelligence as a way to better support hospitals and patients. The Group perfected a system that can predict oxygen consumption patterns in hospitals by combining public Covid-19 data with internal data, allowing for the adjustment of gas production and supply to hospitals. Using data acquired from tracking apnea patients with connected devices, another algorithm identifies the risk of patient non-compliance and therefore how their support can be better preventively adapted.
The pandemic has highlighted the crucial role of medical oxygen for treating patients in respiratory distress. Air Liquide teams, with the help of physicians, are seeking to develop a new non-invasive, ventilation device that is easy to use and can be bulk manufactured. This device would enable to deliver very high rates of oxygen while optimizing consumption and can treat more patients than current devices. In a period of crisis, this is an effective solution when the time of medical professionals and oxygen are in high demand.
2. A not-for-profit body affiliated with the World Health Organization.