What does your role as Deputy Head of International Medical Networks, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), for AXA Partners entail?
I’m in charge of and responsible for setting the annual roadmap for our network management, from quality KPI setting and monitoring, to provider relationship management and negotiations. I also play a coordination and stakeholder role with the management team and the operations and medical teams to share regular reporting versus the objectives set. I collaborate with the local network managers in charge of the medical networks of each country or region to ensure constant improvements of our standards and regular sharing of best practices.
What does an ‘average’ work day look like for you?
There is no standard day, which is what I like about this job! I switch regularly from network or operations meetings, where we review cases and we collaborate together to always try to improve customer experiences, to network provider meetings, where I deal with current providers and monitor activities, or new providers who want to join our network.
Why did you choose a career in healthcare?
I have always been passionate about medicine, and for this reason I chose to be involved in the healthcare sector for more than 25 years. As Head of a group of hospitals and medical centres, I happened to have AXA Partners as a client, and I was offered the opportunity in 2015 to join the company. As I have experienced both sides of the business, being a supplier and now being an insurance and assistance company, I can have a greater and quicker impact!
How did AXA Europe, the Middle East and Africa have to adjust during the pandemic, and are there any permanent new adjustments that will be kept?
Times were difficult – the pandemic forced us to work under great pressure during the first few months and repatriate many of our clients to their countries. Then, with the tourism sector totally shut down, the assistance to travellers, including medical assistance, slowed down. Yet it was a tremendous opportunity for us to reflect on the new usage and new customer needs and how we could contribute better and faster to them. Today, the activity volume is back at the same level as those of 2018 and 2019. My views are that we now have habits that will remain: the use of masks in medical facilities, hydroalcoholic gel dispensers in hospital and consulting rooms, etc.
AXA Partners Spain launched a digital platform for the wellbeing and better mental health of its employees recently. Why is this so important to the business?
AXA has always been at the forefront of designing and implementing protection solutions that are the closest to consumer needs and habits. Until recently, mental health has been a taboo subject, difficult to talk about even to families, work colleagues or friends. In today’s post-Covid-19 society, obligations and stress can generate mental health problems including depression, and AXA Partners has, since 2015 anticipated these problems, being the first private company to create medical teleconsultation services, and now working to make mental health solutions to the wider population.
I have always been passionate about medicine, and for this reason I chose to be involved in the healthcare sector for more than 25 years
AXA has also put in place an incredible support for its employees: medical consultation in our own offices, yearly medical check-ups (including complete blood tests, electrocardiography, sight and hearing tests and an extensive medical visit); in Barcelona specifically, we also have a physiotherapy service on some days. All this support for mental support makes me proud to work for AXA Partners.
Can you tell us why you think insurers and travel assistance companies should visit your network's medical facilities to validate capacity and quality?
I think it is 100 per cent necessary for every insurance or assistance company. You cannot provide the correct level of quality standards if you don’t visit the hospitals and medical centres that you work with, as they play a key role with the end customers. Validating in situ the quality and capacity of this facility is what will allow us to ensure that our client receives the best medical assistance with the right standards. Suppliers are also happy to receive these visits as they can meet us in person and show us their latest equipment and improvements in their rooms or intensive care units.
Attracting and retaining staff in most businesses at the moment is challenging. What are AXA doing to try to mitigate this?
I’m not an HR specialist, but as an employee I can say that I work for a company where I can participate in decision making, where I benefit from work flexibility, and, as I mentioned before, a great healthcare policy. This is why I’m proud to be part of AXA Partners.
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
I had the chance to add an MBA in Healthcare Management – this allowed me to set up my own healthcare consultancy eight years ago and to grow in healthcare management in general. After three years I was given the opportunity to become part of the AXA family.