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PLM transforms medical print media into interactive mobile apps with IBM Cloud

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Headquartered in Mexico and operating throughout Latin America, PLM built its reputation by publishing popular and useful pharmaceutical reference books used by healthcare professionals as well as the general public. However, with the trend towards mobile technology, the company faced obsolescence.

“Our mission is to restore health through knowledge: we bring doctors good content for making the best decisions possible,” states Antonio Carrasco Ruiz, chief executive officer at PLM.

When PLM’s competition began to reduce prices, Carrasco was faced with the question, “Do we compete on price, or add value through technology?”

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According to a Chinese proverb, a wise man adapts himself to circumstances as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it. Therefore – and because quality content is primary for PLM – rather than reduce prices, Carrasco planned to add value to PLM’s reference information by digitizing it and making it available on mobile devices.

That goal was no small undertaking, so the company turned to IBM.

“At first, I thought that IBM would not understand the problem for a small company like PLM, but I was very surprised by the attitude and the willingness to help us solve our business challenges.”

IBM worked with PLM to develop 28 applications for physicians and healthcare workers throughout Latin America. PLM deployed IBM MobileFirst Platform software to speed the development and delivery of the mobile applications and was able to grow more easily by using cloud services from SoftLayer. Today, a wealth of knowledge about 35,000 pharmaceuticals lies at physicians’ fingertips with the help of IBM Watson Content Analytics.

“Doctors have immediate access to information that helps them make critical decisions for drug prescriptions. Imagine you have an elderly person who is taking multiple prescription drugs daily. With that information we can know automatically if there is interaction or not among prescriptions,” Mr. Carrasco continued.

Just six months from launch, PLM mobile apps were being used by 180,000 doctors, giving the company a 50 percent share of apps in use by doctors in its Latin American markets.

PLM has not only remained relevant, it  achieved new prosperity and renown. The company reports that 75 percent of physicians in Mexico now use a PLM application to research the pharmaceuticals they prescribe. The PLM brand remains strong among the public and the company’s website is now one of the most popular healthcare sites in Mexico, with 32 million unique visitors each year. Equally important, PLM uses the solution to collect public health information — such as childhood obesity statistics — serving it up to researchers, and thus helping to improve the quality of healthcare throughout Latin America:

Mr. Carrasco concludes, “I believe IBM is an excellent partner for small companies like PLM. If we hadn’t jumped on the train of technology quickly, we would have been left behind.

You can read more about PLM’s industry-changing solution here and watch the video here.


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