28 September 2023
Dr Anton Obrador, the driving force and coordinator of the INNOBICS-SAHS project has handed over the leadership of the project at the age of 70 to Dr Eric Rojas, currently head of the Sleep Unit at Josep Trueta University Hospital in Girona and Santa Caterina Hospital in Salt.
On the occasion of his departure, we interviewed him about his experience at the forefront of the project.
How did the initial idea for INNOBICS-SAHS come about?
The initial idea came from three preliminary sets of circumstances. The first was the interest I shared a few years ago with Dr Susana Mota, Dr Mayte Casamitja and Dr Imma Castilla in finding the best possible solution for diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea in primary care. The second was the CODIGO SAOS project implemented in four primary care centres in Girona (Sarrià, Salt, Santa Clara and Sils), led by Dr Eric Rojas. And the third was the support and interest of the head of the Pneumology Department at Josep Trueta University Hospital in Girona, Dr Ramon Orriols, in making it an international research project.
What makes this project unique?
The creation of a healthcare pathway to ensure that the diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea is coordinated between primary care and hospital care, as a single unit and with the support of a sleep nurse in primary care, a virtual sleep unit, and a specific platform.
What has it been like leading the project during this last year and a half?
The experience has been overwhelmingly positive, thanks to the excellent support and professionalism of all the healthcare staff involved, helping us overcome all the problems and challenges we’ve encountered, which, as you can imagine, have been considerable.
How do you see INNOBICS-SAHS evolving now that it’s at the halfway point?
Now that it’s been rolled out across all primary care centres, they are able to successfully diagnose and treat 70% of patients, with only 30% being referred to the hospital sleep unit. But this doesn’t mean that the workload has decreased, just that, as we intended, it has become more complex.
What feedback are you getting from the professionals using the new care pathway?
Initially, uptake was somewhat challenging, probably because it’s a new process, but after a while, the response from primary care professionals exceeded our expectations; they see it as a project run by their health centre, and it helps them find more simple, straightforward solutions.
And the patients treated?
The patients see it as more accessible care because it can be provided at their local healthcare centre, which is easier and more convenient for them. They also get seen more quickly and in a more familiar environment.
The INNOBICS-SAHS team would like to publicly thank Dr Anton Obrador for his dedicated leadership and for providing the necessary impetus to bring about this project, which is already benefiting hundreds of people in Girona and Lisbon.Read More Read Less