Jorge Camargo
Co-CEO and Co-founder

Adapting Technology to the Needs, Limitations of Every Client

By Jan Hogewoning | Fri, 06/28/2019 - 17:23

Developing solutions to increase productivity and efficiency in healthcare goes beyond just introducing new technology. Systems must adapt to clients of all sizes and sometimes even keep some of the old ways of doing things, says Jorge Camargo, Co-CEO and Co-founder of Ecaresoft. “To democratize technological solutions is to make them accessible to all clients,” he says.
According to Camargo, health clinics with under 20 beds, which comprise a large portion of health providers in the country, have not been able to adopt solutions to improve their businesses and will struggle to do so in the next few years. Reasons for this are the average costs of investing in advanced technological systems, as well as their complexity. “There is a lack of incentives for this transformation in Mexico,” he says.
The solution is to find more flexible technology models that can adapt to clients’ needs and conditions, which can also be rapidly implemented and require minimal training. Big hospitals have a larger budget and often feel a greater need to organize their operations more efficiently because of their complexity. Small clinics have less staff but are already dealing with technical limitations, says Camargo. “The kind of improvements that digital platforms can introduce, such as automating administration and improving communication between the patient and doctor, can greatly improve health services at these small institutions.”
Productivity in the health sector is hard to define, however. In other industries, such as agriculture and manufacturing, results can be easily measured in numbers. “In healthcare, it is not as simple as saying we are increasing the number of surgeries from 10 to 15,” says Camargo. The focus, then, must be on maintaining the level of care and the safety of operations. “Automating administrative processes allows the hospital to lower costly hours and invest in other areas, both in terms of attention to patients and distribution of financial resources.”
Most patients go to the doctor, then undergo several laboratory tests that are sent by email to the patient who has to send them by email to the doctor. “This is not a particularly efficient model,” says Camargo. With a digital platform, results could be registered in the patient’s file immediately by either the patient or the laboratory. “The same platform can be used to plan consultations, update a patient’s medical history and receive prescriptions from the doctor, all processes that normally take time from the patient and the hospital staff.” Administrative changes do not have to involve “super-intelligent algorithms,” says Camargo. Sometimes, paper is the easiest solution. “In the short term, paper may not be too bad for certain tasks. However, the problem is when certain activities accumulate.” Ecaresoft wants to eliminate those peaks without creating a barrier between the doctor and patient. “Doctors must not end up looking more at a screen than caring for the patient,” he says.
Camargo mentions WhatsApp as a simple example to maintain contact between patients and doctors. Digital communication channels even allow doctors to treat patients when they are available. “The patient can send a picture or a video and the doctor can then respond 20 minutes later with instructions. This can eliminate the need for clinical visits,” he says. There is also great potential for insurance companies to offer their plans digitally. “Currently, inefficiency in the provision of insurance policies is a key factor behind rising prices and thus a barrier for insurance penetration in Mexico,” says Camargo. Ultimately, technology is flexible and it can be adopted as a whole or in parts, depending on the needs of the company. Tools can be combined and adapted to each company’s budget and requirements, increasing access and reducing the financial burden. Regardless, “the benefits of technology outweigh the initial investment required to implement it,” says Camargo.

Jan Hogewoning Jan Hogewoning Journalist and Industry Analyst