Agustin Zabulanes
Country Director
Boston Scientific de Mexico
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Better Training, Stronger Connections Through Medtech

By Alfonso Núñez | Thu, 03/03/2022 - 11:33

Q: How did the pandemic impact medical players like Boston Scientific?

A: The pandemic led to the cancelations and delays of numerous procedures not related to COVID-19 because hospitals were at full capacity addressing the pandemic, but also due to patients and doctors’ fears. For example, cardiovascular events that were considered highly urgent before the pandemic were postponed in many cases leading to an increase in deaths and complications. Solutions for cardiovascular procedures are a big part of Boston Scientific’s business and these procedures were reduced by around 30 percent during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 and partially recovered by the end of that year. In 2021, we saw a fast recovery in some specialties and a slower one in others.  Other big issue for medtech but also for any industry was related with manufacturing delays driving significant backorders in some products.

Q: How have innovations impacted the industry and the next generation of Mexican doctors?

A: During the past couple of years, we have been able to accelerate training and education fourfold thanks to our digital innovation capabilities, which also helped us connect with customers. We are now seeing the results of the investments made in the last few years, such as in remote solutions for training and assisting different medical procedures that are difficult to fully perform in person. Using medtech, we understand the patient’s journey better and we are working on solutions to connect with them in earlier stages, especially those patients with comorbidities.

Healthcare has fallen behind in the adoption of technologies and data analytics. Companies are beginning to prioritize customers, understanding the patient’s journey and the digital transformation. These will be the main concerns for the next five to 10 years in the industry. Most companies are also focusing on digital innovation and creating better customer experiences. AI also brings value, improves processes and makes them more accessible. Well-trained AIs will be real game changers in diagnostics and treatment.

Q: How are these technological advancements incorporated into Boston Scientific’s EduCare program?

A: EduCare, is a differentiated platform that offers content for all our medical specialties. We have always been active in medical education but not very good at learning what physicians and customers need. EduCare will be the marketplace for all the content that we produce.

With Educare, personalized content and learning experience will be easier for our customers, which is one of our key objectives and differentiators for HCPs.

Q: How are Boston Scientific’s remote assistance solutions, such as Clinical Eye, impacting the medical field and how will these solutions impact Mexico’s healthcare development?

A: These technologies have allowed hospitals and doctors to avoid postponing procedures requiring external support and proctoring during this pandemic when travel and safety reasons affected the traditional in person support.  In areas with good internet access, remote solutions like Clinical Eye can assist in medical procedures and expand educational capabilities including real immersion in virtual mode to create a more powerful learning experience.  Late last year, we had a hybrid event in which 30 physicians received real-time training using virtual reality through Clinical Eye and the learning experience was incredible. A poor internet connection has limited our ability to livestream virtual reality in some cases but no doubt that 5G availability will change everything in the near future.

Q: How can Mexico best contribute to the development of innovative technologies for healthcare?

A: One of the key issues we have been experiencing when innovating in medtech is the regulatory approval process issued by COFEPRIS, which are very complex. Despite Mexico being one of the Top 10 producers and exporters world wide of medical technologies, there are many issues throughout this approval process; there is no visibility and create uncertainty that and the end of the date affects investments decisions. Many companies are assembling medical devices here but there is still a big room of improvement in regulations to unlock R&D and clinical investments to expand innovation.

Q: In Mexico, how does Boston Scientific increase healthcare accessibility for patients across urban and rural areas?

A: The first barrier to access is education and this is a fundamental part of our value proposition, create training capabilities to enable correct indication and safe and effective use of our medical solutions. We have training centers in Mexico City and Merida and will soon open one in the north partnering in all the cases with educational institutions.

Another big barrier is the lack of reimbursement that in many cases limit the possibility of treatment. In order to overcome these barriers, we launched a platform (Leap+) where the patient have access to convenient financial options to cover the cost of the products, but also hospital expenses and physicians’ fees; creating value for all the stakeholders.  

Another barrier is patients’ awareness which can drive delays in adequate diagnostic and treatment. In order to contribute with this, we have invested in an educational site caled Pacientes Como Yo (Patients Like Me)focused on therapy awareness and customized education for the general population.  

We are also exploring ways to improve the omnichannel experience throughout the country and will launch soon an e-commerce platform to facilitate access to BSC products and solutions from everywhere.

 

Boston Scientific (BSCI) manufactures medical devices for numerous medical specialties and surgical procedures, which are available to healthcare professionals in over 100 countries.

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Alfonso Núñez Alfonso Núñez Journalist & Industry Analyst