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News Article

Can Startups Improve Our Health?

By Miriam Bello | Tue, 03/31/2020 - 11:42

Startups always bet on the new. Technology, innovation and creativity are some of the things that make a startup grow. Although ideas might not be easy to materialize sometimes, when time plays against you and the rest of the world, the essence of any healthcare company needs to shine through. The patient-centric model has been gaining strength as new companies come to light in the healthcare industry, which has pushed traditional players to look at their models and wonder if their essence and goal are still patients.

In Mexico, where hospital beds are insufficient, people are spending out of pocket to take care of their health. The population has a longer life expectancy and the diseases that attack the Mexicans have become ballasts that lead the person to a long but disabled life facing high healthcare costs. A study by Endeavor shows the budget destined to attend diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cervical-uterine cancer take up at least 70 percent of IMSS’ budget.

As a country, we are still waiting for the so called private-public cooperation to fulfill the population needs. In the meantime, startups are here to fill the gaps in the healthcare system with technological solutions that are increasingly more personalized and adaptable to the patient and their lifestyle.

There are several fields in which healthtech startups in Mexico can innovate and in the midst of a pandemic, this becomes even more necessary. Many startups saw an opportunity since the beginning of the outbreak in China. In Mexico, as the government calls for citizens to remain home for at least a month to avid a crisis on the healthcare sector, consultations via video call are outlined as an option to avoid the risk of contagion. Startups like OMI are ready to bet on these online services to help people.

Tomás Iglesias, CEO of OMI exposed how the company developed an app called OMI Patient – COVID-19 Test to guide patients who are possibly infected with COVID-19, according to WHO and IMSS guidelines. He stated that OMI was also developing an update to the app to track positive cases of those in isolation using geolocation on mobile devices. “This will allow the detection of contagion according to the movement of people. The app will send real-time alerts about outbreaks registered in various areas. It will also include a consultation module that will provide all the information WHO has posted about the virus,” Iglesias told Mexico Business News.

Alliances between companies are also key to achieve better services and options for patients. After seven days of deploying the app, OMI Patient- COVID-19 reached two million users in 178 countries. Of these two million users, 50 percent of them are outside of Mexico and through their alliance with Wellmedic Health Centers, a large number of patients all over the globe have received medical orientation via telephone or telemedicine. OMI is actively searching for enterprises and startups that offer services that’ll help during this crisis and we encourage anyone who wants to collaborate to contact us immediately.

In the future, companies focused on health and digital platforms will see a surge in demand as looking for health services through a screen will become a more natural option for patients.

Photo by:   Andina
Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst