Xavier Ordoñez
Partner in Strategy and Operations Consulting
Horacio Peña
Horacio Peña
Senior Manager in Strategy and Operations Consulting
View from the Top

The Case for Stronger Digital Support

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 09:01

Q: What challenges in digitalization is the healthcare system faced with?

A: By pushing digitalization you often lose a physical interaction, which in Mexico and other Latin American countries makes a huge difference. The visual contact and dialogue with a physician makes the commercial process more effective. There was a moment when companies tried to become more digital, using tools such as iPads as a mechanism for communicating with the physician, but in many cases the physician refused to see them. Mexico is a country where interaction is still important and that presents a challenge to companies that want to be more innovative. Many laboratories have reduced the number and size of their sales teams, which is a trend seen in Big Pharma over the past 10 years. National laboratories still have larger sales teams but there are fewer companies with these numbers.

Perhaps, the most important challenge we have in Latin cultures is making the digital become more human. Making use of it with the purpose of increasing the quality and content of our interactions instead of reducing or eliminating them.

Ten years ago, laboratories enjoyed double-digit growth rates. Many top labs had a large portfolio for general practitioners and general medicine and a smaller portfolio for highly specialized drugs. Over time it has become impossible to maintain the same growth rates in the primary care sector, where many national companies are competing and where generic products are gaining important market share. Many Big Pharma laboratories are not willing to go into generics with the same resources. Instead, they venture into highly specialized areas, where you need to educate physicians and provide consulting and advice. Training is now undertaken in many ways not possible before. There are webcasts and online events in which people interact across the world, physicians want to have access to more digital information rather than mountains of paperwork and commercial representatives are also asking for this. Laboratories are implementing digital ways of reaching them while keeping human interaction alive. For example, speaking tours that used to be only in-person experiences are now web events that become physical when the expert reaches the participant’s city.

Technology has developed greatly and has decreased direct sales to producers but they have strengthened innovative tools that allow for better follow-up with an increased chance of achieving a drug’s purpose.

Q: What are the main challenges regarding cybersecurity in healthcare?

A: Deloitte has a department specialized in cybersecurity although this branch has not yet developed much at an industrial level in Mexico. Cybersecurity allows the verification of information veracity and a better follow-up on patient health and on a drug’s effectiveness. Companies have not yet reached the point where they feel they need cybersecurity for health-related issues. They focus more on financial issues and economic risks, where there is tangible and confidential information management. Health companies in Mexico have not placed as much importance on cybersecurity concerning drugs or services as they have on information management and patient communication.

Q: How can you use data analytics to track and eliminate epidemic viruses in Mexico?

A: There are technological support tools available during epidemic periods but they are uncommon because the difficult epidemics are usually centered in low-income communities, which have less access to technology.

For segments of our population with access to electronic media, advanced analytics that are available today would allow a web search and would become a predictor of possible diseases depending on the nature of the questions and information searched. This constitutes a great opportunity in prevention, an area in which we have a long way to go