Javier Bacho
Director General
The CHRISTUS Excellence and Innovation Center
cei_img_2020_santiago-yeomas
Santiago Yeomans
Business Development and Innovation Manager
The CHRISTUS Excellence and Innovation Center
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View from the Top

CEIC Breaking Commercial Rules to Boost Entrepreneurial Projects

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 08/31/2020 - 09:23

Q: What were the reasons behind the creation of this innovation center in Mexico?

JB: We believe that quality healthcare must be provided democratically no matter what a person’s income is. Public healthcare expenditure is increasing and that will continue as the population ages. Innovation can ease this coming burden by instituting a transformation to more efficient processes, providing better and accessible healthcare.

Mexico is the biggest operation we have in Latin America and one of the largest markets in the region, Moreover, Mexico has exceptional talent for developing new research and innovative projects. There is a huge number of projects in the academic sector but these are not connected to the business sector. As a result, innovation never happens; it is on paper only. Our goal is to help these researchers become entrepreneurs, turning their ideas into real life-changing healthcare projects. We are that connection between innovation and reality.

Our business model can be compared to that of venture capital but operationally we are radically different because our approach is to support projects holistically. If an entrepreneur needs funding, we will find that support. Additionally, as this is a Christus Health initiative, we have all the healthcare infrastructure available to help with trials, talk with specialists, access state-of-the-art technology and laboratories, among many other benefits. These can also be provided at non-Christus  facilities because we have alliances with different groups. 

SY: CEIC is focused on technology and clinical research, measuring the impact they can have on people’s lives. Most of our projects target vulnerable people. Beyond being a capital provider, we offer the Christus platform to empower research projects and test theories on practical applications. CEIC closes the gap between trial and practice that not all innovation centers can target. We support the project from its early stages to when it is launched in the market.

Q: How do you approach these projects?

JB: We have developed two strategies, one for entrepreneurs and one for researchers. CEIC has a marketplace platform for them to post their projects and based on that, we can start channeling them according to their needs, whether these are capital, providers or alliances. Through project investments, we know that researchers receive around 18 to 22 percent of the resources, while the rest is diluted during the process. Therefore, transparency is a very important practice for CEIC. We ensure that transactions are as clear as possible. We will not retain any investment money because CEIC’s mission is to boost opportunities rather than make a profit. The value of this initiative is the network we have created to collaborate and realize a win-win scenario. This has allowed us to very quickly drive a large number of projects at the same time. Around 70 percent of the companies that we have approached to join the network have recognized this positive mindset and have become part of the initiative.

An example of collaboration to truly help and boost a project are the partnerships we are seeing around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Competitors in the healthcare sector are joining efforts to achieve their goal, which is to find a vaccine.

SY: Our department is launching new initiatives every eight months, which would be almost impossible for healthcare projects without support. The network will allow us to have up to 800 active research projects, while offering proper support.

CEIC has built a good reputation based on breaking commercial rules to drive projects but also because of the respect we have for the entrepreneur’s time, commitment and business model. Being able to provide objective feedback and honest views is valuable because entrepreneurs bet their time and resources on their projects. They are passionate, so we like to respond with the same energy. 

Q: What CEIC-supported projects have had a greater impact on Mexico’s healthcare?

JB: We worked on the development of an augmented reality project for surgeries, which can increase the number of procedures available in places where there are not enough medical specialists. Surgeries involving augmented reality can go a long way to solving healthcare sector deficiencies, which go beyond limitations in either the private or public sectors. This also reduces risks, since doctors can have received a second opinion and support during the surgery, which can also impact the time needed to complete the surgery.

SY: Glucosaic is another project that can benefit Mexico. This is an accompaniment tool that connects diabetic patients with their doctors and has the patient’s healthcare information available in a way they can understand. This tool is a new experience for patients. It created a new relationship with doctors in that patients can see them as allies. Additionally, Glucosaic offers information that empowers patients to know themselves, their reactions, their highs and lows. 

Q: How can your approach and model transform healthcare entrepreneurship?

JB: Companies, entrepreneurs and society receive the benefits of our support. Our legacy would be to have the most working projects in the market that benefit entrepreneurs and society and that can generate jobs and boost talent retention in the country in the long term.

SY: The entrepreneur environment is very active and we are happy to be one component that can push forward projects that will truly impact lives. The healthcare sector requires joint cooperation between many sectors and thanks to their input, CEIC is able to create a real impact.

 

 

The CHRISTUS Excellence and Innovation Center (CEIC) provides innovative solutions and consultancy services to help health organizations improve their quality of care and operate efficiently in clinical integration, operational efficiency, transformational growth and data integration

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst