Carlos Hernández
Hispanic America Regional Director, Diagnostics Division
Siemens Healthineers
View from the Top

Digitalizing Mexican Diagnostics

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 15:33

Q: How has the health system digitalized and automated since last year? Is there more cooperation between entities in terms of sharing information?

A: The healthcare sector is aware of the importance of digitalization and automation. Customers look forward to having better results at lower costs and technology is the driver to accomplish that.

Even though there is a sense of awareness about this issue, not everyone can update or change operations the same way at the same time because of different dynamics, but as time goes by there are more and more institutions implementing this way of work. We want to be a partner to help them accomplish that. Trends like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer, in addition to an aging population, pose a huge care challenge to both the private and public health systems.

We work hard to develop solutions to meet customers’ expectations not only with our products but with related services and systems. One example is the APTIO total automation system and CentraLink middleware solution that help laboratories have only one system which process most of their needs with maximum efficiency and productivity, reducing risks, maximizing output and quality, providing real-time visibility of the process and information flow. There is still a long way to go but we are convinced there is no way back. In Siemens Healthineers we believe in the power of innovation and technology as the future of the business.

Q: Last year you told us that in vitro diagnostics such as tumor markers and vitamin D tests were underutilized in Mexico despite their usefulness. How has this evolved and what benefits could they bring to Mexican diagnostics?

A: We have seen some changes but modifying these trends requires long-term effort, which starts with training of healthcare professionals in universities and communication of the clinical benefits of these tests for patients and doctors to achieve earlier and more accurate diagnostics. Siemens Healthineers is starting to promote the joint use of our technologies and we are promoting total diagnostic solutions, like combining our ultrasound platform in the diagnosis of prostate cancer combined with our PSA laboratory test.

Q: What products have you launched since we spoke with you last year?

A: One of the most important projects we launched was with the Hospital Juárez, which has been a success story for us and where our APTIO and CentraLink solutions have been working to benefit thousands of patients daily. With this solution the laboratory now is connected and optimization of test processing has decreased by up to 40 percent. So we are talking about one unified solution that transforms lab operations, unifies and accommodates current and future needs.

Q: Awareness of the importance of early detection and diagnosis is a problem in Mexico. What can be done by the industry to promote this?

A: Early detection and prevention is the way to go and we see that our healthcare authorities are gradually moving toward this direction.

It is important to keep in mind that in vitro diagnostics account for around 2-3 percent of the total of healthcare costs internationally but affect 70 percent of all critical clinical decisions. By detecting predispositions, laboratory diagnostics can improve disease prevention and will become more important, reducing cost of care with higher possibilities of success. Of course patient education and changing behaviors and habits are fundamental to improving the general population´s health.

Q: How has Siemens Diagnostics division been affected by recent health budget cuts?

A: We see these cuts as an opportunity to position our solutions, which generate efficiency and productivity. Budget constraints and cost cutting are megatrends around the world and Siemens Healthineers solutions are designed to help our customers cope with increasing demand for services, reduced staffing and budgeting and more stringent Key Performance Indecators.