Francisco Morales
Health Care Division Director
3M
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View from the Top

Global Reach Brings Local Growth

Wed, 09/09/2015 - 15:51

Q: As the new director of 3M Health Care in Mexico, what are your main goals?

A: I can see many opportunities to accelerate the growth of the healthcare sector in Mexico. 3M encourages its scientists to create connections across countries and divisions. However, while we have two centers (the Innovation Center in Mexico City and the R&D Center in San Luis Potosi) in Mexico, we currently do not have a team of researchers on healthcare. This does not stop our researchers from creating connections among different businesses in Mexico and countries such as Brazil or China to tackle healthcare problems. These connections are of utmost importance for 3M as they allow us to grow our business and create more innovative products. We have several R&D centers and 46 technology platforms around the world, as well as 11 technology platforms in Mexico.

Q: How significant is Mexico to 3M’s Health Care Division?

A: Health Care is integral for 3M. In 2014, global company sales were US$32 million, constituting a healthcare and organic local currency sales growth of more than 5.8%. We also invest 5.6% of our revenue in R&D, as we are fueling innovation through investment. On a positive note healthcare is a relatively stable area, and has not been as negatively impacted as other industries during times of economic instability. We cannot overlook or neglect this area as it has an important influence on people’s lives. In Mexico, we are focused on oral care yet we have several other divisions including the health information system, which produces software for hospitals and a platform for food safety. The importance of healthcare software is growing in Mexico but it has just scratched the surface. 3M is working with hospitals to create enhanced coding processes to allow them to collect meaningful data and group episodes.

Q: Who are your main clients?

A: The public and private sectors are equally important for us. We have seen that both share three core priorities. One is access, this means efficiently increasing their patient coverage. The second aspect is cost, since all hospitals have budget constraints. Finally, the third element is quality, as all the healthcare institutions are aiming to provide the highest possible quality with the resources available to them 

Q: What barriers does Mexico have to face to achieve a complete digitalization of its healthcare services?

A: Mexico’s healthcare system has embraced the transition from paper to electronic format over the last ten years, which provides portability and data availability, but there is still a long way to go. This data can be valuable if it follows systematic processes that would create accurate coding, grouping, and analysis through statistical tools. This analysis can generate information that could lead to improved outcomes and cost. The challenge continues to be the creation of a database culture, which directly benefits hospitals and payers.

Q: How important is innovation for 3M Health Care?

A: To promote innovation, 3M has implemented two different initiatives. Firstly, the company enables the exchange of ideas across countries and research areas and also allows its researchers to spend 15% of their time working on individual projects with all the company’s resources at their disposal. Secondly, 3M has well-established processes to transfer research to the market. For example, we have developed products in the nanotechnology area which can be used for microreplication or for dental applications. Another area with multiple purposes is adhesives, an area for which 3M is renowned. We have adhesives for industrial applications, such as gluing metal to plastic, and for healthcare, to bond dental implants to the dentin. Most of our research areas strongly collaborate with academic institutions, research centers, and professional associations. We have created a healthcare academy, which is a global initiative to provide education through lectures and webinars. In Mexico, our innovation center in Santa Fe aims to bring customers closer to our technologies and show them the solutions we provide.

Q: How would you compare Mexico’s healthcare level to the rest of the world?

A: Mexico is the second largest market in Latin America and provides a significant number of opportunities for 3M. I believe that Mexico is making considerable progress in healthcare, which will continue in the future across both the private and public sectors. E-commerce is growing rapidly and it is already strong in the US so many of the tools that we have developed for that segment could be brought to Mexico.