Eduardo García
Clúster Ciudad de la Salud and School of Health Sciences Dean of UDEM
View from the Top

Health City Sets the Gold Standard

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 11:33

Q: How many foreigners from abroad come to Monterrey in search of private health care?

A: The security crisis that occurred in 2010-2012 challenged Monterrey’s health industry and the number of foreigners dropped. Now the numbers are starting to grow again. Around 30,000 foreign patients receive treatment but we are not yet at the levels previously seen. The cost-benefit in being treated in Monterrey is attractive, especially with short driving distances or direct flights to major US cities. Many of the hospitals’ doctors comply with the JCI regulations. As a matter of fact, our accreditation process in Mexico is aligned with the accreditations process of JCI, which helps attract people from overseas. The number of foreign patients coming into the country will quickly grow in the near future.

Q: Why choose Monterrey over Tijuana in the north or Cancun in the south?

A: There are several reasons. First of all, you have a city here that is dedicated to ethical standards in hospitals, which was written in the Declaration of Monterrey 10 years ago. As part of the cluster, there is the Committee of Ethics, which reviews how well the different institutions are working. They are not judging, just trying to build a culture that provides safety and security for the patient. The technology in Monterrey is always up-to-date. Although we are in the health business we also are aware of safety and security, which are not the same thing. Safety is the well-being of the patient. Security is the well-being of the person in the city and in the institution.

Q: How are you targeting markets other than North America, specifically through the committee of promotion in the cluster? How does that committee promote Monterrey’s health services?

A: First we try to understand the needs of the market, especially in the US, which is closest to us. But some other Latin American citizens choose to receive services here because of the equipment we have. The health sector has entered into the process of globalization and this has helped place Monterrey on the map. For example, Christus Health is the holding of Christus Muguerza and they have hospitals in Chile and are entering the Colombian market. This helps patients move back and forth. They also have hospitals in the US that show how hospitals in Monterrey look. Monterrey's ITESM also has a good reputation and is well known in the US and Latin America.

Right now the Committee for Promotion is working on designing a strategy to relaunch the Monterrey brand as a health service city internationally and also to strengthen Monterrey’s position in the internal market.

We have to understand that both segments are important and we cannot overlook the fact the public sector is an important player in this role. Someone that comes to social security here will talk about the quality of Monterrey’s hospitals. They will help broaden the scope of opportunities that people may have. If you consider that in Mexico half of the service payments are out-of-pocket, people will actively search for alternatives.

Q: Is this rebranding of Monterrey as a health city also being done through the state government?

A: It is supported by the state government and they are part of the cluster. The concept of the cluster is government, academia and industry. So they are involved through the Ministries of Economy and Labour, Health and Tourism. They are trying to support our efforts. Also, we have the involvement of the government through the hospitals and public sector. Hospital Ángeles for example is a relatively new hospital in the city and it is expanding its infrastructure effectively.

Q: Where will we see the city in the future? What new projects does the cluster have at hand?

A: By the end of 2016, we will be in a similar position but with higher numbers of people from Mexico and overseas tended to at our health institutions. You will see a city with more demanding health-related organizations and academia concerning ethics, transparency, honesty and integrity. We are working a lot on credibility. Last but not least, I hope that we will see a government that is understanding, supporting and working along with the sector.