Claudia Cárdenas Alanis
Escala Biomédica
View from the Top

Helping Hospitals Acheive Technical Excellence

Wed, 09/09/2015 - 15:27

Q: What type of projects helped to strengthen your reputation in this growing field?

A: We help hospitals to achieve excellence in their technical operations by identifying their needs and problems, and sharing our technical and operative expertise to solve them. The timescales involved in these projects can range from just one month to four years, depending on the scope involved and the customers’ requirements. We participated in a major expansion project for the National Institute of Oncology (INCAN) where we provided clinical engineering assessment, technical guidance, evaluation of equipment acquisitions, and assessed the risk of moving facilities and installing new infrastructure. Our largest current project is the construction of the Naval Medical Center for the Secretariat of the Navy.

Q: Are there sufficient biomedical engineering jobs in Mexico for talented graduates and what areas are they particularly interested in?

A: I have noticed that biomedical engineering students seem particularly interested in developing prosthetics and medical equipment. These areas are certainly growing in Mexico but not at an appropriate pace to accommodate for the number of students that graduate. Therefore, they often need to find jobs in different fields or move to other countries, meaning that much of Mexican talent is lost or constrained. However, CONACYT has developed numerous programs to support students, and universities are striving to raise funds for R&D projects in nanotechnology, tissue engineering, and genetic engineering, among others. As a means of supporting this ongoing process, Escala Biomédica has set up an internship program that gives students the opportunity to participate in specific projects. These include the creation of valuation models for highimpact technology and for primary, secondary, and tertiary care hospitals, new purchasing schemes, guidelines for telemedicine, and efficiency indicators.

Q: What would you highlight as the key needs of the current Mexican healthcare system?

A: One of the most important trends in the Mexican healthcare system today is the move towards universal coverage. In order to achieve this, the agency must implement a more streamlined infrastructure and employ an effective system within budget constraints to attain sufficient medical supplies, as well as making concerted efforts to eliminate the discrepancies between healthcare provisions in major cities and rural areas. The government supports digital health, which requires improved medical infrastructure and crucial data management, since portable electronic medical records are still lacking in Mexico and these developments require effective communication strategies.

Q: How have international certifications changed the face of Mexico’s health sector?

A: The biggest advantage of international certifications is the standardization of high-quality services and procedures, which will lead to incremental numbers of foreign patients coming to Mexico due to greater confidence in adequate levels of service and regulation. The Joint Commission International (JCI) is currently debating to the prospect of increasing the number of foreign patients that JCIaccredited hospitals can receive.

Q: How would you compare public and private hospitals with regards to their acquisition and use of digital health technologies?

A: Public and private hospitals experience common problems regarding data management and adequate infrastructure and few have sufficient funds allocated to acquiring the latest equipment, meaning that a better allocation of resources is needed on all sides. Electronic medical records in public and private hospitals use similar processes but lack of infrastructure and process management makes it difficult to comprehensively incorporate the system within the public sector.

Q: What is your opinion of the new COFEPRIS norm for technovigilance?

A: This new norm is significant for the development of safer medical devices but its content should be clearer. The system that will be adopted for reporting and managing events related to medical devices is crucial for the success of technovigilance, and this will be easier to implement since hospitals are already familiar with the general requirements due to their experience with pharmacovigilance.