Fernando Santiago
Director General
MAG Medical Group
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High-Tech Hospital to Become a Mexico City Reference

By Miriam Bello | Tue, 09/14/2021 - 12:34

Q: How did MAG Medical Group address the challenges introduced by the COVID-19 pandemic?

A: MAG Medical decided to focus on non-COVID-19 patients to ensure treatment continuity and attention for our regular patients and newcomers with non-COVID-19-related ailments. At the beginning of the pandemic, MAG Medical had not yet completed its new hospital wing, which would have provided us with larger capacity to receive patients. Therefore, we responsibly chose not to treat COVID-19 cases.

We have implemented all the necessary safety measures to avoid contagion and to detect any COVID outbreak at the hospital. For example, we conduct rapid testing of patients entering the facilities. This has given patients the confidence to continue with their regular treatments or to receive any required medical attention at the hospital. But most importantly, this has also helped doctors to trust MAG Medical’s facilities. During the pandemic, it has been very common for doctors to hold back their procedures or delay appointments if they regularly used hospitals that are treating COVID-19 patients. We became a very attractive option for many doctors looking for a facility where they could schedule meetings.  MAG Medical was also able to maintain its rate of surgeries, which stands at 300 per month. Patient flows were also positively impacted. Normally, most patients came to us through our alliances with insurers. During the pandemic, we grew our number of out-of-pocket patients seeking our services.

Thanks to our new wing, which includes an ER, we are hoping to see greater growth in the long term than we anticipated when we began working on our expansion.

Q: How did construction of the new wing unfold during the pandemic?

A: It was financially and structurally challenging. We had stakeholders on the one hand and an uncertain banking scenario on the other. We also had to follow the Ministry of Health’s orders to stop construction because it was not an essential activity. The wing was expected to be ready by November last year. Now, we expect to open in July.

Q: How will the wing impact MAG Medical’s services and the medical specialties it addresses?

A: We will implement new specialty areas. We will have an ER with six cubicles, a resuscitation area, more patient rooms and a much better equipped offering for diagnostic support in the imaging area. This technology is hard to find in Mexico City, which positions us as an advanced hospital in the region and increases our growth expectations. We are offering state-of-the-art equipment that will help doctors deliver a better service.

One of our more significant improvements with this wing is our operating capacity. In the past, we would carry out simple procedures but we could not perform complex surgeries that required intensive therapy and a high degree of observation.

Q: Hospital interconnectivity is becoming increasingly popular. How is MAG Medical riding this trend?

A: As a company transitioning to a high-tech offering in terms of equipment, we are aware of the importance of interconnected systems for internal performance. Moreover, we have understood the need to integrate other digital solutions, such as telemedicine consultations, which are particularly suitable for monitoring a patient or providing simple guidance. Even prior to the pandemic, we had digitalized our internal communication networks, which allowed business continuity amid the pandemic’s restrictions. Now, with our expansion, MAG Medical will have smart operating rooms that will allow live transmissions for medical feedback from outside the hospital, which enhances and enriches the medical conversation around the surgery. In the future, this will even allow remote surgeries in real time. This puts us one step close to achieving hospital interconnectivity. While this is an essential step, I am a firm believer that presential medical attention cannot be replaced and that empathy in the medical field is essential to ensure patients have a good experience.

Q: Medical tourism was highly impacted because of the pandemic. How is this sector primed to bounce back?

A: As president of Mexico City’s Medical Tourism Cluster, I can say that the pandemic has put all our efforts on standby. We are just starting to see the reactivation of regular tourism. The recovery for medical tourism will take a long time. Mexico’s poor management of the pandemic has damaged our global image, which affects foreigners’ trust in the country’s healthcare system. I think that during the second part of the country’s economic reactivation plan, medical tourism will garner more attention. For now, it is not a priority.

At MAG Medical, we fully trust the potential of Mexico City as a medical tourism hub. We recently opened an office in Florida and we hope this serves as a link for patient recruitment from North America. We expect to focus more on our medical tourism strategy in the second half of 2021.

 

MAG Medical Group is a hospital in Mexico City offering cardiology, plastic surgery, endocrinology and gynecology services, among others. The hospital also offers laboratory services, including X-rays, clinical analysis and ultrasound.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst