Javier Potes
Director General
Consorcio Mexicano de Hospitales (CMH)
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View from the Top

Hospital Sector Evolves Into Complete Care Provider

By Miriam Bello | Fri, 09/24/2021 - 12:53

Q: What are the primary operational, educational, commercial and technological alliances that CMH is building for the development of health services?

A: The collaborations between the public and private sectors created as a response to the COVID-19 crisis were historic for the country. They allowed institutions to combine their capacity and care for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients during this challenging period. Given their success, both sides remain open to continuing their collaboration.

Public-private collaboration in Mexico has been limited to hospital infrastructure building and equipment. We can go beyond these services and offer comprehensive care with our combined capacity. While the new collaboration model requires refinement, it demonstrates how both sectors can quickly adapt and respond to the needs of the population, providing high quality, safe and continuous medical attention.

We are looking forward to continue supporting the public sector and, in the future, we may consider an infrastructure expansion to provide care to public-sector patients. Similar services based on cost-evaluation and transparency are already available in other countries.

Q: How is CMH promoting different approaches to prevention alongside its members?

A: CMH has approached insurance companies to promote preventive care using their services. Health insurance policies are always important but policyholders only see their usefulness when they have an emergency. We are changing that mindset. The conditions that cost patients the most are not acute diseases but chronic degenerative diseases, which are widespread in Mexico. We aim to create financing models that encourage prevention and help individuals avoid chronic or preventable diseases.

Q: What are CMH and its members doing to contribute data and information to feed Mexico’s epidemiological profile?

A: We use statistical data to improve our services. All the data we use is anonymized and collected with the patient’s authorization. To achieve better data collection and analysis in Mexico, hospital systems must be able to readily share information and become interoperable. This will allow for better planning and responses. We want to collect more data to better understand the needs and behavior of the population and develop ways to address them. Data is the foundation of a better health system.

Q: Depression is among the top mental ailments in Mexico. How are CMH members supporting mental health?

A: Hospitals are redefining their approach to mental health and numerous other areas. Traditionally, hospitals would define their capacity and specialties, which normally did not include mental diseases because these are still poorly diagnosed among the population. Many Mexicans have not had a proper mental disease diagnosis and treating mental diseases falls beyond our scope in terms of professionals, infrastructure or insurance coverage. Mental health remains, unfortunately, a forgotten area.

As hospitals redefine their approach, we have to recognize that we are part of a broader health system. The other pieces are physicians, laboratories, pharmacies and insurers, among others. In this system, mental health requires appropriate care and while hospitals might not have a large role in integrating mental healthcare into their facilities, they do play a role in integrating mental health into the entire ecosystem of health so that it gets the attention it needs.

Q: How is CMH strengthening primary care and what are the main obstacles in this regard?

A: CMH is strengthening primary care by making it more accessible to the general population. While many hospitals are not designed to provide primary care, we can initiate alliances to strengthen the facilities that already offer this service, such as pharmacies that have a pharmacy-adjacent medical office (PAMO).

Hospitals can also provide medical professionals with training  and integrate their clinical records. CMH is developing an alliance to train doctors and working with them to offer quality, affordable primary care.

The healthcare sector is growing and CMH is using this opportunity to evolve as a care provider. We want to drive collaboration, digitalization, mental healthcare and primary care because we have realized that there is an opportunity for us to benefit Mexico’s population. Hospitals are ready to evolve and to be more resilient facilities that focus on prevention rather than disease.

Q: How are CMH and its members advancing the sector’s digital transformation?

A: We have two priorities regarding digitalization. The first is a “digital hospital” model to modernize our facilities and integrate digital tools that can benefit our internal processes, from the admission of a patient to the complete generation and use of their electronic clinical record (ECR). The second is the systematization of the entire health system to interconnect different facilities, including pharmacies, laboratories, clinics and financing services. Having access to this complete information will allow all actors in the health chain to provide better care.

Q: How are CMH and its members addressing intrahospital infections?

A: We recently hosted a forum to share the actions hospitals are taking to reinforce safety. Numerous measures stand out, including protocols for disinfection, new management procedures to dispose of infectious waste and new care processes that ensure patient safety.

We are also working on a program called Causa, which focuses on providing safe care inside the hospital. As part of this program, we are measuring the number of infections related to intravenous catheters.

Q: What lessons have you learned from Liga Ibero Latinoamericana de Salud (LILAS) to improve public health in Mexico?

A: In this session, we observed that the region was lacking dynamic data exchange related to operations. Every member country was operating in the best possible way but we realized that by sharing our methods we could create something better. Mexico has benefited from LILAS thanks to the participation of advanced health systems like those in Colombia and Argentina, which have implemented successful private-public schemes. Colombia’s system, for example, demonstrates how collaboration can help lower costs by increasing the number of procedures. This exchange of data, experience and knowledge also benefits small hospitals and their management systems in Mexico.

 

Consorcio Mexicano de Hospitales (CMH) is a group of 45 small and medium-sized hospitals distributed across 23 states. Together, the hospitals have 1,200 beds, 6,000 doctors and care for 125,000 patients. 

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst