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News Article

Innovative, Itinerant Articulated Services for Heart Surgeries

By Antonio Gozain | Thu, 02/17/2022 - 18:31

Technology and healthcare continue evolving amid several challenges and crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced healthcare professionals and companies to become more creative and innovative to solve non-COVID-19 issues, such as cardiovascular surgeries.

As some hospitals focused exclusively on COVID-19 cases during the pandemic’s peaks, several non-urgent procedures were postponed. However, some medical specialties still needed urgent treatment. For these cases, Vitalmex innovated within its renowned articulated services to start offering its new itinerant articulated services, which work on an on-demand basis and help carry out procedures in different sites.

Vitalmex is a leading provider of surgical support services to some of Mexico’s largest public and private hospitals. The company’s activities range from surgical technician services and inventory management to medical technology and equipment management. “Our main goal is to support institutions and healthcare professionals in every aspect of their work, from supplies and equipment to technology and expert personnel, allowing them to focus on what they do best: taking care of patients,” said Ramón Mier, Commercial Director, Vitalmex.

Ten years ago, Vitalmex increased its footprint beyond Mexico after acquiring Germany’s Gimmi, a company focused on manufacturing surgical instruments, which it sells to over 60 countries. In addition, Vitalmex began implementing its articulated services in the US market, where the company already is present in 10 states.

Since 1993, Vitalmex has been characterized for its articulated services for the clinical-surgical, administrative-operational, technological and financial areas of the health sector, said Mier. These services are configurable, adaptable and flexible both for patients and healthcare professionals.

The itinerant articulated service is an alternative to the traditional services. Under this scheme, Vitalmex assists healthcare professionals and institutions on-demand to carry out heart and minimally invasive surgeries. “Usually 5 days before the surgery, hospitals or healthcare professionals call us to request the service. Our personnel have a meeting with the hospital and we get everything prepared as requested, from medical supplies to instruments and equipment to help them perform the surgery,” said Mier. Itinerant articulated services offer several benefits, such as collaborative work, state-of-the-art technology, high-quality supplies, workflow improvement, prestige and qualified, well-trained personnel, he added.

The Heart Team Approach

One of the medical specialties that still needed to be attended urgently during the pandemic are cardiovascular surgeries. Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect, with an incidence in close to 10 percent of newborns, according to CDC.

Congenital heart diseases affect 40,000 kids per year in Mexico and the country does not have enough infrastructure for these surgeries, said Carlos Alcántara, Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgeon, Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gómez. “Kids with heart diseases imply a high cost. However, the success rate of these surgeries is over 98 percent. The investment on the kid’s health is worth it.”

Managing care for patients with complex cardiovascular diseases changed over the last years due to advances in information technology and an increasing amount of evidence-based data, resulting in the creation of the Heart Team approach. This model aims “to offer a balanced and complementary approach to patient care through joint and shared decision-making between the different healthcare actors,” said Alcántara.

Under the Heart Team approach to children’s surgeries, the cardiovascular surgeon is no longer the only person taking decisions. Instead, the child’s parents and additional actors, such as the hospital or service provider, form a team with the healthcare professional to make joint decisions, said Alcántara. “The Heart Team concept constitutes the heart of modern cardiovascular attention,” he added.

Pediatric heart disease surgeries in Mexico are centralized in the country’s main cities, said Alcántara, a problem that worsened after the pandemic forced certain hospitals to stop operating or to focus exclusively on COVID-19 patients.

During these difficult times, Vitalmex’s itinerant articulated services made it possible to perform surgeries in different places, always taking the necessary highest-quality supplies, state-of-the-art technology, equipment and instruments to wherever they are required, said Alcántara. “There are patients who cannot come to our centers and the team has to travel. This includes the medical team but also the articulated services of Vitalmex that accompany us everywhere.”

Children with heart diseases require all the commitment and professionalism from all their Heart Team, including service providers, said Alcántara.

While the pandemic affected all industries, including the health sector, it also boosted innovation and creativity to solve problems among companies within the health supply chain. With Vitalmex’s itinerant articulated services, healthcare professionals can focus entirely on their job, which is saving lives, while they do not have to worry about having the right equipment to do so.

Antonio Gozain Antonio Gozain Journalist and Industry Analyst