Alexandro Arias
Partner and Life Sciences and Healthcare Leader
Deloitte
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An Integrated Health System Begins with Tech

By Miriam Bello | Tue, 05/03/2022 - 12:16

Q: How are health providers implementing integrated care models?

A: There have been several successful initiatives in the public sector. The first is the INCMNSZ’s Diabetes Clinic, a cost-effective solution that provides patients with integral care based on nine attention stations that undergo independent revisions. The model strongly focuses on education. Through four yearly educational sessions, the institute aims to shift patients’ behavior and allow individuals to build healthier habits. Education is fundamental because 80 percent of the expenditure on chronic diseases is caused by complications, which can be prevented if the disease is detected and managed on time. Each visit to this clinic costs MX$500 (US$25.1) and includes several tests and studies.

The INCMNSZ also has a clinic for cardiovascular disease, which has a high incidence in Mexico. The execution of both these clinics was excellent but must be scaled up to address the magnitude of those chronic diseases in the country.

The private sector, including insurers, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, has also enjoyed several successes. Pharmaceutical companies have recognized that selling medicine is not enough to drive a true health change among patients. As a result, they are partnering with other companies to create ecosystems that offer integral solutions based on treatment continuity and personalized approaches.

Hospitals are taking a different approach. For example, one group in Mexico is developing integral cancer clinics throughout the country and offering Electronic Clinical Records (ECR) that allow patients to receive care from any clinic in the network. Finally, insurers are evaluating the opportunities presented by preventive diagnosis to help people live healthier lifestyles. While these are isolated actions, the trend is growing among health providers.

Q: In its Health Care Sector Outlook 2022, Deloitte identified six global issues essential to designing resilient health systems. How is Mexico doing in regard to these global trends?

A: Health equity is one of the most urgent areas for Mexico to address. It requires the right infrastructure for people to treat their illnesses and can be boosted through alternative solutions, such as digitalization. Both the public and the private sectors have initiatives to achieve health equity. For example, IMSS-Bienestar aims to provide universal healthcare through its infrastructure in each state.

To achieve health equity is to reimagine public health policy but these changes are already happening. For example, the public and private health sectors worked together in an unprecedented manner during the pandemic, enhancing their capacity to provide care by using the infrastructure available at private hospitals.

Two other initiatives supporting health equity are in the Chamber of Deputies. The first concerns electronic prescriptions to complement telemedicine. Electronic prescriptions could allow care providers to reach the patient, instead of the patient being the one seeking the service. The second initiative aims to solve the medicine shortage. This is a database in which providers would integrate their processes into a single platform that would automatically forecast demand and costs months in advance. This platform also aims to standardize payments for drug manufacturers and simplify the documentation process. The interconnected system would, ideally, simplify demand generation, budgets, use and delivery of resources and final payments.

The initiatives are inviting healthcare players to join a united ecosystem based on digitalization. Actors in Mexico are already learning how they can ally and add to a united health system.

Q: What is the logical pathway for providers to move forward in an integrated health system?

A: The first step could be the implementation of an ECR, which would empower patients and lead providers to use common processes. Interoperability also offers benefits, such as complete visibility of a patient’s journey, health status and history, saving time and resources for the health system.

This is an enormous challenge because it involves the development of a platform that holds a large amount of data, is friendly to both user and doctor and foments engagement between the two. It also requires constant updates that would ideally come from healthcare providers.

Q: From the viewpoint of regulation, how is Mexico responding to new interoperability processes?

A: Mexico is aware of the importance and challenges of regulating these processes, making it essential to identify the correct pathway to integration. Uruguay, for example, successfully implemented interoperability in its health system but it took time. The country began with hospitals and then moved to other care providers until the entire ecosystem was fully integrated. Uruguay’s interconnected clinical record has saved resources for the system. Something similar is happening in Colombia, which is establishing interoperability as a core of its health system and forcing providers to begin transitioning. Private sector associations can also support the transition but they need a large user base.

Q: What other market opportunities has Deloitte identified to attract more investment in healthcare to Mexico?

A: Vaccine manufacturing is attracting solid investments. A large pharmaceutical company recently invested to enhance Mexico’s vaccine manufacturing capacity. Supply chains are also gaining significant relevance. Since the disruptions caused by the pandemic, Mexico’s position as a South and North American supplier has become more relevant. Consolidating the country’s position will require the strengthening of Mexico’s drug manufacturing plants and investing into the production of active principal ingredients (API).

R&D is another interesting area as COVID-19 demonstrated that clinical trials lack diversity. For years, Mexico has been said to have the potential to be a research hub. Another attractive area for investment is talent. Mexico has had a historic shortage of doctors and nurses, who now also have to be digitally savvy and integrate the benefits of digitalization into their practices. 

Mexico could also benefit from the investments of large retailers with a health division and pharmacy chains. These companies are looking to invest in the right partnership that will enhance their services and those of their partners. 

 

Deloitte is a multinational professional services network with offices in over 150 countries and territories around the world. It is one of the Big Four accounting firms and the largest professional services network in the world by revenue and number of professionals.

Photo by:   Deloitte
Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst