Martín Ferrari
Director General
Dräger Mexico
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View from the Top

Integrating Systems a Key Strategy to Reduce Cost of Ownership

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 16:31

Q: Last year, you mentioned that you wanted to increase your focus on the private sector. What are the results of this approach?

A: In 2017, we grew 35 percent in the private sector compared to 2016. We introduced a system for managing key accounts in the private sphere, reinforced our sales to the private system and introduced a modified version of Microsoft’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software that allowed us to improve aftersales. Today, we work with StarMédica, Grupo Dalinde and San Ángel Inn. We will continue betting on this sector and not just with major hospital groups. Our goal is to target a second layer of private hospitals, including the Consortium of Mexican Hospitals, which incorporates 41 midlevel facilities. This group of hospitals wants to unify their systems and acquisitions. Our strategy for 2022 will target midlevel private hospitals, of which there are over 500 in Mexico.

Q: How is Dräger incorporating Internet of Things (IoT) principles into its solutions?

A: The core of our operations is our focus on the customer and our ability to offer tailored solutions. To improve this core, the company is getting faster. The CRM tool that we launched incorporates several more elements related to client management, interaction and satisfaction. Our sales force is increasingly digital, which means that our salespeople have more tools to help them perform more quickly and professionally. This also permits access to a greater amount of information that allows for better solutions. Additionally, we are working on order fulfillment and supply chain.

Q: Dräger has implemented data digitalization systems at several public institutions. How are these systems improving healthcare practices at public institutions?

A: Dräger’s systems compile information from our anesthesia, monitoring and ventilation equipment. In 2018, we installed our EMR program called Innovian and connected it to INCANET, INCan’s system for the management of demographical data. This system allows for the close monitoring of processing times and productivity in surgery and therapy rooms and relates that information to INCan’s patient data. Innovian will complement the existing medical data and use all compiled information to analyze which areas could be improved in terms of costs, which often are surgery and rehabilitation.

Q: What benefits will these technologies provide to doctors, hospitals and, eventually, healthcare systems?

A: This technology will allow doctors to make faster and more precise decisions, which is of utmost importance to the patient because decisions during surgery must be quick. Our system will also allow doctors to instantly retrieve laboratory data and images during surgery. Furthermore, it will grant instant access to a patient’s EMR to analyze previous surgeries or potential allergies so doctors can make informed decisions. During intensive therapy, the use of Innovian allows doctors to compile much more data in a more precise way. Due to the confidentiality of the data, cybersecurity is vital and will be one of Dräger’s main focuses during the next couple of years.

Q: In which other hospitals is Dräger introducing this technology?

A: We are installing these systems at Tec de Monterrey’s hospitals: Zambrano Hellion and Christus Muguerza. We are also trying to introduce this technology to public hospitals, but the acquisition processes of ISSSTE and IMSS do not provide for the introduction of software but, rather, the acquisition of individual units at the lowest price.

Q: How will you convince public institutions of the benefits resulting from integrated systems?

A: We are working closely with ISSSTE and IMSS, the latter of which has showed more interest in these technologies. We also participate in their committees to analyze the technologies they are interested in acquiring. Through our participation in these committees, we have convinced them to change a few old specifications in their basic lists but the programs of public 141 institutions are often dependent on political parties.

Q: Considering the wide variety of hospitals in Mexico, how does Dräger generate solutions that cover such needs?

A: The first step was to define the parameters of our key account management system, which performed with 33 key accounts in the premium segment. The midlevel hospitals were then subdivided in three different categories for which specific solutions were developed. We are analyzing the possibility of introducing certified, refurbished equipment for some of these hospitals.

Q: What are the main advantages of the hospital rooms that Dräger is building alongside B. Braun and Diphsa?

A: This collaboration has allowed us to introduce integrated perioperative solutions that cover a wider scope of clinical processes. This collaboration was successful, for instance, with Hospital Christus Muguerza, where Dräger coordinated the introduction of medical devices and processes, Diphsa sterilization products and B. Braun surgical equipment. We are planning similar projects for other private hospitals.

Q: Why should these hospitals choose Dräger instead of another technology provider?

A: At Dräger, we provide comprehensive solutions for critical care and our goal is to continue being No. 1 in this area. Our pillars are anesthesia and respiration, but we also provide the complementary equipment for monitoring, gas supply and lamps, as well as design critical care units.

Working in the Mexican market has posed several challenges for the company, as buyers are too focused on purchasing equipment and less on integrating solutions. In the private sector, we have seen a reluctance to invest in technology, as hospitals often only buy what is considered ‘good enough.’ The reason is that in Mexico, a hospital’s clients are not patients but doctors. Thus, the hospital’s internal structure is fragmented and it is only willing to invest in basic, functional equipment. In other countries, hospitals hire doctors so their clients are the patients themselves. For that reason, hospitals that follow this business model are more interested in increasing their efficiency and therefore invest in technology. Some hospitals in Mexico are implementing this approach, such as Hospital Christus Muguerza and StarMédica. Smaller hospitals want to improve their systems but their internal fragmentation gets in the way.

Q: How feasible is it to change Mexican regulation to promote better practices in hospitals through the incorporation of technology?

A: Mexico has extremely good regulations for hospitals but there is no monitoring whether hospitals comply with health and safety standards. We are working closely with the Mexican Society of Architects Specialized in Healthcare for the design of modern hospitals. While the association has significant experience in this area, there are still several gaps because it has not been that interested in developing its infrastructure for biomedical engineering in clinics. We are also working with the association to lobby the government so regulations concerning hospital infrastructure are enforced.

Q: Which other products will Dräger introduce in the short term for the Mexican market?

A: We will renew our current portfolio, mainly for anesthesia and monitors for critical care. Beyond devices, in Mexico we want to focus on the promotion of new business models for the private sector, which is now facing a disjunction as medical technology is being renewed at a much faster pace. After five to seven years, clients themselves feel it is time to refurbish. Thus, instead of buying new equipment or buying under a five-year loan, we retain the asset and provide it on a monthly basis. We are migrating to this service business model in which we become partners with the company.