Less Invasive Procedures Available at a Lower CostBy Jan Hogewoning | Fri, 10/02/2020 - 12:57
Q: How does Terumo Medical’s experience translate to the Mexican market?
A: Terumo Medical’s interventional cardiology systems have been very well-received in Mexico and they are our leading business in the country. Over the last few years, we have recorded double digit annual growth. There is a great deal of opportunity for our systems to improve healthcare. Ischemic heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in Mexico. However, the supply of suitable healthcare is limited. Mexico and Japan have similar population sizes but annually there are more than 200,000 interventional cardiology procedures in Japan and only 40,000 in Mexico. This means a lot of Mexicans are not benefitting from the procedures with limited access to healthcare.
Q: How does Terumo Medical equipment reduce the economic costs of procedures?
A: Our solution allows effective procedures with minimal invasiveness. The traditional method is to insert catheters into the femoral artery. Transradial intervention (TRI) is a technically more advanced form of catheter insertion that avoids such an invasive access to artery. This means patient recovery is quicker, potential complications due to access and closure are significantly less, hospitalization is shorter and overall hospital expenditures go down. The exact savings for the procedure cannot be generalized. However, some reports show a one or two-day reduction in hospital stay significantly generates cost savings. Because of the benefits, our company has been collaborating with the Japanese and Mexican governments for 10 years to promote the use of TRI. Our services are focused on helping existing patients, but also on creating more access for patients to the procedures through TRI.
Q: Who are your main clients in Mexico?
A: Our main customers are the public hospitals. Because 85 percent of the population are counting on the public system for interventional cardiology procedures, and treating many other highly catastrophic illnesses. If you look at the current infrastructure for cardiology treatment, there are around 200 catheter laboratories in the private segment and only 98 in the public sector. This means that there is an immense gap in cardiology treatment options between demands and supply of the medical service. This is where we can provide our solution, which comes in three components. The first is the product, the second is the training we provide to hospital staff and the third is our service for hospital implementation. The latter is how we advise hospitals on best implementation of our solutions to reach the highest cost-benefit ratio.
Q: Are you looking at implementing solutions for other medical areas?
A: The next step is to expand optimization programs to cardiac surgery that also have constraints in terms of infrastructure and healthcare professional’s availability in intensive care units.
Also, we are striving to improve infusion therapy another critical area for healthcare in Mexico, there is so much room to contribute to standardization, nursing development and patient safety reinforcement.
Q: What opportunities have you observed in Mexico?
A: I observe opportunities to save more lives and improve quality of life of Mexican people through providing our products, educational activities and service. We have been making some proposals to the Ministry of Health on how we can support more efficient hospital administration as well as the expansion of health infrastructure. I believe this meets a clear intention of the current administration... The fact that our proposal can save the lives of many and is also more cost effective should make it attractive to the government and key decision makers in the country.
Q: What are your views on collaboration between the public and private sectors?
A: The private sector, with more catheter laboratories, could assist the public sector. For this to happen, the public healthcare reimbursement system would have to be amended. I hope the government will help to foster more collaboration between the two sectors to create more access to patients for healthcare service.
With so many patients without healthcare coverage, collaboration between sectors can be a way to optimize our current installed capacity and both sectors strengths.
Q: What role could small and medium-sized clinics play in interventional cardiology systems?
A: As in many countries, there are three levels of clinics. The first is first contact clinics, the second is small-sized hospitals and the third is high specialty hospitals. Interventional cardiology is mainly performed at the third level. However, it remains a small group of hospitals, totaling around 200 out of 30,000 hospitals and clinics in the country. Middle-sized clinics, or small hospitals, should be equipped with the necessary machines and the catheter equipment to perform these procedures. This would make a big difference. However, it would also require a greater number of suitable physicians and nurses and training. First and second tier hospitals play a major role in early detection and reference of patients to the hospital that have the relevant infrastructure to treat the patient, this can also be reinforced with adequate training and basic equipment to increase chances for patients to arrive with better conditions at major cardiology procedures.
Q: What impact do you think COVID-19 will have on the Mexican health infrastructure in the long term?
A: I would say the government will change its policy on health infrastructure. COVID-19 is highlighting the lack of hospital beds for both intensive care and chronic patients as well as lack of trained healthcare professionals. There should be more operating theaters and more intensive care units. I also believe that this may demonstrate that there should be greater universality between the different health services, so any patient can access the public healthcare system. Inside hospitals, there needs to be more healthcare professionals, more agile teamwork and more use of information technology.
Q: What are your priorities for 2020?
A: We want to continue expanding the market for our interventional cardiology systems. This includes further promotion of our consultation services to help hospitals implement these procedures and improve the overall efficiency of their operations. Moreover, under COVID-19 reality the need for reducing length of stay of non-critical patients is increasing, not only to have available beds, but also to rebuild patients trust to return to hospital specially for elective procedures.
Terumo Medical is an international medical devices provider with global headquarters in Tokyo and North American headquarters in New Jersey, US. The company provides interventional systems, cardiac surgery, hospital products, pharmaceutical solutions for drugs delivery and business optimization solutions