Gustavo Fernández De Loyola
Former CEO
Grupo Torre Médica
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View from the Top

Logistics Methodology Reaches Healthcare

Tue, 04/09/2019 - 09:38

Q: What results have you achieved in your plan to expand to 10 hospitals and 20 clinics following the hub-and-spoke model?
A: In 2018, we focused on growing the capabilities of our existing facilities. Our offer grew from 35 to 63 beds in our two hospitals and we are in the process of opening our sixth clinic in Mexico City, which will double our patient capacity. We hope to begin with our expansion process beyond Mexico City in the second half of 2019.
In Mexico City, we specialize in traumatology. Annually, we see over 100,000 patients, from those in simple accidents to patients requiring intensive care. We continue growing our patient capacity following our hub-and-spoke model. We have changed the way we relate to our clients and have established associations with insurance companies to create different products to help patients. Rather than fostering a traditional model where we charge insurance companies when patients get to the hospital, we are creating joint programs to manage patient populations and lower risk collaboratively. We want to share with insurers the benefits of this strategy and also participate in the sale of insurance products. Hospital and insurance companies tend to have an antagonistic relationship, so our goal is to change that and become allies.
Q: What role do new technologies, changes in user preferences and increasing medical expenses have in your strategy to meet patients’ demands?
A: Patients are sometimes more informed about the different treatment options available. This is good, however, because it forces hospitals and doctors to update their offering constantly, including new treatments, technologies and therapeutic techniques. High costs, on the other hand, remain a complication for patients who do not have the resources to access new technologies.
Q: What does Grupo Torre Médica do to counter these complications?
A: Our hub-and-spoke model allows us to perform less-complicated procedures in clinics, where costs are lower and attention is faster than in a hospital. Having said that, we have improved our hospital system to treat patients faster, while maintaining our low-cost advantage. A low-cost, high-quality model will be essential to address any health issues in Mexico in the future. That is the next growth barrier for hospital groups and where Grupo Torre Médica wants to participate.
Q: What do you think hospitals and healthcare will be like in 20 to 30 years?
A: I think we will evolve in two ways. First, we will predict much sooner when a patient will need attention or will suffer from complications. Predictive technology will have a major impact in Mexico in the next 20 years. Second, once patients have a problem, technology will substitute medical and nursing staff. A machine will be able to diagnose many problems with greater precision than a doctor, as well as run blood tests and imaging studies and correlate them with 10,000 similar cases from patients in other parts of the world. Doctors will probably not be substituted in the surgery room but when it comes to metabolic issues, a machine will have more information to make a reliable diagnosis. However, it will take time before Mexico adopts these technologies.
Q: What are the main factors impeding the development of skilled professionals in areas like nursing or radiology?
A: Women are increasingly participating in other professions and becoming a nurse is not that attractive anymore. Since there are fewer people studying to become nurses, we have to provide incentives to attract more people to the profession. Once they graduate, we have to pay them well and offer them incentives to grow in their field.
Regarding doctors, there are some specialties that are in greater demand than others. At the same time, students are more attracted to certain areas than to others. There is an opportunity to offer positions to doctors of all specialties but it is difficult to convince them to move to cities with 300,000 inhabitants.