Alex Ruiz Bernal
Health Global Head
Expert Contributor

A look Into the Future of Healthcare in Mexico

By Alex Ruiz Bernal | Wed, 08/03/2022 - 09:00

The digital health sector is on the rise in Mexico.The boom is not only due to new devices, but also to the intelligent and comprehensive use of technologies and data to create more accurate, reliable and long-lasting products and services. What will the next few years be like for the healthcare industry?

Several components contribute to the health sector: from professionals who provide services in each of their specializations, to medical services and pharmaceutical companies, to retailers and wholesalers, and the entire supply chain.

In recent years, the digitalization of this sector has resulted in new paradigms and challenges. For example, according to a recent study by the Internet Association of Mexico, 58 percent of physicians already use virtual assistants to perform professional practices such as remote patient monitoring

This increase in healthcare professionals’ use of the web and new technologies can also be seen in other aspects. According to the same study:

  • 97 percent use the internet to consume relevant health content; 
  • 95 percent seek information online for prescriptions; 
  • 93 percent are looking for new products and diagnostics;
  • 92 percent access digital medical applications; 
  • 90 percent receive medical and drug information. 

In addition, 61 percent already use digital clinical records and 44 percent already perform virtual consultations with patients. Finally, regarding the use of digital platforms, 89 percent already choose them for medical prescriptions and 73 percent use them to diagnose and make changes in treatment.

From the patient’s perspective, the use of the internet as a tool for contacting the doctor is already a reality: 85 percent of users connect to healthcare platforms via their smartphone, according to a study by Doctoralia

This opens up a great opportunity for the growth of pharmaceutical e-commerce. Social media marketing for health-related products is also growing: 3 percent of users make a health-related purchase after viewing an online advertisement, according to AIM. While that number may seem small, it’s set to increase significantly in the coming years. 

Digital Health in Mexico Today

There are already more than 60 digital medicine companies registered in the country, according to the Health Tech Association. 

This segment already operates across a broad spectrum of products and services, directly or indirectly related to healthcare.

For example, there is already software for the management of treatment monitoringstart-ups dedicated to the creation of tailor-made drugsand even platforms for direct interaction between doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

Beyond the development and adoption of new technologies, the path forward may be unknown for many members of the industry. 

The fact is that the road to digital transformation should not be traveled alone, much less if you are not convinced and even if you know the path. Fear and ignorance can be a hurdle in the middle of the road but it can and should be overcome to accelerate and transition in a more orderly way. But that's not all: not all organizations are culturally prepared for change. 

To achieve transformation, the first thing the company needs to have is a clear roadmap: what will be done and how to achieve the objectives. Having a clear and detailed roadmap and an agile execution plan will be fundamental for success.          

The success of modernization is not only about adding visuals and marketing, such as having a well-established e-commerce channel or an application, but also about rethinking, iterating, adjusting, and optimizing processes, with user and patient centricity. In short, it is about proactive change, not reactive change. 

Benefits of Digitalization

Now I want to highlight the following: the contribution that each particular technology, such as AI, IoT, robotics, Big Data, 3D printing and RPA makes on its own will open doors to new universes, however      if set up to work together, they can boost business results.                    

Here are a few examples:    

  • Reduction in operating costs;
  • Creation of new, personalized and efficient products and services; 
  • Strengthening the relationship amongst physicians and patients; 
  • Data-driven decisions;
  • Increased patient adherence to treatment; 
  • Creation of data interoperability protocols.

What will the future of health look like in Mexico?

Experts agree that the use of wearables will become more widespread, not only for monitoring elementary functions -cardio, steps- and even to generate medical imaging using ultrasound. 

3D printing will continue to boost the production of prostheses at lower costs, expanding access to the most vulnerable sectors. This will also accelerate the development of bioprinting. This technique combines prostheses made from bioabsorbable materials and stem cells so that each patient can regenerate his or her own damaged bones, organs or tissues. 

Data will be more valuable than ever. Most companies will focus their business model on cognitive techniques, artificial intelligence and big data. Knowing users better allows us to offer them a more personalized experience, which will lead to greater loyalty. 

The success of the healthcare industry will be leveraged by the joint work between tech      companies and traditional ones. The next step is to bring these two worlds together to create the best products and services in the economy of the future. The question is, when do we start collaborating?

Photo by:   Alex Ruiz Bernal