Misael Uribe
Médica Sur
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Medica Sur's Guidelines to Approach a Pandemic

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 04/27/2020 - 13:35

Q: What makes Médica Sur one of the best private high-specialty hospitals in Mexico and the best in Mexico City?

A: This is thanks to our social scope and objectives that have shaped Médica Sur from its origins 40 years ago. The hospital was founded by a group of doctors and academics who perceived the difficulties of providing good healthcare and of finding a hospital with good practices and values. These factors, alongside rules and obligations, have shaped the quality of services found at Médica Sur. Innovation and education have also been differentiators for our patients.

Q: What does you association with Mayo Clinic on neurology mean in terms of services?

A: This important association speaks of quality and education. Médica Sur is open to partner with international and national institutes in all specialties because we know there is a lot to learn. Médica Sur also has a great deal to teach.

The partnership with Mayo represents support for difficult cases. Through this collaboration, we are able to send cases for revision to Mayo Clinic to get other opinions and perspectives. Médica Sur is one of the few Mexican hospitals that is part of the Joint Commission International, which asks for very high-quality standards. Learning and sharing our knowledge to help with procedures for difficult patients is the main goal of these alliances.

In Mexico, we have an alliance with Médica Santa Carmen to attend renal insufficiency by creating a hemodialysis unit. The basis for this alliance, and from the others we have, are shared values and ethics, which leads to fruitful work from both parts to deliver the best services for patients.

We have also partnered with technology groups that allow us to develop our own software and robots that help diminish risks for patients and doctors at Médica Sur. The digital part of the hospital is very important and we focus on always developing and introducing tools that are going to benefit patients and doctors. We are consolidating a super safe hospital where you can go for treatment without fear of any kind. This is especially important now that we are facing a pandemic and safety inside the hospital is key to avoid further contagion.

Q: Where does medical tourism fall within Médica Sur’s plans?

A: I see Mexico as a very defined country in terms of healthcare. For example, the border states receive the most medical tourism as they also have a well-developed medicine practice in both the public and private sectors. Sadly, there are other parts of the country with more limited capabilities. This has led Médica Sur to focus on a rather different concept, known as International Medicine, which essentially focuses more on the doctor, local or foreign, seeking to complement their knowledge with foreign practices. We know many countries generate much more knowledge than others, but International Medicine is an amazing tool for medical professionals to enrich their practice.

Q: How does Médica Sur promote medical education and research?

A: From the beginning, Médica Sur has been a university hospital. To date, we offer 17 graduate courses and we have from 120 to 170 doctors who work and study at the hospital. Aside from institutional hospitals in Mexico, we are the ones that dedicate the most to research. Knowledge, beyond learned, must be generated and we have the mindset and tools to do it. Médica Sur believes in innovation and we encourage the use of technology, such as robots. The electronic clinical record used in the hospital was also developed in-house. These kinds of actions mark a difference and also show how Médica Sur acts according to its capacity.

Q: How does Médica Sur benefit from working with insurers and how do they benefit in return?

A: Médica Sur does not think that hospitals and insurers have to be divorced. On the contrary, a joint effort means more healthcare access for people, which is the goal here. Insurers want a responsible hospital, with reasonable prices and high-quality services. This means constant work but is part of our goal.  

Médica Sur’s good reputation took a reasonable monetary expenditure in terms of infrastructure, state-of-the-art technology, prepared personnel and quality services. Offering this has a cost but it will never be an unfair one. This is a complex service for insurers but we have managed to do it and Médica Sur has become an accessible private hospital on its own.

Q: What actions do you think would be needed to ensure medical staff availability in Mexico, mostly in rural areas?

A: The country has a deficit in infrastructure and human resources. It is well-known that the number of beds is lacking and the medical staff limited. A career in medicine is rigorous and it has to be, because we are dealing with lives. One cannot say that hiring thousands of doctors from one day to another is easy or possible, because it would not be responsible. It takes time and this is not being said in a negative way. Quality medical professionals should be selected as if they were going to treat you or your family. The number of doctors needed to effectively cover the country has to be based on the number of citizens in Mexico. Right now, we do not cover that and no one can say otherwise because it would not be true. We cannot count medical students either, because their training remains incomplete. This profession is totally vocational, doctors in Mexico are not highly paid, at least not compared to other countries and to the cost of the career itself.

I would invite everyone to reflect on the doctor’s responsibility. This is a social commitment; we are always committed to the patient and patients’ lives, which is why I urge people to see what it takes to get there. As much as I would like the career to be easy and to magically have all the doctors needed ready and secured, this is not possible.

Q: How does Médica Sur promote preventive healthcare?

A: Rather than offering corrective treatment, we encourage every doctor to be involved in preventive medicine, as we know this is a component of every doctor’s practice. It is not one type of specialty that concerns just some of us. This is a matter that concerns all doctors and their particular practice.

Q: What can other hospitals learn from Médica Sur?

A: Hospitals need rules, they should have guidelines for processes and an expectation from their doctors. Hospitals should have motivated medical staff and a competent administration working together as a whole. At Médica Sur, different professions are needed to successfully work. It is all about teamwork, cooperation and participation of different areas. The main goal is to save lives. To offer the best quality in every area is a matter of collaboration, as we know no single person can do it all.

Q: How is Médica Sur facing the pandemic caused by COVID-19?

A: Médica Sur has created a document about the protocol and steps to follow for other hospitals which follows the Ministry of Health guidelines. This operating manual was created out of our experience attending COVID-19 cases and also the situation inside the hospital, guidelines and protection for our staff and the patients at Médica Sur.

We have dedicated a separate area of the hospital to attend COVID-19 cases. We took this decision based on the patients we already have at the hospital and to also provide the proper attention to COVID-19 patients during the crisis. We knew we needed clear guidelines to approach this epidemic, which is why we developed an operational manual-based n the official guidelines of the Ministry of Health and decided to share it with the facilities that need it.

We started developing the manual when we saw the beginning of the outbreak in China and that country’s experience. Europe’s experience also served as an example of what to do and what to expect. We observed the development of the COVID-19 crisis and we adapted it to the Mexican healthcare context and to our hospital’s context.

Q: What measures are necessary to ensure the best possible conditions for medical entities and health professionals during this pandemic?

A: Healthcare staff are the most important actors during this crisis. Médica Sur has focused on having the proper tools and supplies for them as their exposure to contagion is direct, basically. The hospital assumed the costs because we understood the importance of having the right supplies for our team. Our workers are vulnerable to contagion outside the hospital too, as they have to use transport to get here and to return home.

Our recommendation for everyone is to stay home. Listen to the government and stay home. Avoid exposure and help to keep others safe. Help to stop contagion and to put fewer people at risk of getting sick or dying.

We are on the same ship together. The ship is called Mexico and unless all of us collaborate, we will not go forward. While the government might be promoting the appropriate measures, if society does not follow them, they will not work. instead of being divided, we all have the same objective, which is to be safe and healthy.

As for the healthcare sector, there is no such thing really as public health and private health. Healthcare is for everyone. We need to work together and if a healthcare professional is true to their career, they will never put conditions on their services for others. If care providers really care for the patient, Mexico will have the greatest outcomes. All doctors are committed to keeping patients safe but it is important to cooperate with them too.


Médica Sur is a private hospital- university complex with 31 laboratories in Mexico City, one women’s clinic and two hospitals. It is a member of the JCI and the Mayo Clinic Care Network and has a pharmacovigilance center

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst