Ulises Bacilio
Grupo PTM

Mexican Healthcare Inches into the Digital Future

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 15:34

Digitalization is making its way across every sector of the health industry. In addition to being environmentally friendly, these solutions save costs and are practical, says Ulises Bacilio, CEO of Grupo PTM adding the biggest obstacle is not patients. “Doctors are the greatest resistance we face,” he says.

Working in conjunction with global medical imaging giant Phillips, Grupo PTM, a leader in technology solutions for hospitals, provides interpretations of radiographs that are delivered digitally in a matter of days. That compares with the months it previously took to get an interpretation to a patient, especially those in remote areas. The company also provides cloud storage for the interpreted radiographs. The X-card, its key product, allows patients to have their medical history and images on hand at any point in time, no matter where they are in the world.

The patented invention consists of a credit card-sized plastic card that bears a unique code. The patient can scan this code or enter it into the Grupo PTM website to instantly access their medical images and share them with their specialist of choice. In addition to being environmentally friendly, these solutions save costs and are practical. “A patient can load all his studies onto the card and it can be read with a simple QR scanner on a cellphone,” says Ulises Bacilio, CEO of Grupo PTM. If a patient loses the card, he only needs to inform the company, which cancels the code and reissues a new card and code. Despite the many benefits, implementing digital solutions is not always easy. “Patients rapidly accept innovations such as the X-card. They find it amazing,” says Bacilio, explaining that doctors are afraid they will not be able to see the image in as much detail. “They are a dogmatic profession; they are not used to changing their ways. This is true worldwide, not only in Mexico.” The X-card is in use in four hospitals in Mexico: two in Toluca, one in Puebla and one in Cuautla. “Millions of radiographic sheets are still used every year in Mexico. ISSSTE alone spends MX$30 million (US$1.7 million) per year on these sheets,” Bacilio says, adding that eliminating the radiographic sheet has been the company’s motto and mission from the beginning.

The company has also digitalized its internal processes, shortening its operating cycle by asking for immediate payment and resolving cash flow issues. This has allowed PTM to further invest in its technology and to provide its customers and ultimately patients with newer, better products and services. PwC predicts the global value of connected health to reach US$61 billion by 2020.

Another product on offer is the Invox, a voice recorder designed especially for medical professionals that speak Mexican Spanish. It uses linguistic analysis to automatically register keywords and categorize the recording, allowing users to easily search through voice albums at a later date and retrieve data. “We provide updates to the software almost every month, constantly improving the product,” says Bacilio, who believes that digitalization will also allow companies and public-sector institutions to begin collecting data on the services they offer and that they will be able to analyze it and put it to good use, to better serve patient needs.

Grupo PTM works with over 400 clients in every Mexican state, ranging from small clinics to large hospitals. As of December 2016, over 100,000 mammograms and 7,000 cancers had been diagnosed through PTM’s technology. The volume of clients it works with has allowed the company to begin compiling statistics. “The data we collect could be useful for clinical research. For example, there are many gastrointestinal cancers, in particular in Hidalgo,” says Bacilio. “We also realized that Tuesday is the busiest day of the week for medical appointments in Mexico.”