Mexico Still to Meet World-Class Sterilization StandardsBy Jan Hogewoning | Fri, 11/06/2020 - 13:19
Q: What has allowed Sinergia Biomédica Hospitalaria to remain a market leader for more than 25 years?
A: In 1994, we began with the vision of introducing cutting-edge products and technologies from around the world to Mexico. Over the years, this philosophy strengthened. On our search for quality products, we got in touch with an English company to become their distributors of the Alpha system, which is a thermal mattress that prevents the patient from suffering malignant surgical hypothermia. We have grown our contacts and suppliers’ network globally.
Q: How significant is the problem of lack of quality equipment in Mexican health institutions?
A: Unfortunately, Mexico is far behind in several protocols. For example, the Alpha mattress is mandatory in the UK for any patient who has undergone surgery for more than half an hour. There are no rules in the country that regulate this, which is one of the reasons why it has taken us a great deal of time and effort to introduce this system to the Mexican market. Likewise, there are no rules regulating the Sterile Processing Departments (SDP) in the industry. We have had the opportunity to visit medical institutions in the country and it is surprising how poorly the sterilization process is managed. There is a long road ahead to reach world-class standards. In Mexico, we would like to replicate all European standards to accelerate quality in the country and avoid adverse events on patients.
In Mexico, 20 percent of the market belongs to private hospitals. At our company, we have focused on this market because we hate corruption. Over the years, corruption in public health institutions has been constant. Since 1994, we have been a supplier of the most important national hospitals chains. Private hospitals are willing to pay for high-end technology. Unfortunately, at public medical institutions, quality is one of the last requirements.
Q: What is the process for identifying suppliers with the quality you are looking for?
A: Social networks are a great tool for this purpose, and LinkedIn in particular. Many Asian companies have approached us but we have rejected them because they offer very low-quality products. Our main relationships are with developed-world companies from whom we demand quality, technical and clinical support. High end technology and good training is mandatory because if you do not know how to use medical equipment, you can put patients at risk. Experience in the health market is key.
One of the conditions for a company to join our network of suppliers is that it must be certified in ISO 13485 to demonstrate its ability to manufacture medical devices and related services that consistently meet customer needs and applicable regulatory requirements.
Our commitment to the end user goes beyond the sale of medical equipment. We have a group of biomedical engineers who combine their knowledge in engineering and medicine to deliver the best quality products and to train all the areas of a hospital. For instance, when we sell an Alpha mattress, during the first months of the project we have staff in the operating room working hand in hand with anesthesiologists and doctors to solve any doubt and support the proper functioning of the equipment.
Q: How can you make your equipment financially accessible for lower-budget clinics?
A: Offering credit to companies is difficult because our suppliers require cash payments. However, we believe that leasing is a very attractive financial product for the healthcare market. This business model has the advantage that companies can renew technology once it becomes obsolete. Likewise, another sales scheme we handle is loan for use, where we give the equipment to our customers with the condition they buy the consumables from us.
Q: What new equipment do you want to introduce to your product line?
A: We are looking for a system that provides faster sterilization to quickly provide medical instruments in the operating room. We are also looking for robots that will help prevent infections throughout the hospital. Patients are at great risk of getting an infection during they stay at the hospital. We are always on the lookout for products that will help ensure patient safety, which is our main goal.
Sinergia Biomédica Hospitalaria is an authorized distributor of high-tech medical equipment. Apart from providing equipment, it provides a variety of services and organizes educational events