Roberto Bonilla
General Director
Hospital San Ángel Inn
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View from the Top

A Need to Improve Insurance Levels in Patients

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 13:44

Q: What strategy is Hospital San Ángel Inn following to consolidate its presence in Mexico City?

A: The past few years were marked by several hospital acquisitions, mostly big hospital groups acquiring small or medium-size hospitals. Hospital San Ángel Inn has been fortunate enough to maintain its independence. We have always been part of Grupo Dalinde but we are autonomous in decision making. Our business philosophy has always been to focus on the service we provide to our patients and doctors. We provide quality services to our patients. Our general hospitals can tend to 100 percent of patient conditions and we are considerably more affordable than other hospitals as our prices are approximately 30 percent lower than the most important hospital groups.

Our advantages make us attractive to corporate clients. Enterprises sign contracts with us for coverage for their employees. We are among the top establishments for institutional accounts.

Q: What joint efforts could private hospitals and the government make to reduce obesity levels?

A: Obesity problems have to be treated from a more integral perspective favoring preventive schemes rather than just reactive solutions. Unfortunately hospitals only attend the most serious cases in which the patient is suffering from known complications. The private sector is offering interesting possibilities for the treatment of patients with obesity. There are personalized programs that, with the guidance of a health coach, aim to inform and educate patients on healthy lifestyles and eating habits.

Diabetes and obesity are conditions that can be prevented by promoting healthier lifestyles. Hospitals do not play a very important role in terms of promoting those. As a hospital, what we have done is work with our corporate accounts to create prevention campaigns for their employees, assigning them health coaches to conduct constant follow-ups of biomarkers. The information is registered in a database that allows us to monitor our patients and to distinguish the specific treatments we provide that have the bigger impact.

There is no general strategy for controlling obesity in the country. If the government and private enterprises team up, perhaps we could come up with a solution that could have a bigger impact on the country. The government needs to take advantage of the number of tools that technology provides. Performing free examinations in the city and in isolated locations is not enough, they need to conduct follow-ups on the diagnosis. Technology allows us to perform a more specialized follow-up.

Q: How do epidemiology cases in private hospitals differ from the ones you see in public hospitals?

A: The epidemiologic composition in private hospitals is very different than the one in public hospitals. In our case, most of our surgical procedures are elective surgery. In most private hospitals elective surgeries tend to be related to general, orthopedic, urologic and plastic surgery. Influenza cases are also among the variety we attend too and last year we attended more influenza cases than in 2009. Due to our alliances our patients are diverse and suffer from many different conditions.

Q: How can you overcome the challenges private hospitals face?

A: A challenge we usually face is the never ending struggle between insurance companies and hospitals. Hospitals think insurance companies do not want to pay for their services and insurance companies believe the hospitals are charging for unnecessary procedures. We need to understand that we are reaching the same markets and we have the same clients. Hospitals and insurance companies need to work on innovative business models to allow us to tend to more patients at a lower cost.

We need to change the idea that more medical choices on insurance coverage equates to better coverage. This is inefficient for insurance companies since it has become extremely expensive to have hundreds of doctors listed as options. Having fewer options is not appealing to patients but this traditional model only increases costs for companies and for the patient. A change in the way we approach medical coverage could help us implement more economical services.