Outsourced Sterilization Can Provide Up To 50 Percent SavingsBy Jan Hogewoning | Mon, 09/28/2020 - 12:05
Q: What change do you want to bring to the healthcare sector?
A: Our mission is to change the current paradigm of how reusable surgical instruments are processed in hospitals in Latin America. Hospitals in Mexico still perform their own instrument sterilization. This a complex operation that requires a lot of resources. Hospitals have to buy the equipment, recruit the qualified personnel, carry out maintenance and meet all the requirements for the process. Often, hospitals have resources to adequately carry out the first steps, but not all of them.
Currently, sterilization processes do not follow very strong regulations so standards are below par. The three things that come in contact with a patient’s body during surgery are medical devices, medications, and medical instruments. The first two are regulated by very clear and stringent NOMs. Surgical instruments are regulated by a couple total of only fourof paragraphs found in NOM-045 and NOM-016. There should be far higher standards considering the role medical instruments play in hospital infections, also known as nosocomial infections. The cost of infections, to human life and the resources of the health system, is immense. An additional issue in Mexico is that we do not measure hospital infection rates accurately, with official numbers far below the actual number.
We would like to reach a standard of processing that is similar to the NOMs for medical devices. We believe hospitals only have the responsibility to have the surgery equipment ready when it needs to be used. As hospitals move closer to international standards, the complexity of sterilization processes will only increase. We can comply with these, providing a complete service through an external plant. There are other services that are already carried out for hospitals by third parties, such as laboratory analyses and the creation of medication mixes for treatments such as chemotherapy. The latter was enforced by law. Along with our processing service, we would also like to provide a rental service for surgical instruments. We would buy the equipment and hospitals could rent it when they need it. In addition, we want to be able to provide hospitals with a certification on their sterilization standards.
Q: What benefits can an external service provide to hospitals?
A: We are here to provide a better service that is more efficient and less costly. The impact of an external service like ours would be considerable. In direct costs, both private and public hospitals should see savings of 25 to 30 percent in operational costs. For public hospitals, this could even go as high as 50 percent. Further secondary cuts would happen as nosocomial infection rates go down, freeing up operational resources and time. The impact on patients would also be considerable. Fifteen percent of all hospital patients have surgery, so our goal is to impact a minimum of 15 million patients over the next 10 years.
Q: Who is your first client and what are your plans for expansion?
A: In Mexico, our first client is the Conde Valenciana teaching hospital. It is located in Mexico City and specialized in ophthalmology. This field has a strong necessity for sterilized surgical instruments and their availability can be a bottleneck for surgery efficiency rates. This first client will be part of our pilot service. We are also talking to several private university hospitals in Monterrey. The idea would be to implement an open-model plant there that would cater to hospitals in a certain aerial radius. There is also the closed model, where a hospital demands that a particular plant only serves that hospital and no one else. In three to five years, our goal is to have five plants in Mexico catering to small, medium and large hospitals.
Our company is a product of both national and international investment. We want to be the first Latin American company to carry out industrial sterilization for hospitals. Outside Mexico, we are already working with a hospital in Uruguay and are also exploring relationships with local partners in Brazil, Chile, Peru and Colombia to establish operations there.
Q: What other innovations or disruptions is your company considering?
A: Our company wants to contribute positively to environmental and human developmental issues. One of our goals is to take a percentage of the profit of each sterilization process and donate it to the foundation Assistencia Privada of the Conde Valenciana Hospital. This foundation provides cataract surgery to people with limited resources.
We belief our staff is the key component to successful growth. Our emphasis on recruiting and retaining personnel will be a major focus this year. Every employee, from those carrying out the washing of instruments to the director, will be made a partner.
Healthic is a new company that aims to transform the way Latin American hospitals sterilize their reusable surgical instruments. The company carries out its process at specialized plants and also provides hospitals the opportunity to rent instruments