News Article

The Paradox of the Healthcare Supply Chain

Thu, 09/05/2019 - 13:29

Whether it is logistics, hospitals, pharmacies or technology companies, there is a shift toward putting people and their needs front and center in the healthcare industry, panelists said at Mexico Health Summit 2019, as they reflected on the paradox of the healthcare supply chain.

“In the industry, we are used to talking about patients, when we should be talking about people. Hospitals of the future will be health units focused on attending healthy people, rather than sick ones,” said José Elizondo, Founder of Wellmedic Health Centers, during a summit discussion at the Museo Papalote del Niño in Mexico City on Thursday.

Elizondo was joined by Marcos Pascual, Commercial Director of ANAFARMEX; Anil Andrade, Director General of ACG Group and Eduardo Tapia, Director of Life Science and Healthcare for DHL Supply Chain Mexico, to discuss how supply chain companies and hospitals are using technology to migrate to a model where needs of end-users are privileged and attended in a more efficient manner.

Pascual said that the implementation of doctors’ offices at points of sale has generated further access to basic health services. “Doctors’ offices adjacent to pharmacies have been the private sector response to provide health coverage with certified doctors and medications at accessible prices,” said Pascual. Elizondo acknowledged that the implementation of these points of health services have allowed an improvement in access to basic health attention but they do not solve the problem of access to specialists. “During the past governmental administrations, we have seen investment destined to alleviate the health infrastructure problem. However, the paradox we are seeing is related to human capital.”

For Elizondo, in a country where only three out of 10 doctors have a specialty degree or sub-specialty, telemedicine presents an interesting opportunity to provide more coverage and to continue putting patients front and center. “The human capital deficit that exists in the country will only be solved through digitalization of health services,” he said.  

Implementation of technology solutions and digitalization not only touches upon access to medical attention but also in the medication distribution and tracking scheme. “Patients need to be able access medicines wherever they are. However, they need the certainty that the product they are consuming is not fake. In this sense, medicine tracking becomes vital,” said Andrade. “The use of aggregated data can help patients and guarantee them that their product is authentic.”

In addition to guaranteeing product authenticity, Tapia mentioned that logistics companies have the responsibility of guaranteeing that medicines and medical devices they deliver are maintained in quality conditions. “We are seeing how IoT can help us to obtain real-time information regarding the conditions of the medicine and allow us to implement better quality control.” Although companies are still far from implementing all the available technology solutions in the market, Tapia said that they are all going through a transformation process that aims to be more efficient and useful for patients. “In other countries, DHL even helps in the transport of patients. As a logistics company, we are working on finding the best way to put patients front and center.