Post-Pandemic Health in MexicoBy Guillaume Corpart | Mon, 12/13/2021 - 16:55
Changes in public health policies, which today focus on keeping the population healthy, will impact the way in which manufacturers provide healthcare equipment and services. The medical device industry will transform with a focus on primary care, diagnostics and technology.
Procedure volumes dropped by 40-70 percent in Mexico during the COVID pandemic. New forms of patient care, changes in the doctor-patient relationship and the way populations address health issues are required in order to ensure patients are still cared for, even during critical times. Physicians from high complexity specialties, such as cardiology and neurology, indicate that around 30 percent of procedures are critical and must be performed, regardless of the pandemic. Meanwhile, orthopedic procedures tend to be less life threatening and elective surgeries are generally not critical. This explains the spread ranging from 40 percent to 70 percent in the drop in procedure volumes.
It is estimated that one third of the procedures cancelled in 2020 and 2021 will not be recovered, either because patients choose to stay away from hospitals due to the inherent risk of being within healthcare institutions, or because patients are choosing not to conduct procedures for conditions that are not life threatening. In many cases only the most serious conditions affecting life or the quality of life are deemed necessary of a hospital intervention.
However, since April 2021, hospitals in Mexico began seeing a turnaround in procedure volumes. By September 2021, a majority of hospitals that had witnessed a contraction were actively engaging with patients once more, working with new cases as well as the reduction of the procedure backlog left by the pandemic. According Global Health Intelligence (GHI) hospital monitoring, hospitals in Mexico expect to overcome the procedures backlog by Q1 2022.
Although procedure volumes are increasing, hospitals have yet to return to their pre-pandemic levels. Today, the private sector is operating at 75-80 percent of pre-pandemic levels while the public sector is at 65-70 percent; confirming that the private sector is experiencing a faster recovery than the public sector. While procedures are still being canceled – at rates of around 15 percent in the private sector and around 20 percent in the public sector – the absolute number of procedures is increasing by 2-3 percent per week.
Continued investment in innovation and technology is seen at various levels. Notably by the new Industrial Innovation Center for the Development of Medical Devices based inside the company Eco Advanced Electronic Support, located in Ciudad Granja, Zapopan. This center is being supported by US$ 120,000 from the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology (SICyT) through the State Council for Innovation, Science and Technology (COECYTJAL), with US$ 600,000 from the PROSOFT program and US$ 482,000 from the private sector, according to the government of Jalisco.
Among the most noteworthy developments that GHI has identified in Latin America in recent months are 3D-printed medical devices, virtual diagnostics and primary care, and minimally invasive procedures performed using state-of-the-art robotic surgery systems. A free whitepaper on robotic surgery systems in Latin America is available on the GHI website. The document highlights the dynamic state of this sector, with the penetration of new market entrants and increasing acquisitions from hospitals.
In the article, “The impact that COVID has generated on the care of the Mexican population. New challenges for everyone,” published in October 2021, GHI focuses on telemedicine and the impact on primary patient care. In this regard, Dr. Omidres Pérez, president of the Ibero-American Telehealth Association spoke at the EF MI SALUD forum on self-care and quality of life. “In Latin America, only 1 out of every 10 patients can contact their doctor at a time of critical need. 9 out of 10 patients cannot do is. This is a critical point: telemedicine can close that gap,” she remarked.
Dr. Pérez added that “What awaits us in Latin America in the coming years is a hybrid health system in both the private and public health systems. The general public requires that we go to a hybrid system with a patient-centric vision, where the subject is the protagonist and self-care is the central axis of this.” This topic will be further developed in upcoming articles.
Medicine and healthcare are in constant evolution, with a qualitative leap in the quality of patient care and a quantitative leap in the number of people who will access health services. We look forward to tracking how these changes will impact and improve the lives of patients and persons in Mexico and throughout the world.
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