Tomás Barrientos
Director of the School of Health Sciences
Anáhuac University

Pymesas, the Link Between Academia and Business Opportunities

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 18:08

Smaller companies could hold the key to universal healthcare access, says Tomás Barrientos, Director of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Anáhuac University, which is developing a project to address the issue. “We want SMEs to act as providers of services that are indispensable to the National Health System and at the same time help society to implement a new concept of health services to combat some of the flaws in the system,” he says.

The program, in cooperation with the Direction and Administration of Health Institutions (DAIS), seeks to develop Small and Medium-sized Associated Health Companies (PYMESAS) that also contribute to improving the employability of the faculty’s students. “Anahuac University wants to maximize our students’ employment opportunities through the Anáhuac University Health System (SUSA) and PYMESAS,” says Barrientos. The project is supported by the university’s business incubator in collaboration with the Anáhuac Business Development Institute (IDEA) and its business accelerator IDEARSE-Anáhuac.

The ecosystem to support the development of health-oriented SMEs, according to Barrientos’ book David and Goliath, is the SUSA. In the book’s biblical metaphor, David represents Anáhuac University’s efforts to bring health closer to the population and Goliath represents the obstacles facing the health system in Mexico.

Barrientos explains that “SUSA aims to link the faculty with business institutions in the field of health — national and international, public and private ­— as a strategy to promote opportunities for graduates to put their knowledge into practice, generate employment sources and give back to society.” He continues: “SUSA wants to strengthen the weakness of the health system with good people and SMEs.”
Each year, 350-400 students graduate from the Faculty of Health Sciences at Anáhuac University, which is among the Top 3 universities in Mexico, according to the QS World University Rankings 2019.
The opportunities that Anáhuac University has recognized based on studies and analyses of SMEs in the health sciences are diverse. “These include 19 academic areas but we found that primary care, nutrition, dentistry, physical therapy and nursing occupy the top places,” says Barrientos. The university plans to use PYMESAS to develop projects with business models that contribute holistically to the health needs of the population.

According to CONDUSEF, SMEs generate 72 percent of employment and 52 percent of Mexico’s GDP. Innovative SMEs can contribute in those areas where the government and large companies have come up short. “SMEs can fill the social gap and encourage the creation of new associations that introduce technologies and assistance services to the field of healthcare in the areas of ​​Primary Health Care (PHC) and Advanced Health Care (AAS),” Barrientos says.

However, the goal is not only to increase universal access to services but also to create a network of companies that contribute to Anáhuac University’s health mission. “The project envisions that the specialized PYMESAS created through the incubator and accelerator have a permanent link with the SUSA to provide advice and supervision of business plans and operations,” says Barrientos.
The university also has implemented a strategic plan to achieve its health access targets. In 2018, according to the Diagnostic Study of the Right to Health by CONEVAL, around 19.1 million people in Mexico do not have access to health services. INEGI’s 2015 survey revealed that most affiliates were concentrated in the Seguro Popular (a terminated entity) with 49.9 percent, followed by IMSS with 39.2 percent. The government has made universal access a priority.

“The strategic lines of the 2016-2020 strategy are based on seven main points that seek to strengthen the comprehensive education of the student, its integration with the Anáhuac community, strategic linkage with the productive and social sectors, internationalization and research with social impact to develop the student, as well as increase healthcare access,” says Barrientos.