Andrés Gavenda
North Latin America Health Sciences and Wellness Industry Leader
View from the Top

Safe Return And ‘New Normal’ Guidelines for All Industries: EY

By Miriam Bello | Fri, 06/26/2020 - 09:04

Q: What major opportunities has EY identified in Mexico’s healthcare sector regarding transactional operations?

A: As a result of COVID-19, transactions in the healthcare sector have increased, especially regarding hospital and hospital supplier acquisitions. Right now, we have four transactions in the works, two in Mexico and two in Colombia. Two involve global investment funds. EY is the No. 1 firm managing transactions in Mexico and Colombia, with almost 75 percent of the market in different industries.

What we are seeing now is that many companies are interested in combining their service offering with digital tools that will add value to both parties. The sector has seen two recent alliances of this type, one between Farmacias Benavides and Cornershop to deliver medicine and another between Rappi and Sanofi just a couple of months ago.

Q: How does EY encourage digital trends and practices in the healthcare industry?

A: Luckily, many companies in healthcare were already turning to the digital world, as evidenced by recent alliances and acquisitions. But now, they all have to hyper automate their process and start thinking about solutions that use artificial intelligence. With the use of robots, we can improve productivity in all industries, save time and focus on other matters that require specific attention. One particular added value of automation is intelligent documents. These solutions are a game-changer for information processing.

In one of our most recent surveys, we found that three out of four people surveyed are facing healthcare issues but are choosing not to go to medical consultations at hospitals. Around 31 percent of the participants said that they prefer to wait until the quarantine is over to get treatment, 27 percent of respondents used telemedicine for consultations and 25 percent went to a pharmacy-adjacent clinic to receive treatment.

Q: How have your services adapted to the COVID-19 environment?

A: EY has allied with a partner to develop a telemedicine tool that we have just implemented in Chile alongside the government. We developed all the tools the government is using to trace and address the virus. Additionally, we originally developed an app for internal use to track our collaborators health during the pandemic. The app is called Safe Return and is now available to our clients. Safe Return allows tracing and monitoring of employees to have a clear panorama of the company, without invading people’s privacy and respecting their judgment. The differentiator of this app is the different stages that it covers. The app can offer solutions and recommendations as the pandemic evolves, because we have seen that the virus changes almost daily and we need to be prepared with solutions for our clients.

We know that Latin American countries have limited access to technology sometimes, so we offer an alternative system through SharePoint for the workers that doesn’t have access to the App. Both functionalities provide workers with a QR code to document their status and allows the company to provide follow-ups. This way, companies have individualized information of everyone.

We have developed a Video Analytics tools for the companies, as we are convinced that digital innovation is the key to effectively respond and mitigate the impact of the pandemic.  The Video Analytics have heat detectors and sensors that measures the social distancing required. All attached to the security cameras that the company already has installed We have already implemented this system at malls in Latin America to detect where and when there is a gathering that can be a potential risk of contagion.

In Mexico, the healthcare sector is facing many reconfigurations. We see it with the insurance sector, as many people are opening up to the idea of getting an insurance policy. Regarding vaccination, Mexico has some population groups that did not prioritize that, but their stance is changing as a result of the virus. This is also a way to push preventive healthcare, now that the population is becoming more aware of their health. Change and awareness can also open up a window for the Mexican healthcare sector to start going beyond primary care and focus more on specialization.

Q: What are EY Health Sciences and Wellness Industry’s short-term goals?

A: We want to support our clients on their physical return to work. We have created guidelines, apps and other technological tools based on our surveys and by working alongside their businesses, we can create a tailored plan that is safe and productive for each company.

We have very broad knowledge about digitalization and technology tools, such as telework, which in Mexico is not yet regulated. We know how to safely and properly adapt these to the benefit of the client and its workers.

EY is also focusing its efforts on structuring “new normal” advice for companies. Sales are shifting and their transformation can be supported by our expertise and information. Reconfiguring work strategies is a challenge for many companies and it is very interesting to work with them and find solutions that fit them and their workers.


Ernst & Young (EY) is one of the world's leading professional services firms. It offers auditing, tax, finance, accounting, legal advice, actuarial study and calculation services and company management consulting

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst