Gustavo Fernández de Loyola
Director General
Grupo Torre Médica
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View from the Top

Specialized Focus Leads to Better Results

By Jan Hogewoning | Tue, 12/31/2019 - 10:00

Q: Last year, you stated you wanted to grow and expand. How has the group progressed?

A: We continue to grow and we now have our eyes set on a third hospital. This new hospital will most likely be in Mexico City. However, considering that we work with many insurance companies, and many clients are referred to us through their employer insurance or car insurance, we also take into account where these organizations see most demand. If they ask us to go to Pachuca because that is where our services are needed then we could go there. This is the same for other potential locations.  We also have five clinics that we want to turn into a network.

Our specialization is traumatology, and we continue to pursue this focus as we expand. Instead of doing many things, we prefer to be very good at one thing. In 2019, we treated over 115,000 patients, of which 80 percent were in the area of traumatology and trauma orthopedics.

Q: What is your strategy to continue improving patient-centric services?

A: We believe that it is precisely because we are so focused on one specialization that we provide such high-quality healthcare. Our medical staff has a great deal of knowledge and experience. They have seen things before and are able to apply their experience to new patients every day. Being able to recognize what is happening to a patient is very important. The environment in our hospitals is geared toward this specialization. In terms of satisfaction among patients, we had a third party conduct an electronic survey last year. The results indicated that patients and family are satisfied with our care.

Q: What role is new technology playing across your facilities?

A: My belief is that knowledge is more important than having the latest state-of-the-art technology. I have an excellent team of seventeen traumatologists and many nurses who are fully commitment. You do not need the most advanced tomography machine to fulfill your goal. That is not to say that we do not have good equipment. In this hospital, we conduct 500 surgeries every month. Given these numbers, I would say that we are the No. 1 hospital for traumatology in the country.

Q: What is your perspective on the government’s intention to raise the salaries for doctors in rural areas?

A: I see both positive and negative aspects to this. There are many doctors who are not doing what they studied. They are working in other fields, other industries. Many of these doctors want to do what they spent all those years studying, but may have found that in urban areas there is a lot of competition for these jobs. This new initiative could provide them the opportunity to move to these areas and take up their profession again. On the other side, many doctors want to continue studying and advancing throughout their career and will find it hard to pursue a high specialization in a remote rural area. A pay raise of a few thousand pesos is not going to motivate these people to move to the mountains. Obviously, it is an issue that falls within a broader integral problem.  

Q: What is your perspective on the growing phenomenon of small clinics with under 30 beds?

A: If you have only 30 beds, you are generally limited to doing only a few things. This means you specialize in something specific. There are clinics that are staffed by doctors with a particular specialization and they do a very good job. The ability to provide a specialization has allowed this kind of phenomenon to succeed. If you have a bigger hospital, with 80-100 beds, you can afford to do much more in a diverse range of medical areas. The line is somewhere around 40-45 beds. If you go above that, you enter another world.

Q: Do you have any interest in medical tourism?

A: We are not interested in medical tourism. There is a good reason for this: we simply do not have the infrastructure for it. Secondly, I do not have the contacts with the brokers in Canada and the US who can provide the stream of patients. I believe if you enter this area, you have to do it well. There are hospitals that have succeeded. It is a great opportunity for the hospitals and its doctors, as many people are seeking care in Mexico. Particularly in December, you see many Mexicans who reside in the US coming back to Mexico for treatment.

Q: What lessons have you learned and what advice do you have for other hospitals?

A: A hospital is essentially a business like any other. It needs to have systems of management in place. You need to optimize your supply chain, your finances and your human resources. Sometimes hospitals forget that, but if you want to compete you need to think that way. We are businesses, with our primary product being healthcare. Providing care does not mean you cannot act like a business. To give you an example, there are several medical materials, like plates, which we import from Brazil. To cut costs, we cut out the middleman and chose to import directly ourselves. This is a common practice in any industry.

On last message I want to reiterate is that hospitals in the private sector are there to complement the public sector. We are not competing against it. We understand that the government cannot attend every single person and problem, and we serve to develop the health of this country. There are things that the government’s capacity simply does not allow it to do. We help by providing good care at a good price.

 

 

Grupo Torre Médica is a hospital group with two hospitals and five clinics located in Mexico City. Its specialization is traumatology, which comprises 80 percent of all its clinical services. Over 115,000 patients passed through its hospitals and clinics in 2019. 

Jan Hogewoning Jan Hogewoning Journalist and Industry Analyst