Alejandro Gil
Director General
Centro Médico Puerta de Hierro
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State-of-the-Art Offering Boosts CMPH's International Presence

By Miriam Bello | Tue, 04/13/2021 - 12:03

Q: What are Centro Médico Puerta de Hierro's (CMPH) plans for its five specialization areas?

A: Our target is to consolidate CMPH’s five specialization areas, which are neurology, cardiology, orthopedics, ophthalmology and transplants. More than a year ago, CMPH inaugurated a minimal invasive cardiac surgery center, which is equipped with the most state-of-the-art technology in Latin America. We are now able to perform surgery through a small incision on the thorax.

Despite COVID-19 limitations, CMPH is again performing transplants, which we paused during the critical months of the pandemic.

Q: How has CMPH dealt with costs deriving from the pandemic?

A: There has been a significant increase in the price of supplies due to high demand. Moreover, there are more safety measures, which require further protection and a larger use of antibiotics for respiratory infections. CMPH has tried to offset prices through better negotiations with our providers, building long-term relationships that will guarantee sustainable consumption and an increased cost-benefit for providers. We know all of this will have an impact on the patient’s final bill, so we are trying to maintain out-of-pocket and insurance prices. The latter segment has faced a surge in expenditure, which also puts pressure on the hospital-insurer relationship.

Q: How has CMPH balanced its COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patient workload?

A: We have five hospital units, three of them in Jalisco. We decided to focus Puerta de Hierro Sur exclusively on COVID-19 because it has the most beds. This has allowed us to balance our attention between regular workflows of programed surgeries and COVID-19 patients. We have had to add more beds to Puerta de Hierro Sur to address the increase in patient numbers. To accomplish this, we worked with foreign hospitals in our networks that were also treating COVID-19 patients.

Q: COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transformation of the sector. What is CMPH doing to join this transformation?

A: CMPH is trying to migrate to robust hospital management systems. We already have a plan toward 2023 to implement a digital platform that will include ECR, attention monitoring, imageology and laboratory data management. We want to create a portable hospital experience for the patient, which takes a long time. However, we are already working toward a more friendly patient experience.

Q: How might the COVID-19 pandemic impact medical tourism in the long term?

A: The pandemic has significantly impacted the medical tourism industry. One concrete example is Canada, which was a large source of patients who are now home bound because of border restrictions. CMPH has alliances with many institutions that have allowed us to maintain our foreign patient levels when it comes to the US. Despite the pandemic, I think the cost-benefit that Mexico offers to foreign patients is still there. The attractiveness of the attention has not changed and I hope this will serve to reactivate the sector in the future.

Q: How will the hospital environment in Mexico change after COVID-19?

A: There are many fronts that have been impacted by the pandemic. Medically, it has transformed the regular pathologies treated at a hospital. COVID-19 has unleashed a large number of respiratory cases, putting pressure on ICU units and procedures. At CMPH, we are trying to strengthen our services by looking into lung transplants. The hospital is already recognized in the area of transplantation. We are leaders in kidney, heart and corneal transplants. We are working on our first lung transplant this year and will begin offering this service to our community. I think that, especially in the future, this will be a widely needed service due to the long-term affectations of COVID-19, as most severe cases do not respond to treatment or therapies.

Q: How will CMPH continue pushing forward research and education at its facilities?

A: We have a strategic alliance with the only health school of Tecnológico de Monterrey outside Nuevo Leon. To date, we are working with seven subspecialities and are looking forward to adding a new one next year. We want to continue working to educate high-specialty medical talent at our hospitals and despite the challenges brought by the pandemic, CMPH continues working toward this goal. Moreover, we are working with local universities like UDG, UG and UAN to pursue this goal locally and nationally. 

Q: What are CMPH’s near-term goals?

A: As a hospital, the most important challenge we have right now is the large turnover of nursing staff. This is a national phenomenon that resulted from the pandemic and the need to respond to the crisis. However, this has impacted hospitals because we are losing trained and prepared staff in whom we had invested. We are trying to find more nurses for our care areas. However, a great deal of training is needed to successfully integrate new people into our specialized areas.

At the same time, we are ready to launch two expansion projects. These will be outside Mexico and we are looking forward to seeing the results from this foreign venture.

 

Centro Médico Puerta de Hierro is a recognized medical institution in Mexico’s western region. It has five hospital units and its standards are recognized by the General Health Council, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Health

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst