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José Arriaga, Director of Medical Operations at IMSS, closes Mexico Health Summit 2016

 

2016 has been a year of challenges but also change and innovation for IMSS, Mexico’s largest health provider. The Institute has gone through several adjustments to improve services to workers, families and employers. José Arriaga, Director of Medical Operations at IMSS, closed Mexico Health Summit 2016 by sharing the most recent efforts made by IMSS to improve process digitalization, treatment of chronic diseases and quality of care.

Arriaga said the institution serves 18.3 million insured workers and supports the program Prospera, for daily expenditures of MX$1.2 billion. There are three levels of care offered through 5,350 Medical Units, 350 hospitals, of which 79 are rural hospitals and there are 36 specialty medical centers. Also, IMSS runs service centers like daycares and gyms.

According to Arriaga there are two main challenges facing IMSS. First is a changing demographic. “There are more people above the age of 65, which represents more healthcare expenditure,” he said. Second are chronic diseases like diabetes which represent MX$80 billion of health expenditure.

Besides these challenges, IMSS is changing its service offerings. There has been an improvement in digitalization through changes to the Institute’s website and simplification of processes. Back in 2012, most processes had to be done in person but now they are mainly digital and remote. This benefits many IMSS affiliates, especially pensioners and pregnant women.

Today, 76 percent of consultations are in family clinics and it is possible for a patient to be in front of a healthcare professional within two hours. Another 20.5 percent of consultations are hospitalized. Triage processes have been implemented and patients are classified by their level of urgency so they are treated in the shortest possible time through a program called Unifila. So far the initiative has been applied to 142 clinics.

Bed availability has been improved as well as heart attack treatments with the Código Infarto program, which has helped reduce mortality rates by 57 percent in cases of heart attacks. Before, a patient having a heart attack had to pass through seven filters to reach their first medical contact. Now, thanks to the new system, staff is qualified to recognize symptoms and the patient can reach a medical professional almost immediately.

Other improvements by the IMSS include the simplification of prescription refills with the program Tu receta es tu vale, a more efficient use of surgical theaters and an increase of 9 percent of transplant procedures in the last year. Training has also been improved with the “SER IMSS” program, a series of training sessions for its workers aimed at offering better service, which has been implemented in 80 percent of its centers.

Going forward, IMSS expects to keep improving its digitalization process and to improve the quality of its service. Arriaga said there was MX$19.4 billion for infrastructure investment until 2018.

Contributed article by Camilla Del Villar

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