Eduardo Lara, Head of Health for RGA Latin America (far left); Javier Potes, Director General of Consorcio Mexicano de Hospitales; Carlos Septién, CEO of Grupo Diagnóstico Proa; Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, Subregional Head of Management Center Latin America North and Country Manager of Roche Diabetes Care Mexico and Ana Longoria, President and Director General of Novartis (far right).

Innovation makes no sense unless it is done with the patient at its center and focuses on problem resolution, panelists said as they reflected on the opportunities at the Mexico Health Summit 2019 at the Museo Papalote del Niño in Mexico City on Thursday.

“The system has an inertia where patients are not front and center. We need to change attention models and innovate to make health services accessible to the overall population,” said Javier Potes, Director General of Consorcio Mexicano de Hospitales, during the panel discussion.

Potes was joined by Eduardo Lara, Head of Health for RGA Latin America; Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, Subregional Head of Management Center Latin America North and Country Manager of Roche Diabetes Care Mexico; Carlos Septién, CEO of Grupo Diagnóstico Proa; and Ana Longoria, President and Director General of Novartis. The panelists reflected on how there needs to be a coordination between the public and private sectors to make the newest and most innovative treatments accessible to the overall population.

For Longoria, the only way to make health technology and innovation accessible is through a comprehensive integration of the health system. “We are seeing older patients with chronic degenerative diseases, while the generation and commercialization of a new molecule can take up to 10 years of development and cost around US$1 billion. There is no single health system in the world that can face this challenge on its own.

As part of the efforts that need to be implemented to make sure that patients have access to new technologies, Lara said that the industry needs to reimagine its cost model. “We need to start measuring and paying in terms of results of medical services. The worst way to pay for medical care is through a pay-per-service model.” Potes added that in this sense, hospitalization services need to be understood as a service. “We need to continue insisting on the financial and operational model.”

For Septién, the main innovation challenge for laboratories lies in being able to differentiate and generate added value for patients and doctors and avoid being seen as a commodity. In this sense, Septién also emphasized the need to put prevention of chronic-degenerative diseases in the spotlight. “We need to move from a concept of curative medicine toward a prevention scheme. The lack of prevention entails more expenses in the long run.”

As an example of how prevention can lead to cost reduction, Díaz de Vivar said that there are diseases such as diabetes that go beyond the mere medical scope and need to be addressed from an integral perspective. “With digital solutions, we can provide scalability to reach more patients and thus reduce costs.” To which Longoria added, “It is important to have a long-term vision and implement public-private partnerships, so we can reduce technology and innovation costs.”

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