What have been your main achievements?
ALEJANDRO GIL One of our biggest achievements was the incorporation into the Mayo Clinic Care Network, which involved a 13-month due diligence process where we had all our business aspects validated in terms of quality, safety, finances, human resources, and IT. There are only two players in Latin America that are Mayo Clinic Care Network members, so this makes us extremely proud. This brings important components that we can share with our shareholders and allows our patients to get a second opinion at no extra cost, which is one of the key aspects that Grupo Puerta Hierro seeks to push forward. We want to improve by doing more team medicine, which is different from what the Mexican idiosyncrasy is used to. In Mexico, people are used to relying on one opinion; we seek to bring a team medicine that is comparable to what Mayo Clinic does in the US.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Hospital Galenia, and how will the pandemic impact the medical tourism sector?
EDUARDO LOYA COVID-19 has impacted everyone and made us realize how easily we can lose control of things that we think we have under control. People are afraid. Some are so scared that they are threatening health professionals, despite the fact that these professionals are willing to give up their lives to help them. People are afraid of leaving the hospital because of the virus. As the president of the Mexican consortium of hospitals, I have seen this happen across the country. Moreover, occupancy rates are declining across Mexico. As a result, our expenses have increased because we have to continue paying our workers and acquire new medical devices and equipment. The pandemic's impact on the medical tourism sector is hard to gauge because a big part of Mexico's GDP is related to three areas: oil revenues, remittances from the US, and tourism. A significant chunk of GDP is linked to tourism. The pandemic has affected the tourism sector badly, and it is hard to determine how long it will be before people can travel again comfortably. Unless that happens, the medical tourism sector will not recover.
What added value do you offer as compared to your competitors?
AG We have five focus specialties where we are industry leaders. For example, one of our specialties focuses is ophthalmology; we are the most important ophthalmology surgery and diagnostics center in Mexico. We handle around 600 surgeries every month and have the most advanced and diagnostic center and an ophthalmology team that is extremely strong. That is how we differentiate ourselves. We focus on ophthalmology, cardiology, neurosurgery, traumatology, and transplants. In the arena of organ transplants, one of our hospitals is the leader in kidney transplants in the private sector. We handle around 120 kidney transplants every year, and this year is the fifth year that we hold the record, so we are extremely proud of this achievement.
EL We mainly compete with Médica Sur, a hospital that is certified by Mexico, the US, and the America Economia magazine, which ranks Latin American hospitals according to quality, processes, and certifications. We are the only hospital in Mexico that is certified by Canada, the US, and Mexico. According to America Economia, we are the 40th-best hospital in Latin America. In Mexico, Galenia is ranked second best. We do not compete with small clinics that offer low-cost surgeries.
What is your opinion on tools like 3D printing?
AG We are currently trying to assess HP's 3D printing program. We are testing and evaluating all the possibilities. We are assessing it on the needs of the hospital and patients in terms of what could be better. We want to stay as far ahead as possible, and there are a number of fronts to engage.
What are your expectations for the recently opened cardiology center?
EL Technology these days is widely accessible. The challenge is how to properly manage that technology. At Galenia, we have been committed to highly specialized treatments since the beginning. We have 18 cardiologists who have different levels of expertise, and they participate in our specialty cardiology center. We rotate these professionals to resolve problems related to their individual areas of expertise.