ALEJANDRO R. PAOLINI

Mexico 2020 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

Siemens Healthineers' aim is to support the growth and development of Mexico's healthcare sector and help the government with innovative technologies, especially those that help treat chronic diseases.

Alejandro R. Paolini
BIOGRAPHY

Alejandro R. Paolini is the Managing Director of Siemens for Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. He has led important projects with both public and private institutions in the health sector in Mexico. He graduated as a public accountant from the National University of Mar del Plata and holds a degree in business administration from the National University of Buenos Aires. He has more than 25 years of experience in the health sector. He began his career at Wainstein & Asoc and later worked for E&Y International. As CEO of Philips Mexico, he developed his experience in different countries in Latin America such as Brazil, Venezuela, and Argentina.

How would you describe the importance of Mexico and the region in Siemens Healthineers' global strategy?
Mexico is important in the global context because of the size of the market. Mexico is the second-largest market in the region and among the top 15 economies globally. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Mexico has a relevant place in the global context. We need to reinforce the health system here and change the mindset from one on treatment to one focused on prevention. We need to invest at a much faster pace compared to what we are currently doing. We are well behind the global average in areas like total healthcare expenditure. We must think positive and work hard to achieve better and more efficient healthcare for all Mexican citizens.

What role do you see technology and innovation playing in overcoming the challenges and bridging the gaps in the market?
Technology and innovation play a central and crucial role in our market. All the healthcare systems around the world are facing unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic. Our main focus is to support front line healthcare professionals, helping them to deliver high-value critical care. I believe this crisis will significantly change the way we think in healthcare. Medicine needs to be effective, efficient, and humanized. For sure, innovation and digital technologies play a significant role in this process. The final goal is to provide access to high-quality healthcare services. We must maintain a culture of innovation in order to continue our success. Companies in our sector invest 9-10% of their annual revenues in R&D. We need to invest in innovation that is clinically advanced while also bringing benefits to large swathes of people. The big challenge for manufacturers is to make innovation as accessible as possible.

What challenges are you facing in terms of implementing innovation and technology in the healthcare sector?
The main challenge is maximizing accessibility. We need to solve the problem of making innovation available and accessible to our local market. For us, one of the potential solutions is looking at different business models. We are betting heavily on what we call value partnerships. This is different from the typical transactional model. In the end, the objective of this business model is to find a way to make innovation available all across the country. We also want innovation to be available to the public and the private sector alike.

Are there any regional or local models that you can use as an example for your operations in Mexico?
We share experiences and models with markets across Latin America. Additionally, we look at similar experiences in India or China. It can be difficult to learn from the US or Europe, but developing nations have strong similarities that inform processes and approaches. In Mexico, the health system is fragmented, and we do not have enough resources. When we look at healthcare, we usually split it into four steps: prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring. Expenditure in the Mexican health sector is concentrated on the treatment phase and we need to invest more on prevention. Given the pandemic, there is an urgent need to learn and collaborate with other regions, such as Asia and Europe, that have already dealt with this situation. It is a matter of survival.

What are your goals for 2020?
Our main goal is to help our customers and Mexican population to emerge from this pandemic. Although this is not the best economic moment for Mexico, the healthcare sector needs to keep growing and developing. We want to be part of this process, helping the government with innovative technologies that treat any kind of disease, especially chronic diseases. We want to provide better results with lower costs. This is the challenge of every healthcare provider. We want to be seen as the enabler of such developments and a part of the solution.