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EF: What was Siemens Healthineers´s role over these past months?
AP: The crucial role of Siemens Healthineers over the last 18 months was to contribute to fighting the pandemic. We were able to provide several solutions in terms of diagnostics through different tests. We developed new tests and brought these products to the market in a record time, which were very relevant to the pandemic: PCR, serology, and finally antigen tests. We also contributed to the treatment phases of Covid-19 patients with our imaging equipment (CT scanners, x-ray systems –particularly mobile ones- and ultrasound systems, all used to monitor patients infected with Covid-19), mainly looking for pulmonary lesions in ICU patients. I am very proud of our contribution and its impact on our region.
EF: Were there changes in the performance of your portfolio?
AP: There was a huge and impressive recomposition of our portfolio; I have never seen anything like it before in the more than 30 years of working in the sector. It is very difficult to plan ahead when dealing with an unprecedented situation like this one we are living in since last year, especially because we don’t know how long it will last. To maintain our sustainable growth, we focused on products and solutions related to Covid-19 and we were very surprised with the results. We are succeeding in keeping our revenue, our numbers are excellent and I am very proud that our technology is helping patients and healthcare professionals to deal with the pandemic while so many other industries are negatively affected. In a positive light, the pandemic has put medical devices and diagnostics on the map, and it is very positive for all of us.
EF: With all countries needing resources, how did you attract resources to Mexico and your region?
AP: Our big challenge, as for companies all over the world, was to get product supply in high demand. Siemens Healthineers, at a global level, applied very logical criteria for the allocation of resources when the shortage was greatest. There was a shortage at a global level for mobile x-ray systems and the company did not privilege developed or rich countries over others but instead allocated the resources in the usual way, considering the usual standard volume, so the countries could get a reasonable amount to attend the local markets, not meeting the demand 100% but we were able to keep supplying our customers.
EF: If you had to create a Master in Pandemic Administration program, which two courses would you consider mandatory?
AP: I would prioritize prevention in every sense of the word; we must prevent and plan ahead in terms of investment and infrastructure. It was very clear in Mexico a year ago that we were not prepared to face a health crisis of this magnitude, lacking both infrastructure and human resources. We must learn to prepare for the future in a sustainable way. The authorities must take this learning to invest in the country´s health and every one of us must consider preventive medicine and look after ourselves as according to statistics, more than 50% of the death from Covid presented comorbidities such as diabetes, obesity, or some cardiovascular issue. The health organizations had to deal with the huge challenge of coping with the pandemic while keeping the employees safe working in last year’s environment, retaining proximity while being physically distant. Mental health was another consideration that needed to be taken into account while working on business continuity and avoiding major disruption. All in all, this is a situation I would have not thought possible at the beginning of last year.
EF: Is there a recipe to be a successful digital leader and lead remotely?
AP: In Siemens Healthineers, digitalization is a central part of our strategy and we believe that the future of healthcare will be 100% digital. For us, the concept of digital relevance is not new, but what is new is the impact of the pandemic which has accelerated the introduction and adoption of digital technology. We were challenged at first working on a remote basis, but that was because the change affected our customers and we wanted to continue serving them in the best possible way and pave the way for them to serve their patients affected by Covid-19.
EF: How can we raise awareness on the importance of diagnosis, considering 4% of diagnosis information is used to make 70% of the healthcare decisions?
AP: Siemens Healthineers has always been focused on diagnostics and will continue to raise awareness on its fundamental importance. But not merely diagnostics; it’s crucial to be an early and precise diagnosis. It is a game-changer for health systems all over the world to overcome both clinical and economic challenges in the health sector. For example, a common disease today is breast cancer and mammograms were originally done with an analogue system, then they were digital, but now we have a very advanced type of mammogram called “tomosynthesis” where we can see breast images in 3D and detect cancer very precisely and at a very early stage making a huge difference, not only because of its low-cost treatment but in the patients quality of life. Early and precise diagnosis is central to the success of health systems and Siemens Healthineers aims for higher results at less cost, which can be achieved with our technology.
EF: When you look back to this period in your professional career, what would you like your tenure to be remembered for?
AP: I want to be remembered for growing the business and introducing innovative projects, but most importantly, I want to be remembered for being a good leader to the people I worked with. If people are happy, engaged, and passionate about what they do, the results will come. It is part of the business to have problems and find solutions and in a good working environment, problems will always be solved.
EF: Finally, from an AMID perspective, what are your core priorities for the MedTech sector, what are your key drivers and what is on your agenda?
AP: The main topics and priorities for the MedTech industry and in our agenda are:
- Continue working on the regulatory aspect as it’s the main common concern, mainly because AMID is made up of foreign MedTech companies. We cover the main concerns -not the individual specific ones- and regulatory is always a common priority as we all want a strong and efficient regulatory system. We are aware of the importance of being highly regulated as it is directly related to the security and health of the population. A regulatory framework is in place to protect the population and give them access to the latest technologies. We don’t want an overly bureaucratic regulation that could act as a barrier to innovative technologies and all the advantages it brings in terms of health. Since the new commissioner has taken over in February, there is a completely different approach in terms of openness and dialogue with the industry; we share the same objectives in terms of having an efficient system and using digitalization.
- Find ways for the MedTech industry as a whole to collaborate in our final goal of increasing access for all Mexicans. The final goal of all the different healthcare stakeholders in the country is for every person in the country to have access to healthcare and even if it is not completely in our hands we can help look for different ways and alternatives to contribute to the increase of access.