Read the Conversation

EF: What are Centro Medico de Campinas's plans and priorities in 2023? 

HB: The Centro Médico de Campinas is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023. Our hospital is located in the Região Metropolitana de Campinas. The region has approximately three million inhabitants and is only 100 km from São Paulo. Despite being densely populated and economically strong, Campinas still grows rapidly and has Brazil’s second-highest per capita GDP, right behind Brasília. Thanks to its good airport and roads, the region has excellent logistics and attracts many international technology and production companies, particularly from Asia. All these executives and businesses require quality services, including healthcare. As a hospital deeply integrated into our community, Centro Médico de Campinas fulfills its role by offering high-quality healthcare services and contributing to the development of our region and its social services. 

As part of our 50th-anniversary celebration, we have planned various activities, including physical facilities upgrades and acquiring new equipment. We also have events to strengthen our hospital's position in the local healthcare market. Although the Campinas region has been somewhat overlooked in the past, major players in the healthcare industry have recently recognized this potential, resulting in increased investment and competition. The Centro Medico used to operate without much competition in terms of quality and innovation. Still, with the emergence of two new hospitals in the region, and more to come, we must adapt to this new reality. 

Our main asset is the quality of our medical staff. Geographically, we are located near UNICAMP, a very prestigious university in our country. Because of this, we attract many doctors, professors, and experts in the field and stand out as a hub for medical knowledge. We currently have around 60 residents from different specialties and a vast clinical staff, yet our biggest challenge is retaining these professionals. New hospitals and competitors are large, powerful companies used to competitive markets like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, so the pressure to poach our team is high. Our goal is to retain these professionals and make them feel confident in the future of our institution. We are modernizing our hospital, offering more than just quality care but good hospitality, excellent service levels, and top-of-the-line equipment. This will make Centro Médico Campinas a home for well-educated doctors. We strive to create an organizational culture where our medical staff feels that our hospital is more than just a workplace. If we succeed in this mission, the Centro Medico will have a long future ahead.  

EF: How is Centro Médico contributing to achieving equal and homogeneous medical assistance in Brazil, especially given the country's size and inequality? 

HB: One of the medical center’s characteristics is our strong educational area, which we are expanding through undergraduate and postgraduate courses, guaranteeing more access to knowledge. We receive many doctors from all over Brazil who come to Campinas to complete their training and then return to their respective destinations. This is a way for us to contribute to more equal and homogeneous medical assistance. Brazil is a huge and unequal country. Centro Médico de Campinas can perform complex transplants and medical innovations while also assisting other places with limited resources and medicine. The healthcare system needs to be more homogeneous, and Centro Médico de Campinas’ mission is to contribute to this goal.  

EF: How is Centro Medico de Campinas preparing to integrate home care and preventive medicine in this new healthcare scenario and creating a more sustainable system in general? 

HB: Hospitals are expensive to operate due to the infrastructure and highly qualified staff required. In Brazil, hospitals are often overused, particularly emergency rooms. At the medical center, we have noticed that many patients who visit us may not require our services. If they had access to more specialized outpatient care, their problems could be resolved more economically and cost-effectively. Among those who seek our care and end up being hospitalized, we observed that there is often a lack of follow-up. Sometimes, patients, particularly the elderly, have multiple comorbidities. Without proper outpatient care, these patients will often need to be hospitalized again soon after discharge. 

Because of the fragmentation in the system, there is no integration of care. This results in poor medication adherence, too. While this may be cost-effective for the system itself, it is costly for patients. Additionally, patients often lack adequate guidance after medical discharge and struggle to continue hospital treatment elsewhere. Therefore, Centro Medico is launching its Outpatient Clinic, a new business direction for the company. The clinic will focus on following up with chronic patients who require greater complexity in their medical care. These patients are already known to us, with their medical records and necessary tests completed, eliminating the need for unnecessary repetition. This is an area we will prioritize going forward. 

Moreover, our medical center is engaging in direct partnerships with regional companies and corporations. In the past, the healthcare industry was fragmented, with each entity focusing on a small part of the process without communication. Companies typically outsource healthcare services to insurers and operators, which leads to increased costs over time. Healthcare expenses are the second-highest cost for companies in terms of HR after salaries, exceeding 10% of total salary expenditure. As healthcare costs continue to rise, hospitals are stepping outside their "walls" and offering specialized healthcare services to reduce expenses. Our medical center plans to work directly with industries and companies to reduce healthcare costs by investing in preventive medicine. We have already initiated conversations with some of the big industries in the region and are making progress in this direction. 

EF: How is Centro Medico using technology to improve the patient experience and the overall results of the hospital? 

HB: This field is very large and has a huge future ahead, especially now with the greater ease of 5G arriving in our country. At Centro Medico, we are working on using data for more predictive medicine. For example, as a hospital that serves many elderly patients, we have noticed that almost all of them require speech therapy support upon arrival. This complementary specialization is crucial due to the risks of swallowing and aspiration, as well as other comorbidities. However, our small team cannot handle the many patients requiring this service. Determining which patients will benefit the most from a faster and more appropriate in-person evaluation becomes challenging. To address this issue, we use data cross-referencing to be more assertive in determining which patients will benefit the most from a particular intervention. This approach allows us to optimize our team by providing more precise assistance to those who need it most. 

This also applies to assessments carried out in the ICU and evaluations conducted by physical therapists and nurses. Technology allows us to provide patient information from the cloud directly to the doctor’s phone. Any changes in the patient’s severity profile will alert the doctor, allowing them to know exactly how their patient is doing. We are also developing indicators for our Emergency Department, in partnership with a large international pharmaceutical company, that will allow us to identify the severity of the patient and improve the quality of the outcome of the intervention. 

In HR, we use IT to qualify our employees. Our project, called SENIOR HEROS, trains our employees on essential issues for the elderly through indicators from the hospital itself and partnerships with the educational sector. We are currently in the final stage of developing a partnership with an engineering college in Campinas, which teaches computational, mechanical, and electrical engineering. This integration brings engineers into the Hospital and will lead to developing new technologies together. The doctor-engineer partnership can accelerate projects, and create new initiatives, startups, and other promising outcomes. 

In line with this, we have created an Innovation Department in the Hospital this year, as we want to create an environment where our employees can think about innovation. We're giving classes on the matter and bringing in experts to talk to our team. Innovation is not recreating the wheel but making day-to-day life simple. One of our nurses recently developed a new system for quickly locating medication in the emergency carts. He separated the medications by active ingredients and color-coded them. A system that is very simple to visualize and highly increases safety. When he posted it on social media, the picture got over 200,000 views in less than a week. Recently, our nurse gave an interview to a French magazine, while hospitals in Canada, Spain, and Portugal contacted us about this initiative. 

We got our team thinking of solutions, and that is a field we want to promote more and more. 

EF: Celebrating Centro Medico de Campinas’ 50th anniversary, what has been your biggest achievement so far, and what do you still want to achieve in the future? 

HB: Centro Médico de Campinas’ essence is delivering quality medical care, placing safety above everything. Regarding the main indicators characteristic of hospitals, Centro Médico Campinas stands out with excellent results that are well above average compared to ANAHP and other medical centers. Our indicators are robust, and we offer high value for a very affordable price. In the context of Brazil, where financial resources can be limited for many, we understand the need for realistic solutions that meet the needs of the majority of the population. Our hospital prioritizes delivering adequate clinical outcomes at a reasonable cost, and our track record speaks for itself. While we do not claim to be unbeatable, it is very challenging for other hospitals to match our level of affordability without compromising on quality. Having worked with several institutions and companies, I have never seen anything quite like what Centro Médico de Campinas offers. 

As the healthcare industry changes, hospitals will have to learn to take financial risks and prepare themselves accordingly. Hospital management is changing rapidly, and hospital administrators must consider factors such as efficient teams, lower complication rates, shorter hospital stays, and less use of inputs to perform procedures. Centro Médico de Campinas is well prepared for this change in the industry. We have a qualified clinical staff and outcome indicators comparable to the best hospitals in Brazil. There is still room for improvement and expansion, as it's a place under construction. Centro Médico de Campinas has been around for 50 years and is ready to move forward for the next 50. 

EF: Do you have any final words for our readers? 

HB: Currently, the market is experiencing an interesting movement with the emergence of large, vertically integrated groups, which creates a need for other companies, such as ours, to react. Not all companies have the same power and resources as large healthcare corporations. Therefore, Centro Médico de Campinas is pursuing partnerships to level the playing field. By collaborating with complementary companies, we aim to achieve similar strength and size as a vertically integrated company like the large healthcare groups in Brazil. This approach involves launching more focused products with regional operators and insurers, allowing our medical center to compete effectively. This trend is not unique to our region, and it requires win-win partnerships and strategic alliances to succeed against larger and more established players. 

June 2023