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EF: What should the focus be on in 2022?

MG: There will be a shift where living with Covid will be the new normal. Most of the world has been vaccinated; therefore, Covid is no longer a life and death matter. However, some countries are still waiting for vaccines to be delivered, especially countries in Africa and Latin America. As more people are vaccinated, several more people want to go back to work and business. More people trust science and rely on innovation, which has helped the world move forward.  

EF: What was the role of PreVita during the pandemic?

MG: PreVita was a good ally to both the private and public healthcare sectors. A new branch was formed that provides technological services. Salud Digna was looking for a company that offers new technology and telemedicine, and we showed up. We specialize in telemedicine and project that telemedicine will become more mainstream by 2029. However, the pandemic changed this projection. People adapted to telemedicine overnight, and telemedicine is fast becoming mainstream medicine.

For providing great solutions during the pandemic, PreVita became the largest virtual hospital in Mexico, with more than 8,000 patients. At some point, we had to serve 800 patients simultaneously. That meant we had to install 800 oxygen concentrators in 800 homes simultaneously. In January last year, we had to install 30 to 50 new patients per day. There were high volumes of patients who needed care, to the point of hospitals exceeding capacity.  
This was not our first rodeo; we had dealt with the flu pandemic before. That is how we knew that covid would become a pandemic. We knew there would be a diagnosis crisis and that telemedicine would help. We did not see the number of casualties it would cause or its virality. We did not think we would be needed as much during the pandemic. It changed everything for us. It was a great opportunity to show how telemedicine and hybrid medicine can work.  

EF: What are the key challenges you had to navigate, and what lessons did you learn?

MG: The three main challenges we faced were people, logistics, and technology. Before the pandemic, we were a team of 600 collaborators, so we had the human resources to manage any nationwide crisis.  
Several of the doctors working with us knew the PreVita model. Though we have approximately 300 retail clinics around Mexico, we have a central hub where everyone must work with an electronic record and follow Previta protocols. We work with many doctors and healthcare professionals, so it is paramount that they all know the Previta way of delivering healthcare. We have a great team that is passionate about providing healthcare.  

The first time we prevented unnecessary hospitalization was in 2018. We did a pilot program with the IMSS (The Mexican Institute of Social Security) to avoid the hospitalization of heart failure patients by using digital devices. The devices picked up the patient’s vitals which were used to predict whether the patient would suffer from heart failure. Our collaborators know how to work in telemedicine because they have been with us for some time.  

The second challenge we had was coordinating patients' services at home. We could deal with non-acute chronic conditions. If someone needed insulin, we had 15 days to deliver it, or if they needed a doctor, we did not have to schedule it immediately. The challenge was in balancing the time, budget, and expectations. We had to revolutionize our delivery times to patients. Learning to speed up our logistics was great for us. It helped our niche, and we grew as a company.  

The third challenge was adapting to new technology even though we have been developing our own. We have been adding a lot of different features to our developments. We had to create new tools to face the high demand we received for PCR and antigen tests. We had to create a webpage that provided local training. We had to be innovative and research what would make the webpage stand out. Our IT team worked rapidly and had the webpage running within 15 days. Our usual customers were companies and hospitals. We had not worked directly with consumers before. There is always a need and a way to cater to and overcome deficiencies in all crises.  

EF: What is your advice for the increase in patients getting back to care?

MG: Health is a lifestyle. The pandemic showed that anyone with a pre-existing condition like high blood pressure, diabetes, or other health risks had a greater chance of getting covid. Covid taught us that you do not have to feel sick to see a doctor. Healthcare goes beyond the hospital. Watching how you eat, exercise, and drink enough water daily is healthy.  

EF: What is the role of healthcare in developing the economy and society in Mexico from your perspective?

MG: If you do not have health, you have nothing. If the population is not healthy, the economy will not work. During the pandemic, Medtronic contracted our telemedicine services for their employees because they had to keep producing and servicing respiratory devices throughout the pandemic. They managed to keep their factories and offices running with 13,000 employees by using telemedicine services. The benefits were for the employees and their family members.  

Many companies are beginning to shift their focus toward the health of their employees. The IMSS is collaborating with other telemedicine service providers and us to be able to look after the health of their employees. Keeping employees healthy will be the key factor in starting up the economy.  

EF: What was PreVita's mission, and how was your experience being a representative leader in the health sector in Mexico?

MG: I was invited by the ministry of foreign affairs to represent entrepreneur healthcare innovation in Mexico. We showed what Mexico could be for investors. There were about six different business people that represented different sectors. There were heads of banks, people from manufacturing, people from infrastructure sectors, and others from various industrial parks.  

Mexico is one of the countries with the most market treaties. We have treaties with Latin America, Asia, and Europe. Mexico is a very attractive place, and it attracts investments. With the current world situation, Mexico could step up and become the hub for the region. The former economic secretary gave us a perspective of our economy. He informed us that Mexico could be the place for many European companies to put their Headquarters because the European economy is taking a toll; therefore, they could take advantage of the US economic recovery.  

We also met with the minister of artificial intelligence, which was amazing for me. AI will evolve in telemedicine. AI is another tool we can use to prevent outbreaks. TB is still a huge problem in the world and Mexico as well. We told investors to invest in AI tools that would help them fight against TB. We would implement these tools in our communities and publish them to help fight against TB globally.  

EF: How do you see PreVita evolving in the future?

MG: The pandemic was a turning point for everyone. Informatics and communication technology companies like Google and Microsoft are tapping into healthcare. There are different laws for different countries, so investors have to know how to navigate the health system of each government. There are huge public finance systems and providers in Mexico, but many private infrastructures must abide by the land law. Peru and Columbia have a mixed public finance system and private providers.  
People think they can provide a good solution for every community; to do so, they need to adapt to the reality of that community. PreVita can help global enterprises deploy into Mexico easily. We can become a great partner for the global enterprises that want to go into Mexico.

EF: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

MG: The adaption of new technology has been a breakthrough through the pandemic. The pandemic showed us that we did not know how to handle it. Globally we thought pandemics were things of the past. We need to learn to manage crises in the long term. We must learn to be prepared by trusting science and technology and working together. The world needs to strap away politics and other issues that stop us from collaborating to help us prepare for future crises.

April 2022