A New Health Care Model for Mexico

Dr. Gallardo-Rincon.jpgToday's guest blog comes from Dr. Héctor Gallardo-Rincon, director of operational solutions at the Carlos Slim Health Institute. Before joining the institute, he was the coordinator for knowledge management in public health at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. 800x600

Mexico’s health challenges have evolved quite a bit in my lifetime. About 35 years ago, diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea took a heavy toll, and people were lucky to see 50. Today, thanks to rising standards of living, urbanization and better health care, people are living well into their 70s. But those gains have brought a new set of challenges. We have become more vulnerable to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes and hypertension. More than 10 million Mexican adults are now living with diabetes, and NCDs together account for nearly 80 percent of deaths nationwide.To address these challenges, Mexico needs a new model of primary health care – one that deploys cost-effective, modern technologies to expand and improve the access to care. This is precisely what we are working to achieve through the Lilly NCD Partnership.  

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Two years ago, Instituto Carlos Slim de la Salud worked with Lilly to conduct a rigorous baseline assessment of diabetes care capabilities at 10 clinics in the Mexico City region. Along with provider practices, we surveyed patient access to digital technologies both within and beyond the clinic. We found that while fewer than one in 10 people owned a computer, 60 percent owned a mobile phone and more than half of them were actively texting.

We then designed and piloted an innovative new model to expand digital and mobile capabilities and strengthen all aspects of care by:

  • Facilitating drug supply chain management to avoid stock-outs.
  • Capturing dynamic new data on provider engagement and patient experience.
  • Engaging and empowering individuals to proactively monitor their health.
  • Educating people on the importance of making healthier lifestyle choices.

Now, 18 months later, we are once again surveying these 10 clinics to understand how these efforts are shaping patient outcomes and experience. We are already seeing very positive initial results. But the data will be independently evaluated, and we will continue to refine our program based on the evidence – because learning is at the core of our work, and learning never stops.

Based on the model of diabetes care we have developed through the Lilly NCD Partnership, Mexico’s Federal Minister of Health has asked Instituto Carlos Slim de la Salud to help develop the new National Strategy Against Diabetes and Obesity, which will be soon piloted in 20 of our 32 states. What began as small step is quickly becoming a quantum leap for Mexico’s health care system. Through rigorous, evidence-based programs – that use modern technologies to address modern problems – I’m confident that we can quickly transform the quality of care in our country.