Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Healthcare IT in Latin America: A Conversation with Industry Leaders

Interviewed by Federico Baguear, Industry Analyst, Healthcare – Latin America


An analysis of the Latin American Hospital Information System (HIS) market is showing some interesting and promising results. In 2012, the Latin American market reached $550 million and is expected to reach $1100 million in 2018 with a compound annual rate of 14.9%, as the region is now in a growth phase for health IT.

Federico Baguear, industry analyst with Frost & Sullivan, interviewed CSC, everis and NoemaLife as part of the healthcare IT market trends analysis in Latin America.

Guillermo Ramas is industry general manager for Southern Europe & Latin America within the Healthcare division of CSC. Ramas has been part of the management in companies such as Lawson, Agresso Spain, Agfa Healthcare IT and Shared Medical Systems. In 2008, he became iSoft's healthcare director for South Europe and Latin America, a position he still holds in CSC Healthcare after the fusion of the companies in August 2011.

Mario Chao is healthcare partner and global director with everis, based in Mexico D.F. He has more than 20 years of consulting experience and 10 years in healthcare and government.

Cristián Power has been general manager with NoemaLife Chile and Peru since 2011. He has 15 years of experience in IT. After obtaining a MSc in Image Processing at the University of Paris, Power returned to Chile to develop several projects related to RIS, PACS, LIS and EMR.

This Movers & Shakers interview focuses on five points centric to the current situation in Latin America: healthcare IT growth, challenges presented in system adoption, the public sector role, market needs, and strategies each company is applying to access the market.

Frost & Sullivan is honored to feature Ramas, Chao, and Power as part of its Movers & Shakers series, and thanks them for sharing their views and perspectives on the Latin American HC IT market.

Federico Baguear: There is a global trend toward the use of healthcare IT (HC IT) systems to improve healthcare administration and patient treatment. Which trends are you seeing in Latin America? What are the main benefits of HC IT solution adoption?

Guillermo Ramas: There is a big interest in using technology information systems in healthcare in Latin America. Mexico is seen as a reference standard in the region because it represents one of the most advanced countries in terms of specific regulations and regional projects. Other countries like Ecuador, Panama and Honduras are facing ambitious technology projects in which one of the main objectives is to implement electronic medical records (EMR).

The use of information and communication technologies (ICT) systems offers numerous benefits to the healthcare system. Organizations and healthcare delivery institutions increase management effectiveness and efficiency in both financial and clinical areas. This allows healthcare professionals to focus on providing better-quality patient care. EMR enables professionals to have information whenever it is needed, leading to major process control and better diagnosis.

In the long term, these solutions allow optimization of resources by increasing productivity, thereby helping healthcare institutions to be more competitive and provide better services to their patients.

Mario Chao: The informatization of the healthcare sector warrants process efficiency and decision support by providing access to the right information at the right time.

The use of EMR provides an opportunity to improve healthcare, more comprehensive control of population health, better patient safety, reduced waiting times for information, and increased precision of diagnosis. This comes about through multidisciplinary information-sharing at the same time, and ability to precisely control and manage expenses and costs. That is the reason EMR is the cornerstone of healthcare industry transformation. The EMR provides the basic platform that allows building an ecosystem based on registers and events because it records all the transactional health movements.

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