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Octubre de 2020 Página 1 de 3

Christus Muguerza's strategy to have 100% digital hospitals

Alejandra Leguizamón, Editor of El Hospital.

Investing in digital infrastructure and hospital connectivity technologies is the new goal of several hospitals in Latin America.

The journey to digital transformation into health began more than 15 years ago in Mexico, when a national strategy was proposed to create an official standard (NOM) to incorporate the digitization of health services into public and private institutions. This plan sought to integrate standards of interoperability, portability, and convergence of information in health, considering the protocols of various clinical guides. In parallel, an avalanche of health care providers emerges with products to strengthen topics such as the Electronic Clinical Record (ECE),  Big Data Management, Telemedicine and Telehealth.

However, the acquisition of these tools occurred differently in public and private hospitals. Some started buying very sophisticated systems, and others chose only to have software for ECE. With the passage of three presidential administrations, this national strategy has had various paces of implementation and to this day, the country remains awaiting official regulations for digital health.

In favor of advancing this goal of digital transformation in health with robust infrastructure, the Christus Muguerza Health System began in Mexico three years ago, the CONECTA Salud (CONNECT Health) project to turn all its hospitals into 100% digital institutions. In dialogue with El Hospital, Jesus David Díaz Garaygordóbil, Corporate Director of Information Technologies (IT) of this organization, spoke about the comprehensive strategy they have implemented to carry out this project and the key factors to consider to invest in such digital initiatives.

Launch of CONECTA Salud

The CONECTA Salud (CONNECT Health) project was born in August 2017 with a view to completely renew the Health Information System (HIS), strengthen medical-administrative work, and deliver a better safety experience to patients.

"Today we live in a digital world and the rationale behind this whole initiative is to achieve a transformation towards digitization by the hand of information technologies that exist for health services," says Ing. Diaz. "We did a painstaking job of finding the best options to renew HIS - with better CRM - to integrate an electronic clinical record longitudinally, and to manage the internal process and revenue cycle to modernize hospital management," he emphasizes.

The joint work between the Medical Director and the IT Director of the hospital system was key to project planning. "The knowledge and experience of both areas allowed us to design the entire strategy to select the best tools, business partners and internal leaders with which we would undertake this journey," says the manager.


Aproximately $30 million was the estimated initial investment to develop the CONNECT Health project.

This trip looked at an initial investment of around USD 30 million, to carry out the project in nine of the 12 hospitals they have in the country. After two years of preparation,  CONECTA Salud premiered in May 2019 at Saltillo headquarters, becoming the first 100% digital private hospital in Mexico.

The implementation of this project was thought of in the long term and in a multi-year way, in such a way that, every year, some hospital of the organization will be presented with the '100% digital' distinction. The next launch was scheduled for 2020 at the Christus Muguerza Sur, one of the five hospitals they have in Monterrey. "Due to the contingency of the pandemic we should have paused the process at this headquarters, but we already have all the physical and connection inputs needed to move forward as soon as feasible," says the Director of IT.

Choice of leaders and new tools

Aware of the magnitude of investment, infrastructure adequacy and training required by a digital initiative like this, the project's headleads first sought external advice to help them identify various supplier options and evaluate the best tools on the market. To do this, they reached out to Deloitte consultants. "They also helped you document the whole process of delivering to the board of directors a transparent and economically viable proposal," says Ing. Diaz.

Second, they identified those internal allies - better known as the organization's champions - who, by their performance, have the right characteristics to take the company to the next level. Thus, they chose a group of 70 people who would be in charge of three essential tasks: providing knowledge from the various specialties, implementing the program in each hospital, and finally training future generations in the operation of the entire system. "Some would go into certain moments of planning according to the medical specialty module we were designing," Diaz explains. From the initial selection, a fixed group of 20 leaders was established, who would be devoted entirely to all phases of the project, successfully and without distractions.

"We already had RIS PAC for radiology, laboratory and administrative processes and it was important to integrate those pieces with new ones to make sure everything worked in the new ecosystem; for that, it was key to have the fixed group of leaders," emphasizes the IT Director.


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