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Sabiamed to expand to Venezuela and Chile; revenue could increase 25%

Federal mandate requires hospitals to ‘go digital’


March 31, 2005
Copyright © 2005 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Locally owned technology company Sabiamed is flourishing. Having helped many hospitals and clinics in Puerto Rico and parts of Latin America, the company is now expanding its presence in Venezuela and Chile, and forging partnerships in more Latin American countries.

The federal government’s Health Information Technology plan (HIT) is calling on the health industry to go from paper-based to electronic records in one decade, and the benefits this will bring are many. In his State of the Union Address early last year, President George W. Bush said that "by computerizing health records we can avoid dangerous medical mistakes, reduce costs, and improve care." This has certainly boosted Sabiamed’s business.

Although the mandate only applies to the U.S. and territories, other countries are noticing how digitalization can reduce costs and increase efficiency, giving Sabiamed the opportunity to expand.

"We are about to open offices in Venezuela and Chile, and this could help our company’s revenue increase by 25%," said President & CEO Gerardo Martínez, explaining that Sabiamed is already in conversations with various hospitals in these countries. He also said the company is eyeing Colombia.

Martínez added that Sabiamed helps hospitals track patient activity from the moment they set foot in the hospital until the final bill is issued. This reduces paperwork and errors in billing, treatments, and prescriptions, which translates into lower operational costs and quicker service for patients.

"In Latin America we are the only company offering software in Spanish," said Chairman Francisco Recio. Sabiamed has a presence in Mexico, Uruguay, and Nicaragua, and has just signed a contract with a hospital in Panama.

"We have just acquired Panama’s brand new Punta Pacífica hospital as a client," said Martínez. "Once the hospital opens, it will be equipped with our state-of-the-art technology."

Martínez explained that Nicaragua’s Metropolitan Hospital is using Sabiamed’s technology and that its staff is very pleased with the outcome. "This hospital has alliances with stateside hospitals and when some of the U.S. executives visit, they are amazed." Our technology has helped the hospital’s quality of service surpass that given in other Nicaraguan hospitals."

Local clients are also happy. For instance, at a recent conference on health technology, San Jorge Children’s Hospital and Hospital de la Concepción both said Sabiamed had helped them reduce billing time by more than 50% or about five days.

Besides these two hospitals, Sabiamed is also working with the local Health Department to install its technology in 34 Diagnostic & Treatment Centers (CDT by its Spanish acronym), and 13 private hospitals. "We have about 20 CDTs connected already and plan to have all 34 in about six months," Martínez said.

The biggest challenge local hospitals are facing is that medical staff–physicians particularly–are showing some resistance to technology. During the conference, many hospital administrators said that many of their physicians don’t even know how to turn on a computer.

"Many physicians feel they are doing clerk work when they have to enter patient data to a computer," Jaime Maestre, administrator of Hospital de la Concepción, said. "We need to make them feel that what they are doing is beneficial to patients."

Sabiamed was incorporated in Caguas, Puerto Rico in March 1997. The company also has offices in Washington D.C., Miami, Mexico, and Uruguay.

Sabiamed owns the rights to the ClinNext System. ClinNext increases the efficiency of clinical and administrative processes through the application of advanced technology. Sabiamed has become a leader in the development and the implementation of the most advanced technology in the medical industry today.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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