In our recently published LATAM Healthcare Monitor, we see that December was a busy month for budgeting season across most Ministries of Health in Latin America. The Omicron COVID-19 variant is already stopping elective activities in several countries, which will ultimately contribute to larger backlogs across markets. Overall, countries have a lot of challenges as they move into the endemic stage of COVID management and attempt to address some of the largest backlogs in the world.

Let’s dive deeper into one of the largest markets in the region: Chile.

Chile’s Healthcare System Returns to Elective Activities

Procedure recovery is in full swing in Chile as pandemic concerns ease, driving record activity across private healthcare chains.

The Chilean methodology to address the backlog is to increase capacity at hospital wings, labs, and clinics, extend nightly hours, and provide care on weekends.

These methods have resulted in an increase of surgical procedures, which were up by 29% in Q3 2021, compared to the same period in 2019 and 68% above 2020 levels.

Despite these positive developments, both private and public systems are facing capacity constraints, particularly due to health personnel shortages and over-burdened medical teams.

High vaccination rates are also a driver for care resumption. In September, Chile reported high vaccination rates and as few as 265 daily COVID cases (a record low), allowing for strong procedure recovery efforts. Now, 86% of the population is fully vaccinated, and 50% has received a booster shot, which will likely sustain this pace of recovery into 2022.

If you’d like to learn more about the healthcare trends we are seeing and how other markets in the region are preparing to face the backlog of elective activities in 2022, you can start a free trial with us.

Number of FONASA delayed procedures by month in Chile

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