Pedro Montero – Bupa Chile
The realization of the need for data protection has come late to Chile. Its 1999 law on the subject doesn’t even include the word “internet.”
But the healthcare provider with 35 clinics and the laboratory that processes the most medical tests for Chileans has never waited for the rest of this South American country to catch up with the latest doings of the wired world. For the past five-plus years, Pedro Montero has ensured that Bupa Chile stays abreast with the global curve on data privacy.
“We are a healthcare company that stores highly sensitive and valuable data for our patients,” he tells Vanguard from the capital city of Santiago in November. “We must be a reference on data protection in the healthcare industry in Chile. It is my goal.”
The data protection rules and regulations in Chile are incipient, he explains. They lack teeth, but he anticipates that upcoming laws will represent a paradigm shift impacting most companies, particularly healthcare companies.
At any rate, Bupa Chile is already working to align with whatever regulations may ensue, Montero says. A member of the legal staff since 2018, he’s long emphasized that Bupa Chile, as one of the largest private providers, sets the industry standard. He’s taken on additional responsibilities since his April promotion, further strengthening his employer on multiple fronts, including legal matters.
Bupa Chile being a British multinational, Montero says its international standards are based on local legislation and the European General Data Protection Regulation that in 2018 set down stringent data protection standards for companies operating in the European Union. Technology already outpacing aspects of that law, Montero is updating new processes and overseeing training and regulatory review that will have the company prepared for whatever the Chilean lawmakers put in place.
Wearing several hats
It’s an impressive letterhead that tops Montero’s correspondence. In addition to his role as data privacy officer, he remains the health providers’ legal manager for Bupa Chile’s privilege to operate its in- and outpatient clinics. While this is a private company, it needs approval from the health authority to perform surgeries, exams or other procedures. Montero’s also the manager of the sanitary authorization provider segment, has facilities to visit, audits to process and compliance to ascertain.
Standardization of medical processes and protocols being key to efficiency, his contributions include implementing the appropriate technological tools. The same approach extends to contracting.
So includes the responsibilities of an in-house counsel at a healthcare provider, and he stresses the necessity for private clinics in Chile. While the country has a dual healthcare system that allows citizens to opt for public or private coverage, nearly 77 percent choose the former, for which Montero cites shortcomings.
The public system delivers free medical, dental, nursing and midwifery services at local clinics owned and operated by the state, but Montero says patients might wait months before seeing a specialist, and some nonessential surgeries may take years to arrange Bupa Chile accepts patients of all economic means and, according to him, through its nationwide network, it’s often the best and most practical option for people from the public system.
Montero says he’s proud to have a role in healthcare, though it wasn’t on his mind when he was studying law and fashioning his early career as a business-minded lawyer.
“I never thought about healthcare until I started working here,” he says. “But I’m glad to be here because our clinics have a huge impact on healthcare in Chile; we can give the people access to great quality health services and, in some cases, low prices.”
Montero coming from an extended family with lawyers going back five generations, he knew early that he’d carry on the tradition, though as a precocious boy, he didn’t envision himself in a courtroom. Business also interested him, and he figured he’d combine the two disciplines by augmenting his Finis Terrae University law degree with an MBA from Pontificia Catholic University of Chile. More recently, he added a diploma from Catholic University in healthcare law to his credentials.
Like most young lawyers, Montero honed his skills in private law, then joined Bupa Chile in 2018 after a couple of years of supporting the Chilean division of the multinational packaged goods company Unilever through the Santiago firm of CMS Carey & Allende. Two years later, Bupa Chile entrusted him with creating the legal management for its IntegraMedica division of outpatient healthcare centers with one of the biggest clinical laboratories in Chile. He also was responsible for data protection, implementing technology risk assessments and improving flows.
“Bupa has a very powerful social purpose as a company with no shareholders, Bupa reinvests all the profit in the business to give people access to first-class quality health,” he says. “We are a benchmark, and quality is our objective.”
Montero says The company faces challenges, as are all private operators in Chilean healthcare, with legal compliance and data protection high on the list. He’s got a firm grasp on that, aided by three other lawyers, an engineer and a health professional. Chile playing catch-up on so many technological and healthcare matters, he stresses the importance of the legal department and how he relishes how his role doesn’t box him in.
“At a law firm, your partners are lawyers, and you don’t have a whole view of a project,” he says. “Here, you must resolve HR problems, financial matters, operations, supply chains. You have a whole circle of the company that you can influence. That’s why I decided to go to a company.”
All the better, he says, that’s in healthcare, where his duties transcend more than a bottom line. Of course, that too is important, even for a company that reinvests its earnings, but Montero says his also gauges his effectiveness by whether more Chileans have access to doctors.
Home life also satisfies, Montero crediting his “wonderful wife” with balancing a demanding job as a teacher with raising their two small children. Chile’s a most agreeable place to live, he says, noting its climate and diverse opportunities for recreation. He stays fit by golfing, running and playing tennis, or the sports you can do all your life.
View this feature in the Vanguard Winter II 2024 Edition here.
Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vanguard” badge that links directly to your article!
Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing