According to the January 2013 report of international business advisor and research firm Everest Group, the healthcare BPO is a “hidden jewel” of the Philippines, having grown fourfold over the past two years. The Philippines healthcare BPO’s revenues increased from $102 million in 2010 to $460 million by the end of 2012, making it one of the fastest-growing sectors in the IT-BPM industry of the country. And it’s not slowing down anytime soon — the report also cited that by the end of 2016, the Healthcare Information Management (HIM) sector targets to achieve $1 billion in revenues and employment opportunities to 100,000 Filipinos.
The 4th Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Services Congress (HIMOSC) last November 12, titled "Intensity 10: Propelling Healthcare Information Management to Exponential Growth", provided a venue for key industry players, providers and the larger business community to address issues and trends in healthcare outsourcing towards exponential industry growth. One of which is the impact of healthcare reforms on the healthcare industry, that was discussed in the session “Harnessing Opportunities in Healthcare Policies."
Addressing Challenges in Healthcare Reforms
Healthcare regulations and laws such as ObamaCare, Medicare Modernization Act, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the recently-signed Philippine Universal Healthcare law, are opening up great opportunities for the continued growth of HIM industry in the Philippines. But how will the industry deal with the challenges that arise from it?
According to Jeffrey De Jesus, Infinit-O’s VP for HIM and Client Solutions Group and a panelist for the healthcare policies discussion, the projected 100,000 employment opportunities and $1 billion revenue by 2016 are doable, “as long as we have proper information, formation, transformation, and education. The Philippines has to become an ideal place for HIM. We have to help people understand that there’s a job opportunity here.”
De Jesus was joined by Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Hon. Teodoro Herbosa and HCCA Health Connections Vice President for PH Operations Michael Burbach in the panel. The discussion included queries about several regulations and laws related to the global healthcare industry, specifically ObamaCare. De Jesus states, “It opens a new horizon of opportunities. There are US companies that are looking for services that don’t yet exist.”
For proper information, the industry must have all the details to provide the best possible solution. DOH’s Undersecretary Herbosa says, “Understand what the government is doing for healthcare so you can offer the right solution”.
For proper transformation, De Jesus cites a challenge of, “making the Philippines as the ideal place for HIM”. In an article citing Dr. Josefina Lauchengco, president of the Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines, she said that “The Philippines’ competitive advantage in the growing Healthcare BPO sector is built on the availability of talent pool, strong cultural affinity with the United States, and medical know-how that leads to good customer interaction skills and efficient delivery of niche services.”
Raise Awareness of Alternative Career Opportunities
De Jesus also adds that there’s a need to “help healthcare/medical people to understand that there’s a job opportunity here in the Philippines.” Since 2001, the Philippines has produced over 1,000,000 nursing graduates, yet a lot of them are forced to take a different path because of the lack of job openings in their chosen degree. There is a need to raise awareness among unemployed Filipino in the healthcare industry that there are alternative career opportunities provided by the HIM sector.
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