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PH firms highlight IT-BPM capability and growing opportunities in Healthcare IT services, seek to intensify market share In Australia

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Philippine firms representing the Healthcare Information Management (HIM) Sector highlighted the Philippines’ IT-BPM capability and growing opportunities in Healthcare IT services during a webinar on March 31. 

“For many decades, I have witnessed how Filipino nurses and caregivers have given the Philippines a reputation of delivering high quality healthcare services,” Maria Lourdes Salcedo, Philippine Consul General to Melbourne said during the opening remarks of the webinar entitled: Philippines: Asia’s Hub for Healthcare IT and BPM Services.” “In recent times, the country has also contended alongside countries such as India in computing and IT services, particularly in voice and business processing.’’

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Despite the pandemic, the IT-BPM industry remains a key pillar of the Philippine economy. The total revenues increased by 1.5% and headcount expanded by 1.32 million in 2020, according to the Health Information Management Association of the Philippines (HIMAP), the country’s HIM industry association. 

The Philippine HIM industry is one of the biggest and fastest growing offshore location for healthcare payer outsourcing. The industry is composed of a large pool of medical professionals, including US-licensed nurses with growing capabilities in high-value services such as clinical research, analytics, and life sciences which completes the patient’s journey from the provision of care to prevention and population management of diseases.

Vincent Remo, HIMAP incumbent president and Executive at a Japanese Software R&D firm, Advanced World Solutions, said growth in the Philippine Healthcare IT is promising with revenue growth of between 4.8% to 5.3% from 2020 to 2022 exceeding the headcount growth of 4.0% to 4.5% respectively. This indicates that the Philippines is now offering higher value-added services compared to the previous years.

Pointwest Innovations Corporation, a Filipino-owned digital IT and BPM services company with over 700 BPM professionals servicing markets in the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and other ASEAN countries also has the capability to service the Healthcare IT industry.

“We are big in pharmacy benefit management, revenue cycle management, clinical management, and more recently, we have started with clinical trial support and pharmacovigilance,” Juanloz “JL” Botor, business development manager for Healthcare at Pointwest Innovations Corporation said. 

In the same way, James Donovan, co-founder and global CEO of ADEC Innovations, stated that the company grew to become a 100% multinational company during its last fifteen (15) years of operation in the Philippines. Apart from high quality nurses, the Philippines provided capabilities that allowed them to handle millions of Australian medical records through ADEC Preview, the company’s subsidiary in Australia.

“The pandemic has accelerated the digitalization and outsourcing of healthcare services around the world. ADEC has been part of the journey from the digitalization of paper files into medical record systems; from the traditional patient care delivery to the current platform which now uses many different technologies to the next phase where we are going to integrate patient care with digital transformation such as Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), where home health care is going to be a seamless extension of a hospital experience,” Donovan said. 

Meanwhile, a pioneer in the Philippine telemedicine industry is Medgate Philippines with over 1.5 million members primarily through partnerships with the top medical insurers in the country.

“Medgate has a tried and tested proprietary telemedical ecosystem with the patient management system at its core that integrates the e-medical record system, video conferencing, telephony, e-prescriptions and laboratories,” according to Medgate Philippines’ Country Manager Ron Estrella. “This technology, along with telemedical guidelines, highly trained medical doctors on telemedicine methodology and protocol, as well as the integration of AI in our processes are part of how we deliver a safe and failure-proof service.”

“One of the reasons for the growth of the industry is the demand for healthcare services triggered by the pandemic. The Philippines has the capability to supply the demand with companies that are able to adapt quickly to the changes, a robust IT infrastructure to support HIMS IT-BPM businesses, as well as government and private sector initiatives on upskilling of workers particularly on future trends and opportunities such as IoT, analytics, and AI,” Remo said. 

“From the early start of the industry doing medical transcriptions, the sector has now evolved into higher work functions such as remote care and patient engagement. These are now available in the Philippines because we now have the technology that allows those transactions to be done without comprising the integrity and data security of the patients,” added Botor. 

In the case of Medgate, prior to the pandemic, telemedicine was uncommon in the country, but the company is now estimated to handle 1,500 consultations every day.

“The future of telemedicine is here to stay and, in the Philippines, where we just don’t have enough doctors, this is where AI will come in place to reduce time spent with patients because the process has been streamlined with AI,” Estrella added. 

Donovan, for his part, stated that the industry is seeing more and more opportunities for Philippine capability in the US and he would like to share that with Australia where these capabilities are just starting to pick up.

Over the years, the Philippines has consistently delivered services across many sectors of the value chain, and large corporations have already made their way to the country. We are now looking for the next line of potential users of Philippine capability, Donovan explained. 

In line with this, the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Sydney (PTIC-Sydney) is organizing a series of online business-to-business (B2B) meetings between Australian outsourcers and Philippine HIM suppliers. For interested parties, please email PTIC-Sydney at sydney@dti.gov.ph.

The event was organized by the Australia Philippines Business Council Victoria Chapter in partnership with the Healthcare Information Management Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center – Sydney (PTIC-Sydney) to promote the country’s capabilities in Healthcare IT and BPM services and foster a deeper trade and investment relations between Australia and the Philippines.

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