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Fast-tracking growth in healthcare outsourcing

(Manila, Philippines, August 6, 2012)—With the Philippines being recognized as the leader in voice business process outsourcing (BPO), the stakes are higher for health information management (HIM) outsourcing, one of the fastest-growing industries globally.

The prospects for the HIM industry in the Philippines remain bright and industry experts are optimistic about its growth. In 2011, the Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines (HIMOAP) saw a 172% growth in the healthcare outsourcing industry. From US$102 million in 2010, the industry’s total revenue increased to US$277 million last year. The full-time workforce also increased from 14,000 in 2010 to 25,000 in 2011.

According to international market research firm MarketsandMarkets, the global healthcare BPO market grows at a compounded annual rate of 21.4%. In the US, a healthcare reform law enacted by the Obama administration requires all citizens to purchase insurance by 2014. This law will expand the market of health insurance, which already counts 256 million insured Americans.

“We see tremendous opportunity for the country to seize leadership in the global healthcare sector,” said HIMOAP president JL Botor.  “The increase in our membership only means that more companies are considering the Philippines as a high-value destination for healthcare outsourcing. We are strengthening our edge as we continue to develop our potential workforce, infrastructure, and regulatory environment.”

HIMOAP, a non-stock, non-profit organization formerly called the Medical Transcription Industry Association of the Philippines, Inc. (MTIAPI), strives to promote healthcare services outsourcing by pioneering programs that will make the country the preferred healthcare outsourcing provider. Its growing number of members provides clinical documentation, IT, and training services to the healthcare sector.

HIM presence in the Philippines

There are more than 150 healthcare outsourcing firms in the country. According to Alejandro Melchor, Information Communications and Technology Office (ICTO) deputy executive director, many of these firms initially provided medical transcription. However, the growing industry landscape has led to extension of services such as clinical coding, disease management, revenue cycle management, and pharmaceutical benefits management.

The large pool of nursing and allied medical professionals provides great potential for the country to be a top location for healthcare BPO. Data from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) show that nursing still generates high enrolment rates despite the lack of demand from hospitals. This trend results to an oversupply of unemployed nurses, estimated by CHED to be at 400,000 early this year. With a background in the medical field, nursing graduates could increase their employability in the HIM industry.

With the IT-BPO industry growing at a rapid rate, more locations outside Metro Manila and Cebu are becoming hubs for outsourcing firms. A study by the Business Processing Outsourcing Association of the Philippines (BPAP) and ICTO identified Davao, Iloilo, Sta. Rosa in Laguna, Bacolod in Negros Occidental, Metro Cavite, Lipa in Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, Malolos in Bulacan, Baguio City, and Dumaguete in Negros Oriental as next wave cities for BPO centers.

The road ahead for the HIM industry

Senate Bill No. 2965 or the Data Privacy Act, already passed by both Senate and Congress and is now awaiting the President’s approval, is seen to bolster the BPO industry as it delivers more reliable services based on the European Parliament standards and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Information Privacy Framework.

ICTO officials also announced that they will work with BPAP and HIMOAP to build a roadmap that will stabilize the future of healthcare outsourcing and other promising sectors. By 2016, HIMOAP projects an additional 100,000 full-time employees and a market share of US$1 billion for the HIM industry, a conservative figure compared to the US$72 billion offshoring opportunity forecast in the US.

In November, HIMOAP will host the 3rd Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Services Congress (HIMOSC), the biggest healthcare outsourcing event that will gather industry leaders, experts, and the business community to exchange insights on the developments, innovations, and opportunities leading to sustainable industry growth.

“We have already achieved much but we will continue to expand and innovate,” said HIMOAP chairman Jeff Williams. “I am very optimistic about the future of this sector and confident that our unparalleled clinical workforce will enable us to become the world leader in the growing healthcare services outsourcing arena.”

About Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines
The Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines (HIMOAP), formerly known as the Medical Transcription Industry Association of the Philippines, Inc. (MTIAPI), is a non-stock, non-profit industry organization recognized by the Philippine government and IT-BPO industry. The association was first registered as MTIAPI with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission in October 16, 2003 and renamed as HIMOAP in August 2010. HIMOAP prides itself in bringing together the Philippines’ most distinguished and active players in the healthcare outsourcing industry towards a common endeavor. The association serves the needs of the HIM service organizations, HIM education and training centers and vendors as it promotes the Philippines as the destination of choice for quality healthcare information management outsourcing services.