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Prospects bright for PHL healthcare BPO

The Philippines continues to be a top business process outsourcing (BPO) destination through expansion of various sectors, including healthcare information management outsourcing (HIMO). “The country is responding to the global demand for more innovative healthcare information management services,” said JL Botor, president of the Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines (HIMOAP).

In the United States, healthcare reforms such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HCERA) and allied reforms such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) are transforming the business climate for healthcare and insurance providers.

“These reforms are projected to add at least 30 million members to the US healthcare insured population,” said HIMOAP chairman Jeff Williams. “Combine that with the technological changes including the mandatory implementation of electronic health records and changes to existing medical coding standards, the US healthcare providers will need to modify the way they operate to maintain acceptable profitability.”

The conversion from ICD-9 (International Classification of Diseases) to ICD-10 coding system will also grow the healthcare outsourcing sector. ICD is a medical coding system followed by most countries for healthcare record keeping. In the US, ICD-10 implementation on October 2014 is expected to raise the number of medical codes that need processing.

Growth opportunities
The government has placed IT-BPO outsourcing among its top priority growth sectors. President Aquino’s signing of Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act is seen to boost the industry’s prospects. “Secured maintenance of health records is a cornerstone of proficient servicing in our industry. The Act elevates the country’s image as a highly-qualified healthcare outsourcing provider,” said Botor.

The recent signing of another bill into law, RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act, will further protect the industry from theft and fraud and help sustain a healthy business relationship with global clients.

“HIMO is a rather new industry,” said Trankripsyo chief executive officer Michael Chua. “The government should continue to assist the industry in terms of manpower development and creating awareness in major markets such as the US, Europe, Australia and Asia that the country has this capability.”

The country also needs to cultivate a quality pool of HIM professionals. However, course offerings remain limited and expensive, Chua said. Partnerships with educational institutions like the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) can create a domestic demand and bring education closer to the potential talent.

These opportunities and issues will be discussed in the 3rd Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Services Congress (HIMOSC) hosted by HIMOAP on November 6 at the InterContinental Hotel, Makati City. Active industry players will be in attendance to tackle how healthcare outsourcing in the Philippines can be taken to new heights.

To register for HIMOSC, visit www.himoap.com/himosc.

About the 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.