THE healthcare information management services (HIMS) industry is seeking a larger share of the Australian market, having proven during the pandemic of being capable of taking on higher-value work.

Juanloz Botor, Pointwest Innovations Corp. business development manager for healthcare, said the healthcare business process outsourcing (BPO) sector has expanded the scope of services it can now offer.

“From the early start of the industry doing medical transcription, the sector has now evolved into higher work functions such as remote care and patient engagement. These are now available in the Philippines since we have the capability to conduct transactions without compromising the patients’ integrity and data security,” Mr. Botor said.

Vincent Remo, Health Information Management Association of the Philippines (HIMAP) president, said in a recent webinar that the industry’s growth was driven by increased demand for healthcare services during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The Philippines has the capability to (service) the demand with companies that are able to adapt quickly to the changes, a robust IT infrastructure to support HIMS (information technology-business process management) businesses, as well as government and private sector initiatives on upskilling of workers particularly on future trends and opportunities such as the Internet of Things, analytics, and artificial intelligence,” Mr. Remo said.

“One of the reasons for the growth of the industry is the demand for healthcare services triggered by the pandemic. From 2020 to 2022… revenue (increased) 4.8% to 5.3%, exceeding the headcount growth rate of 4.01% to 4.5%, respectively. This indicates that the Philippines is now offering higher value-added services as compared to the previous years,” he added.

Maria Lourdes M. Salcedo, Philippine consul general to Melbourne, said that the Philippines is competing with other countries in IT services.

“For many decades, I have witnessed how Filipino nurses and caregivers have given the Philippines a reputation of delivering high quality healthcare services. In recent times, the country has also contended alongside countries such as India… particularly in voice and business processing,” Ms. Salcedo said.

Medgate Philippines Country Manager Ron Estrella said telemedicine will be sticking around after the pandemic.

“Telemedicine is here to stay and, in the Philippines, where we just don’t have enough doctors, this is where (artificial intelligence) will come in to reduce time spent with patients because the process has been streamlined,” Mr. Estrella said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave