Global trends demonstrate positive growth opportunities in the Healthcare Information Management Services (HIMS) sector, fueled by the implementation of the US’ Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the imminent transition from ICD9 to ICD10. The Philippines is gearing up for more outsourced services that offer better job opportunities to Filipino medical and nursing graduates which will redound to the benefit of the country’s economy.

The HIMS industry is one of the most promising and fastest growing industries in the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector. In 2013 alone, the Philippines’ HIM industry has seen a growth in revenue, already earning close to the projected 2016 revenue of US$1B. In terms of employment, the HIM sector’s workforce count rose from 44,849 in 2012 to 65,895 last year.

The HIM services now include medical transcription, medical coding, medical billing and claims processing, help desk/scheduling/appointment setting, discharge management, medical records analytics, clinical abstraction, accounting, utilization review, pharmacy benefits management, and document management, to name a few.

Government Efforts to Address the Demand

Meantime, on the part of the Philippine Government, the Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICT Office) works closely with the industry through the Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines (HIMOAP) to step up the value chain insofar as the HIMS industry is concerned. Undersecretary Louis Napoleon C. Casambre, DOST-ICT Office Executive Director, has said, “We have seen the country’s HIMS industry undergo a transformation. This is why the nature of programs has also evolved over time. At the end of the day, we believe we need to carry out strategic programs so that this industry can contribute towards the Aquino Administration’s inclusive growth agenda for the country.” In fact, to solidify their partnership, the DOST-ICT Office and HIMOAP signed a Memorandum of Understanding dated April 5, 2013 to continuously support the industry through implementing programs on research, talent development, domestic and international marketing and branding, and industry building to achieve national development goals of generating employment and investments in said industry.  The demand for providing world-class HIMS services has grown, and still continues to grow. This is why the Philippines has to take advantage of these opportunities and cement its global leadership position in the HIMS industry.

The public-private partnership that bore out of the need to further grow the HIMS industry is the principle behind the Medical Coding and Billing (MCB) Training and Certification Project. This provided the means for Filipino medical professionals to be certified according to globally recognized industry standards. As the industry continues to expand in terms of size and breadth in terms of scope, the industry needs to help ensure that there is a steady stream of human resources to support an upward trajectory of growth. The collaboration of the DOST-ICT Office and HIMOAP produced a Memorandum of Agreement on the implementation of the MCB Project.

Scholarship Program for Medical Coders

“It is our mandate to improve the capabilities of the companies to meet the demand of the industry,” HIMOAP Executive Director Jeanette Santos-Carrillo explained. “The need to increase the availability of medical coders is growing exponentially, and the medical coding project had been in the pipeline even before 2012.” HIMOAP felt the need to produce a robust list of programs to improve the skills of the Philippines’ existing talent. “In the HIM industry, continuous learning is a requirement,” Santos-Carrillo added.

HIMOAP selected TeleDevelopment (TDS), an established BPO training provider, to hold a five-day medical coding review and certification for qualified medical professionals. The DOST-ICT OFFICE granted scholarship to thirty experienced medical coders who will be able to participate in the five-day boot camp. The review concluded on April 11, following a two-part screening process on anatomy and medical terms and medical coding to determine the thirty qualified medical coders.

“We are pleased to have seen scholars coming from various parts of the country,” expressed Undersecretary Casambre, “and this is where programs can have an impact to areas outside Metro Manila, or in what we call the Next Wave Cities™.” The scholarship recipients came from Center for Technical Excellence Integrated School, Inc., American Academy of Medical Transcription, Cognizant, Digital Communication and Technological College, MModal Philippines, MTC Academy by Nanoscript Inc., Optimum Trans School, Inc., Servicio Filipino, Inc., St. John Regis Healthcare Institute Inc., Total Transcription Solutions, Inc., United Health Group and VisayaKPO.

TDS ‘ Medical Coding Programs

In response to the growing industry demand for highly-skilled medical workforce, TDS offers a suite of publicly-offered medical coding courses for healthcare graduates, career shifters and experienced medical coders.

TDS Chief Operating Officer Judy Whisenhunt explains, “The fast growing state of the Health Information Management (HIM) industry has enabled us to build the capabilities of the talent pool in the Philippines according to the globally recognized medical coding standards. TDS aims to help Filipinos meet the standards that are being required in the industry, to develop the skills of the Filipino workforce, equip them to be highly competitive and enhance their value in the market.  The expansive growth of the HIM will continue to contribute to bolster the nation’s economy and give employment to the numerous medical field graduates in the country.”

TDS’ medical coding courses include basic and advanced physician-based medical coder training, ICD-10-CM coding training and CPC® exam review. Programs for clinical services such as case management and clinical review are currently being finalized. Public courses on anatomy and medical terms for those without a medical background will also be available soon.

– The Information and Communications Technology Office of the Department of Science and Technology is the Philippine Government’s lead agency on ICT related matters. Its primary thrusts are in the ICT Industry Development, eGovernment, ICT policy development, Internet for all and Cybersecurity.

Photo With Caption
medical_coding2TDS COO Judy Whisenhunt (seated, left), DOST-ICTO Director Patricia Abejo and HIMOAP President Josefina Lauchangco (seated, right) together with the ICTO scholars for the medical coding review.

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