Bacolod wants to create 5,000 jobs in healthcare BPO by 2022

Various academe, government, and industry leaders have pledged their commitment to support the goal of Bacolod and Negros Occidental in creating at least 5,000 jobs in the healthcare information management (HIM) sector by 2022.

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In 2014, the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Federation for Information and Communications Technology (BNEFIT) set the goal to achieve at least 60,000 jobs in the ICT industry by 2022, including HIM jobs.

The 1st Bacolod Healthcare Information Management (HIM) Conference held last Aug. 17 to 18 at SMX Convention Center in Bacolod gathered local stakeholders to scale up the potential of the countryside in attracting HIM jobs, opportunities and investments, and bring everyone on the same page in the area of HIM education and training.

The first day saw more than 300 students while the second day gathered leaders and executives from colleges, universities and training institutions as well as medical and healthcare and IT companies. National and local government executives, real estate developers, and other private sector stakeholders were also present.

Negros Occidental governor Alfredo Maraňon, Jr. said in his speech that the province is “at the threshold of a new beginning to expand and conquer another industry – the healthcare information management.”

“Our joint target with BNEFIT for Bacolod and Negros Occidental is to successfully expand to three areas — software development, creative industries like game development and animation and in healthcare information management,” Maraňon said.

BNEFIT executive director Jocelle Batapa-Sigue said they are targeting to create 5,000 jobs for the HIM sector which covers the whole spectrum of health services that require voice, non-voice, data analytics and information management such as medical coding and billing, and medical transcription, among others.

Healthcare Information Management of the Philippines (HIMAP) director Raymond Ang said the healthcare BPO market is projected to reach $276.79 billion by 2021 from $170.47 billion in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 10.2% during the forecast period from 2016 to 2021.

In the Philippines, as of 2016, there are 118,000 workers in HIM and the projected annual growth rate is 10 percent, with the industry forecasting 210,000 jobs by 2022, Ang said in his presentation.

Judilyn Caňete, president of MedStar Philippines Healthcare Information Management, a New York-based company which recently expanded to Bacolod, encouraged HIM conference delegates to focus on training and certifying the local workforce for medical coding and billing.

She said her company is open to partnerships with schools on how to create scholarship for trainees in coding and billing.

Visaya KPO president Butch Valenzuela (center, with microphone) speaking during the 1st Bacolod Healthcare Information Management (HIM) Conference

Visaya KPO president Butch Valenzuela (center, with microphone) speaking during the 1st Bacolod Healthcare Information Management (HIM) Conference

After his Manila site, Visaya KPO president Butch Valenzuela is eyeing Bacolod as an expansion site for health-related voice BPO jobs. Valenzuela said the local stakeholders must develop its talent supply to address the requirements of the HIM industry.

For his part, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim commended BNEFIT and the local stakeholders for anticipating and preparing for the growth of the HIM industry.

He stressed that there is a need to change the local mindset especially in the minds of young people about how the BPO industry is moving towards high-skilled jobs.

The two-day event was organized by BNEFIT to explore potential synergies in creating innovative platforms for delivering global HIM services, discover the magic of HIM education to create jobs and investments for countryside development and create a conducive ecosystem for HIM jobs and investments.

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