DTI-6 eyes W. Visayas as HIMS capital of the world by 2028

Vincent Remo, president of the Health Information Management Association of the Philippines (HIMAP), discusses the Healthcare Information Management Service (HIMS) opportunities in the country during the Online Slingshot Region 6 (OSR6) of the Department of Trade and Industry-Western Visayas (DTI-6) on September 7, 2023. (Rjay Zuriaga Castor photo)

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The Department of Trade and Industry-Western Visayas (DTI-6) has set an ambitious goal of positioning the region as the Healthcare Information Management Service (HIMS) Capital of the World by 2028.

“Region 6, with its abundance of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) offering medical and health-related courses, proudly stands as a wellspring of exceptional talent in the field of HIMS,” said Ermelinda P. Pollentes, DTI-6 officer-in-charge director.

There are around 18 health-related courses being offered by the HEIs in the region.

Data from the Iloilo Federation for Information Technology also indicated that there are 22 HIMS locators in the region that offer healthcare services with an estimated 10,700 full-time employees.

“[This] holds great significance in the landscape of our region and the nation. It highlights the remarkable strides we have made in the HIMS sector, a vital component of the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) industry,” Pollentes added.

HIMS is the fastest-growing segment in the IT-BPM industry. It involves obtaining, examining, and utilizing both digital and traditional medical information to deliver high-quality patient healthcare.

Pollentes stressed that in order to realize this by 2028, DTI-6 will prioritize investing in human capital, especially in back-office services.

“This is not just one job for one team lang or one organization but it should be a collaboration of all partners, be it from the different government agencies, the local government units, our partners in the private sector, and also the academe because the academe plays a big role in developing talents,” she added.

HIMS will customize revenue cycle operations, ensure reliable clinical trials and drug safety monitoring services, enable customer-centric and automated clinical support services, and converge healthcare with innovative solutions.

By 2028, DTI-6 envisions that there will be 30 HIMS multinational corporations in operation in the region and that it will have an independent and privately-led industry association.

It also expects that the industry’s employment will be around 25, 000 full-time employees and its revenue is expected to be around P28.88 billion.

Health Information Management Association of the Philippines president Vincent Remo said that it would be a challenge for the Western Visayas to produce a lot of healthcare professionals considering the shortage of nurses due to migration.

“If we are to become the HIMS capital of the world our best bet would be on the people and also balance it with the infrastructures,” he said.

Trade Assistant Secretary Glenn Peñaranda said that although Western Visayas has a competitive advantage in terms of its employees’ skills, there is a need to further strengthen this advantage.

“While we already have the competitive proposition in terms of the skills, we need to ensure that we have more, we have enough, that we have a robust pipeline, and importantly that the talent resources are with the right skills,” he said.

Peñaranda said that this can be materialized with the training and programs to be implemented with the industry partners to ensure that the capabilities and capacities meet the evolving demands of clients and markets.

He also encouraged the region to actively participate in the Philippine Skills Framework (PSF) initiative.

The PSF involves the development of sector-specific and cross-sectoral skills frameworks, which serve as a roadmap for workers in the country to improve their skills for specific job positions.

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