The U.S. healthcare sector is expected to grow its revenue to $343 billion in three years. In order to provide safe and quality care, and at the same time reduce costs, outsourcing some processes has somewhat become a lifeline for hospitals, health clinics, and medical insurance providers.
Around 90% of hospitals in the U.S. is outsourcing at least one type of service. From medical data entry to medical transcription, many offshore teams are now relied upon for financial management, big data, clinical research software development, IT support, and customer service.
"Outsourcing is something we should think about, especially when it fuels efficiency and expands access to healthcare, but we need to be intelligent about it so as not to put patient safety at risk," said Jonathan Clarke, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Administration at Penn State University.
Meanwhile, the Philippines is one of the countries where the BPO industry is growing at a phenomenal rate. The Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) anticipates that 1.8 million people will be needed in the sector by 2022.
Here are four reasons why you should consider the Philippines for your medical outsourcing needs.
1. There are plenty of graduates of healthcare-related courses.
In the Philippines, working abroad is an escape from poverty. That's why many students take medical-related courses in college. Medical professionals are sought-after in developed countries.
For instance, 200,000 Filipino nurses are left jobless in 2016 because applying for foreign hospitals is not that easy or cheap (several tests or expensive bridging courses have to be taken). Instead of working in local hospitals, which is stressful and low-paying, many of these graduates choose to work at call centers as medical transcriptionists, medical coders, and even virtual assistants to physicians.
Because of currency arbitrage, outsourcing firms pay much higher wages compared to companies in retail, manufacturing, and service industries. And, many of these healthcare professionals have realized they no longer need to leave their families to give them a comfortable life.
In a month, a contractual nurse in the Philippines only earns P10,000 to P16,000, but a certified medical coder can earn up to P40,000 while nurses with credentials can earn up to P100,000.
Safety is of utmost importance in the medical field, and many healthcare outsourcing functions have to be done by humans -- and only by the skilled and qualified ones. Isn’t it a relief knowing your agents have health care degrees and the necessary experience that goes with it on top of their call center training?
2. Filipinos speak English well.
Filipinos have the most neutral accent in the world. With an educational system patterned after the traditional American model, even street vendors can understand and communicate in basic English. In 2017, the country ranked third in Asia and 15th worldwide in English proficiency (60.59).
Western outsourcing companies have no problem communicating with Filipinos. The language barrier is not a concern, and that is why the Philippines is dubbed as the "call center capital of the world."
3. The literacy rate is high.
The Philippines has a 95% higher education literacy rate and produces 450,000 graduates every year. There’s a pool of accountants, engineers, IT specialists, nurses, and other skilled workers. There’s no shortage of talent and skills. It’s just a matter of getting the right people together.
4. The government strongly supports the industry.
Now serving as the backbone of the Philippine economy together with the revenues from the OFWs, the BPO industry is a tremendous boost in elevating the lives of Filipinos to a higher socioeconomic stratum. As a result, the government is in close partnership with the IT-BPO sector. Last 2016, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) agreed on a game plan that targets to grow the total worth of the IT-BPO sector to $250 billion by 2022.
A staggering 80 percent of medical bills are erroneous and some $125 million loss is incurred because of poor billing practices. Just in this aspect, healthcare organizations will greatly benefit from an outsourced and well-trained staff that can focus on specific tasks. Quality outputs and reduced costs are the outcomes, but best of all, critical mistakes will be reduced and avoided.