HIMS TWG Meeting with DTI VI personnel led by OIC-RD Ermelinda Pollentes, OIC-ARD Rachel Nufable, DTI Negros Occidental OIC-PD Lynna Joy Cardinal, TESDA Region VI RD Florencio F. Sunico, Jr., IFIT Chairman Mr. Jessraf Palmares, Judilyn F. Cañete, CEO of MedStar Philippines IT-BPM focals of DTI Region VI and personnel from DTI-Iloilo, and DTI-Negros Occidental on September 25, 2023 in Iloilo City

ILOILO CITY – In a strategic move towards positioning Western Visayas as the worldwide center for Healthcare Information Management Services (HIMS), a meeting was convened on September 25, 2023 led by the Department of Trade and Industry Region VI (DTI VI). The meeting brought together HIMS Technical Working Group members composed of DTI VI personnel led by OIC-RD Ermelinda Pollentes, OIC-ARD Rachel Nufable, key stakeholders, including representatives from the Iloilo Federation for IT (IFIT), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and distinguished HIMS providers.

The primary objective of this meeting was to discuss how Western Visayas can rise to the occasion and make a mark as the HIMS capital of the world. The ambitious target is to have at least 30 HIMS multinational corporations operating in the region by 2028, leading to a surge in employment opportunities, particularly in high-value services such as medical/clinical coding and software development.

The HIMS sector in the Philippines has witnessed remarkable growth, establishing itself as one of the fastest-growing segments within the Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) industry. The region’s unique selling proposition (USP) lies in its multitude of medical and health-related schools, quality graduates, skilled healthcare professionals, and a wealth of potential talent. However, to meet the growing industry demands, there is an urgent need for training and development to enhance the region’s talent pool.

During the meeting, Florencio F. Sunico, Jr., the Regional Director of TESDA, presented an overview of TESDA’s training programs aimed at nurturing HIMS talent. These programs play a crucial role in closing the skills gap within the HIMS sector.

Judilyn F. Cañete, CEO of MedStar Philippines, a prominent player in the HIMS sector, shared valuable insights into the health profession both locally and internationally. She shed light on MedStar’s plans to collaborate with TESDA and its commitment to delivering training programs that are meticulously aligned with the dynamic needs and demands of the industry. Ms. Cañete emphasized the distinction between medical billing and medical coding, stressing that the latter necessitates graduates with health-related qualifications who can adhere to international standards, particularly those prevalent in the United States.

MedStar committed to developing Training Regulations (TR)-based programs, seen as a sustainable approach to talent development. They will focus on crafting a TR-based program for a specific health subject, separate from billing. Medstar has also taken the initiative to enroll its trainers for TESDA’s Training Methodology (TM) certification, a crucial step towards maintaining program quality.

There was a proposal to establish an Industry Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Board for IT at the regional level, which would play a key role in aligning TVET programs with the evolving needs of the industry.

DTI VI, on the other hand, will check on tax rules governing training providers offering TVET programs and will provide feedback to MedStar.

By December 2023, MedStar has set a target to secure TESDA’s program registration, demonstrating its commitment to providing top-notch HIMS training.

As the HIMS sector continues to flourish in the Philippines, this meeting highlights the collective determination of Western Visayas to not only meet the industry’s demands but to spearhead the future of healthcare information management services. Through this collaborative effort, stakeholders in Region VI are advancing significantly toward realizing their vision of making the region the global epicenter for HIMS. ♦

Date of release: 26 September 2023