I've been studying the healthcare system of the Philippines for about 2 years now. I’ve never been so annoyed with the state of how inefficient things are. If you’ve experienced it first hand going to these places like a normal citizen, you can relate. And, it seems everybody is asking for change and improvement, but nobody is actually changing. It’s frustrating, really.
I’ve talked to a subject matter expert the other day about healthcare systems. And most of the systemic problems are not caused by faulty regulations or stupid policies, they are caused majorly by the inherent politics in every organization. That’s why the system is fragmented and disconnected.
Most solutions are band-aid ones trying to patch some short term fixes here and there — booking /appointment apps, EMRs — hundreds of them in existence (more doctor centric), EHRs — variation of EMRs with a larger scope (and more patient centric), health insurance players having their own proprietary softwares that are obsolete and doesn’t integrate.
On the other hand, doctors do their own thing. They are individual businesses — if you think about it. It’s really complicated in itself how these guys link up to each other.
And to emphasize the Philippine context, we try to pattern all of our standards from the more mature markets (US, Singapore, Canada…). However, unlike our 1st world counterparts where they are better equipped and have better resources, we don’t have much resources to work with. Though, being 3rd world, has its own advantages as well. One of the advantages is that there’s so much opportunity to improve — yet it comes with quite mindset challenge to influence the stakeholders to adapt to innovations.
As a startup founder tackling the systemic challenges of healthcare + insurance, we had to dug deeper in our research and approach. The most obvious ones are EMR systems, HIS, booking appointment apps, telemedicine, patient-pharmacy centric apps, apps that helps you become healthy, so on and so forth. These are all good, however, I believe that it doesn’t really address the perennial problem of it. Disconnection. I think that is the biggest root that’s causing all other problems.
So, how are we solving this? We saw that most doctors hate doing administrative stuff. We saw that health insurance companies spend a lot on administrative work. And, we found the link between the two — claims processing.
Here’s where it gets more interesting. We found out that a lot of doctors have multiple affiliations from different HMOs. It only means one thing — multiple accounts, multiple workflows, and additional administrative burden. This creates a problem because doctors now spend more time doing these stuff than seeing their patients. Or, the doctor hires a secretary to do his job — to file patient records, submit claims, audit receivables etc… All these small inefficiencies that when you sum it up, you’d find a big overall opportunity cost for both doctors and patient (who’s waiting in line).
So how does this affect the health insurance market? It affects it very subtly. Patients and Doctors are the market and channel of these insurers. So if the experience is bad, over time, insurers would lose good doctors (less channel) and lose potential clients (market).
The payment cycle in the PH is 3–6 months. There are a few instances that an HMO are able to reimburse/pay claims in a month yet the majority falls in that long payment cycle.
By the way, there’s also the element of fraud.
Moreover, according to US research, health insurance companies spend 7–20% on administrative cost and 10–30% on fraud off their revenue. And, the quick and obvious mitigation action of these insurance companies is to bulk claims processing, hold the payment out and spread the risk across.
Stash is working to improve the claims process and minimize fraud. Simple. We make it easy for doctors to manage their claims. We make it easy for HMOs to manage those claims as well and help them serve their customers/partners better.
We solve the real cause. It would makes sense for a better healthcare for everybody.
With the various challenges in accessing healthcare services in the Philippines, Globe Business, the information and communications technology (ICT) arm of Globe Telecom, recently held the Healthcare Industry Forum, an event that aims to educate healthcare practitioners through industry insights and showcase how ICT can help advance healthcare delivery in the country.
Over 25 IT officers and executives from various pharmaceuticals, hospitals, clinics, and health maintenance organizations (HMO) such as Johnson and Johnson, United Laboratories, MyHealth Clinics, Novartis, Mundi Pharma, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Cathay Drug Company Inc., Maxicare, Pfizer, Bayer Crop Science, and Asalus/Intellicare attended the forum held at the Globe Telepark Valero Showroom in Makati City.
Globe Senior Advisor for Enterprise and IT-Enabled Services Group Mike Frausing (center) is joined by officials from Globe Business and representatives from its enterprise clientele from the healthcare sector. Globe Senior Advisor for Enterprise and IT-Enabled Services Group Mike Frausing (center) is joined by officials from Globe Business and representatives from its enterprise clientele from the healthcare sector. Globe Senior Advisor for Enterprise and IT-Enabled Services Group Mike Frausing delivered the opening remarks and emphasized the importance of the forum to the healthcare sector. “There’s so much to do with healthcare in the Philippines and Globe Business looks at the long-term perspective of providing solutions that best enable it. We believe that through innovative ICT offerings and sustainable and scalable business models, we can help catalyze the growth of the healthcare sector in the country and ultimately contribute to national development.”
Topics such as Insights and Trends on the Healthcare Industry, which revealed how traditional healthcare has evolved to personalized healthcare and how technology is making healthcare more accessible and available to more people with services such as KonsultaMD; Securing an IT Infrastructure, which showcased the various offerings of Globe Business for the healthcare sector such as Data Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), Back-up as a Service (BaaS), and Managed Security Services; Business Applications to Mobilize the Workforce, which talked about products such as Canvas, Google Apps for Work and Chromebook, Microsoft Office 365, and Managed Payroll that can improve workplace productivity and efficiency, and Being the Brand of Choice for Patients through mobile and digital marketing tools by Adspark, a Globe venture, were discussed to the delight of the attendees.
“Through the forum, we were able to add value to our enterprise customers by informing them of the pressing issues and trends in their industry and how Globe Business can be their business advisor and partner as they expand and achieve global competitiveness through our portfolio of ICT solutions,” adds Frausing.
Globe Business has since led the way in initiating industry-specific forums to showcase its portfolio of ICT solutions that can help speed up the adoption of data-driven solutions across the country’s enterprise segment. In 2014, the enterprise arm of Globe Telecom organized a similar forum for the financial industry.
Telstra-backed start-up accelerator, muru-D, recently showcased its inaugural class of Singapore start-ups at its first demo day with nine high-growth businesses across healthcare, consumer applications, financial services, law, mobile payments and advertising.
The nine technology start-ups each received $S40,000 in seed capital through the program, in addition to six months’ access to muru-D Singapore’s Amoy Street premise as well as introductions to mentors, coaches and Telstra experts.
Since the beginning of the program, most of muru-D Singapore’s first cohort has raised a significant proportion of their seed rounds, with two teams raising in excess of $S300,000 prior to demo night.
Telstra Software Group president and muru-D co-founder, Charlotte Yarkoni, said together with Telstra, muru-D continues to aspire to attract the region’s best digital talent, foster local technology innovation and grow the entrepreneurial ecosystem across Southeast Asia.
“Through muru-D Singapore, we’ve had the opportunity to work with inspiring entrepreneurs with innovative technology and global ambitions.
“Having watched these teams grow and develop their businesses for the past six months, we are thrilled to see the transformation. We’ll continue to provide on-going support as they become part of our thriving alumni of 44 start-ups from around the world,” Yarkoni said.
Yarkoni added that it is focusing on the start-up space as the start-up community in South East Asia is blossoming.
“We strongly believe in enabling digital talent to grow and mature. We are particularly pleased to see the geographic spread of these companies, indicating the region’s emerging leadership as a source of digital innovation,” she added.