OPPORTUNITIES for unemployed nursing and other medical graduates in the Philippines are increasing as the healthcare information management (HIM) outsourcing industry in the country continues to thrive.
Healthcare Information Management Outsourcing Association of the Philippines chairman Jeff Williams said the high demand for medical graduates in the HIM industry is due to the recent healthcare reform in the United States, known as the Obamacare or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which requires a wider coverage and quality health services.
With about 200,000 unemployed nursing graduates, Williams said, the Philippines should take advantage of the thriving industry.
He said positions available in the healthcare outsourcing industry include medical transcriptionist and medical coders.
He said these jobs are “well-paid,” offering above minimum wages.
At present, there are around 45,000 full-time employees working in the HIM industry in the Philippines, said Williams.
He said revenues from HIM in 2012 was recorded at $460 million. He expects demand to increase.
He said US companies prefer to work with Filipinos in the HIM industry because they consider Filipinos “highly educated, medical-oriented yet under-utilized.”
He also said the Philippines’ young population is also a plus factor compared to US with an aging workforce in the medical field.
At present, the average age of registered nurses in the US is 47 years old. About 25 percent of nurses in the US are above 54 years old.
Good work ethics is also an asset of the Filipino medical practitioners, said Williams.
He said that in his 10 years in the HIM outsourcing business in the Philippines, he did not receive any negative feedback from clients.
Global Quest chief operating officer Marietta Siazon-Reyes said there are a number of healthcare outsourcing companies in Cebu today.
She said Cebu-based medical course graduates can take advantage of these opportunities.
She said they can start working as medical transcriptionists who will transcribe audio files recorded by a physician or a healthcare practitioner. They can also become medical coders who will keep track of the patients’ medical records.
Although these positions are also open to non-medical graduates, Reyes said, employers prefer those who are medical graduates since they are more familiar with terms and concepts.
Jerome Romea, president and chief executive officer of US-based healthcare consulting and billing company Saint Joseph Medical Managers, said Filipino medical graduates need not go overseas to land good-paying jobs.
“I think the growing industry of healthcare outsourcing in the Philippines is helping our Filipino nursing graduates,” said Romea, a Filipino based in the US.
Romea also addressed the possibility of running out of Filipino healthcare information workers with the decreasing number of students getting a nursing degree today.
He said he is positive that the locales will fill the demand when they see that the HIM industry is really thriving.
Romea also pointed out that medical graduates are not aware of the opportunities waiting for them in the HIM industy.
He hopes that the government and the academe will educate medical students about the opportunities waiting for them after they graduate.