Philcare officials led by Jaeger L. Tanco, president, introduce their new app during Thursday’s press briefing at the City Sports Club.

TECHNOLOGY is now also changing how health maintenance organizations (HMOs) provide services to their clients and members in the country.

Imagine getting real-time consultations with a certified doctor through phone or securing a letter of authority (LOA) through a mobile application.

These are just some of the technological advancements that have been integrated by PhilCare in their operations through their mobile application HeyPhil.

“We call it ‘smarter healthcare.’ PhilCare subscribes to the idea that HMOs must bank on the latest available solutions out there not just to improve the way we serve our clients but perhaps, more importantly, to make healthcare more accessible to a larger segment of Filipinos,” said Jaeger Tanco, president and chief executive officer of PhilCare.

PhilCare is one of the country’s biggest HMOs. For the Visayas and Mindanao area, they have the strongest network with over 8,000 doctors and 179 hospitals and clinics.

Nationwide, they have a total of 350,000 members.

“We value our clients a lot and to value our clients what we want to give them in return is quality service,” said Tanco. “We really believe that technology is also the future,” he added.

Although the mobile app was already available two years ago, it was only two weeks ago when HeyPhil was relaunched on its 26th version with the added feature of digital consultation.

James Indino Jr., vice president of PhilCare’s information technology group, said they currently have 30 doctors in the HeyPhil app that are available for instant consultations from 6 a.m. to 12 midnight.

The mobile application has already recorded more than 52,000 downloads and has around 10,000 active users.

Indino said they will continue to get more doctors to be available in the application.

“What we’re attempting to perfect is it’s like an Uber or Grab experience wherein the driver, or in our case the doctor, is allowed to take a consultation call from any of our members; whether he’s at the comfort of his office, in his bedroom, or in his sala as long as there’s wifi or data,” he said.

Aside from consultations through call, members can also get a prescription from their doctors through the mobile app which also records all transactions and consultations for quality control.

In case of big companies like those in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, the mobile app will also allow the doctor to forward medical records of employees to their human resource officer.

Those who use the digital consultation feature can also send pictures of themselves or their body parts that have problems so that their doctor can better assess their condition.

As to the possibility that this feature can be abused by users, Indino assured that doctors in the app are professionals that will vet the complaints they get. He said doctors have a protocol in questioning that will help them detect malicious intent on the part of the patient.

Other features of the mobile app is the digital LOA wherein members don’t have to line up in hospitals to get the form and fill it out. Through the app, they can get the document hours before, and when they go to the hospital or clinic, they can immediately go to their assigned doctor.

PhilCare also uses artificial intelligence wherein users can just say their requests and it is automatically processed by the app. They can also ask for the nearest available doctor or the nearest accredited hospital or clinic through the app.

Tanco said they hope to use these kinds of technologies to be able to tap to the remaining 96 percent of the Philippine population who have no access to healthcare services provided by HMOs. / CNU Intern Nikki Villagorda

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