Bridging industries, building horizons the Philcare way

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Technology has rapidly changed the way consumers shop beyond the limits of time and space. Omni-channel retailing has developed with the rise of the internet, mobile technology and e-payments. Such technology advancements will continue to enhance the business of retail by helping them to create a more interactive, social and holistic customer experience. In the Philippines, perhaps there’s none quite other than PhilCare that exemplifies this shift towards omnichannel technology. They are officially the first healthcare provider in the Philippines to adopt NFC technologies, implementing NFC-capable membership card via a strategic partnership with Samsung,  designed to instantly connect healthcare providers and services to Filipinos. In 2013, they launched their E-commerce website concurrently with the GO! mobile app, becoming the first HMO provider to offer online purchases for its healthcare packages. We took a opportunity to speak with CEO and President, Ms. Noemi Azura on her insights for omnichannel integration.


Philcare CEO & President, Noemi Azura

Q: Hi Noemi, thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Could you share something about yourself with our readers?

A: My pleasure ,my background is banking, with specialization in sales, audit and business transformation. I worked in the banking industry for 24 years and joined the health insurance industry just 3 years ago.  There are 3 important best practices I learned that can be replicated in any industry: First, customer focus;  second,  business relationships built on trust and transparency; third, the use of technology as a business enabler.  These 3 elements combined, will deliver long-term and sustainable positive results.

I am married with two kids, I have a 21 year old daughter and an 18 year old son. My husband is a lawyer and a fantastic cook, and we have been married for 22 years.   I like listening to music, (my family and I are subscribers of Apple Music),  and I practice yoga at home.

Q:Who is your personal hero and why?

Facebook Co-Founder, Mark Zuckerberg

My personal hero is Mark Zuckerberg, the genius behind Facebook, given FB’s impact on society and its impact on business.  Facebook is an innovation in Connectivity that allows the peoples of the world to connect instantaneously and share their life events through text, photos and videos.  At the same time,  FB is becoming an important channel of diverse businesses. FB adopts a  “living business model” that continues to evolve to leverage its 1 billion users.  It has transformed from a social media platform to an advertising engine, and in the near future probably, it will evolve to a full blown e-commerce platform.  I am excited about the company’s  10 year plan,  as FB plans to play in the AI  (Artificial Intelligence),  VR (Virtual Reality)   & AR (Augmented Reality) space.  There may be potential applications to healthcare, such as stress management.

Q: Can you give us a quick introduction to the work that Philcare does?

PhilCare is one of the largest Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) in the Philippines that offers health insurance plans to corporate clients through employer sponsored programs, as well as to families and individuals, through retail programs. Our revenue as of  2015  is close to USD49M, with a membership base of  more than 280,000.  Our clients include multinationals, large local corporations, small and medium sized companies, families and individuals.  PhilCare’s has more than 1,300 partner hospitals and clinics and 28,000 affiliated doctors nationwide.

PhilCare’s value proposition includes holistic approach to wellness through PhilCare360 and technology enabled customer experience. PhilCare360 consists of programs promoting healthy lifestyle and disease management.  PhilCare’s services are delivered through a  combination of people and digital   People channels include our team of Liaison Officers in key hospitals assisting members for admission or confinement,  our Quick Assist desks in major hospitals,  our  24 x 7 Contact Center manned by nurses and supported by a state of the art technology platform,  the finally, PhilCare owned clinics and worksite clinics supported by a competent medical team.  Our intense focus on the customer inspired us to pioneer innovation and transform customer experience through digital channels.   Our digital and social channels include PhilCare’s GoMobile,  NFC enabled approval system,  interactive portals,  E-Commerce and Facebook.  Digital channels promote Convenience and Speed of service delivery to our members.

Q: Why is E-Commerce and Payments integration vital for the competitiveness and vibrancy of the healthcare industry?:

Philcare’s GO! App with Samsung NFC integration

The private health insurance market in the Philippines is an underserved segment. Currently, HMOs or private health insurance cover only approximately 5 million principal and dependent members in a population of 100 million. The health plans are largely through employer-sponsored programs.  Philhealth, the government health insurer, reported in its  2015 Stats and Charts report,  that there are 40 million principal and 53 million dependent members or a total of 93 million, being covered by Philhealth.   Private health plans are intended to supplement the government’s health insurance.   There exists a gap for private health insurance in this market.

The Philippines’ internet penetration, social media and mobile engagement are growing rapidly. With this development, E-Commerce becomes an important platform  for PhilCare to carry out its mission of making available, affordable health plans to every Filipino.  E-Commerce and payments integration supports “search” and “shop” activities by providing product information,  product reviews and convenient payment options.

Keynote Speaker for Cards & Payments Philippines 2016, Noemi Azura

Q: What advice would you give to a traditionalist organisation looking to integrate their business models with E-commerce and payments?

I would strongly encourage the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises which collectively represent more than 99% of business establishments in the Philippines, to integrate E-commerce in their business models. There is  government support for this initiative. The government, through the Department of Trade and Industry, launched the Philippines E-Commerce
Roadmap 2016-2020.  This roadmap highlights the important role of  MSMEs and E-commerce in economic development and recognizes the challenges that the government must address to maximize the benefits of E-Commerce. E-commerce will enable domestic industries to integrate into global value chains and directly access the global markets.

Q: Could you give our readers a quick teaser on what you will be speaking at the show?

I will be speaking about the role that E-Commerce played in PhilCare’s business model in terms of expanding healthcare access and services in the Philippines. I will also share best practices in overcoming transformation and cross platform challenges on E-Commerce and E –Payments.

With that, we are pleased to announce that Noemi will indeed be part of  our keynote plenary at Cards & Payments Philippines 2016, coming to you live 6th to 7th September 2016 in Manila at the SMX Convention Center. For an exclusive opportunity to join this exclusive thought leadership experience, find out more how you can attend Cards & Payments Philippines by clicking here

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