You’ve been with BrightCare Assist for over seven years. What have been your biggest challenges and successes in that time?
Over the past seven years, several challenges have emerged in the field of medical transport assistance and travel facilitation, and our company, BrightCare Assist Philippines, was not spared. These challenges have affected our business, our patients and the healthcare industry at large – particularly our common goal to provide timely and safe transportation for patients in need of medical care.
Among these, and perhaps the most significant one, was the global health crisis brought by Covid-19. The need for specialised measures, and the resources that go along with them, tested the resilience of our business and were challenged even more by the changing health regulations across the globe. During that time, more than ever, handling billing and reimbursement had never been so complex and time-consuming.
Apart from this, maintaining and upgrading medical transport resources and staying up-to-date with technological advancements are constant challenges. Additionally, the global climate changes that have been apparent in adverse weather conditions significantly impacted the feasibility and safety of our operations.
The combination of a skilled healthcare workforce and cost-efficiency makes the Philippines a favourable location for local and international medical transport and assistance businesses
Despite this, there have been notable successes and positive outcomes in our company. Over time, we have developed and strengthened partnerships to adopt cutting-edge technology and implement innovative solutions for our service. This led to efficiency, improved patient care, and a competitive edge in the patient and client experience. We were fast to pivot, and successfully addressed safety concerns by implementing rigorous safety protocols that have built up our reputation as a trusted and reliable medical transport provider. It was also an opportunity to diversify our portfolio to offer complementary and supplementary healthcare services such as telemedicine, mobile health, medical concierge and other on-demand healthcare services.
Addressing the challenges and gaining successes from them did not only benefit our company’s bottom line and reputation, but more importantly positively impacted the welfare of our employees, especially during their most challenging times.
What does your day-to-day role involve?
My day as an Assistant General Manager for BrightCare can be dynamic and multifaceted, involving a combination of administrative tasks, team coordination, client interactions, and problem solving. My day usually involves the following tasks: supervision of employees to ensure the company is represented well; implementation and calibration as needed of workflow procedures based on management direction; coordination of meetings with clients and providers within and outside the Philippines; provision of support to clients in every touchpoint; delegation of tasks to employees to keep our business running efficiently; human capital management from acquisition, engagement, and retention of our employees; development of business and constant pursuit of business opportunities; personal and corporate career development programmes; management of the overall operations of the company.
BrightCare Assist is based in the Philippines. Tell us why the location is so important and advantageous.
Our country, the Philippines, has several advantages as a location for both local and international medical transport and assistance businesses. Primarily, we have a large pool of well-educated and highly skilled healthcare professionals, including nurses, paramedics, and medical practitioners, who are some of the most important capital and resource in this type of business. The country provides a readily available and qualified workforce for our operations, especially in medical transport and assistance. This is highlighted even more by our linguistic advantages, with English as a widely spoken and understood language in the Philippines.
Having benefit administration and concierge services in-house enables direct control over care coordination
Furthermore, the cost of labour and operating expenses in the Philippines is generally lower compared to many countries, especially in western regions where most of our competition is. This allows our company to provide high-quality services at very competitive prices, making us highly considerable for international clients seeking cost-effective solutions. The country is also strategically located in Southeast Asia, right in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, making it accessible with smoother coordination for international medical transport, offering convenience for connecting flights to other parts of the world.
Overall, the combination of a skilled healthcare workforce and cost-efficiency makes the Philippines a favourable location for both local and international medical transport and assistance businesses. These advantages contribute to the country’s potential to become a hub for high-quality medical transport services.
How did the pandemic change how BrightCare Assist works?
The Covid-19 pandemic hastened a paradigm shift in our business. We showcased remarkable agility in swiftly adapting to the constantly changing socio-economic landscape. We swiftly implemented adaptable protocols, transitioned our administrative tasks and operations to remote and digital work, and integrated telemedicine solutions. This adaptability allowed us to navigate the evolving health and safety guidelines with precision.
Moreover, BrightCare demonstrated resilience in the face of numerous challenges while prioritising the safety and well-being of our staff. Financial adaptability was also key, with BrightCare seeking aid and exploring new revenue streams to weather the financial impact. In response to the pandemic’s demands, we developed complementary services, such as telehealth solutions. This diversification of services underscored our commitment to meeting emerging healthcare needs. Despite all these unprecedented challenges, we remained steadfast in our dedication to ensuring patients received the care they required, exemplifying extraordinary resilience and adaptability in a time of crisis.
Tailoring solutions for specific patient populations or medical conditions demonstrates a deep understanding of unique patient needs
The crisis also prompted the need to increase collaboration among healthcare authorities and communities, fostering a spirit of unity and shared purpose. Through these positive changes, BrightCare has emerged stronger, more innovative, and better prepared to navigate future challenges.
What are the major challenges now facing assistance companies?
Our industry faces a series of significant challenges. One key concern is the trend towards vertical integration within the healthcare system, where larger health systems opt to incorporate transport services internally. This limits opportunities for independent medical transport companies like BrightCare. Additionally, dealing with insurance companies and their often intricate and inflexible claims processes can be very complex. Navigating these processes is crucial for maintaining steady revenue streams and cash flow. The rising costs due to inflation, including expenses related to fuel, equipment, and labour, exert pressure on our operating margins.
Our industry has now become highly competitive. While this is good, it also becomes an inherent challenge as established players and new entrants alike vie for contracts and clients, necessitating a strong focus on differentiating services and exceptional quality services. Meanwhile, the shifting market trends, influenced by evolving patient preferences, technological advancements, and changes in healthcare delivery models, alter the demand for various types of services. These challenges are further compounded by the inherent risks that exist only in our business – patient safety poses potential liabilities.
What new technology does BrightCare Assist use, and are there new innovations that you will look to use in the future?
BrightCare Assist Philippines is using the HealthAssist patient case management system. The company takes pride in our ability to quickly respond to the needs of our clients and commits to going beyond the call of duty to deliver efficient services on top of our healthcare administration through third-party administrator and administrative services. We have developed an ecosystem that provides other services including, but not exclusive to, medical transportation, telemedicine, and medical concierge.
Seven years from now (2030) BrightCare will be the leading centre of excellence in healthcare administration with the aim to function effectively and efficiently to meet our stakeholders' expectations by providing holistic, quality and safe care to all insured members with the best possible experience.
What do you think sets BrightCare Assist apart from other companies?
What sets us apart from other providers is how we have developed a comprehensive healthcare service ecosystem, comprising benefit administration, medical concierge services, and transportation and logistics services that support our key business. This integrated approach creates a seamless patient experience, allowing streamlined access to benefits, coordinated medical appointments, and specialised transportation. It positions BrightCare as a holistic solutions provider, simplifying processes for clients. Moreover, having benefit administration and concierge services in-house enables direct control over care coordination, ensuring accurate information dissemination for smoother transitions and improved patient outcomes.
What sets us apart from other providers is how we have developed a comprehensive healthcare service ecosystem
Furthermore, our integrated ecosystem enables efficient resource allocation. Information from benefit administration informs decisions about transportation needs, optimising resource usage and ensuring patients receive appropriate care. The seamless flow of information between different components of the healthcare system ensures all stakeholders are well informed and able to respond promptly to changes or emergencies. Tailoring solutions for specific patient populations or medical conditions demonstrates a deep understanding of unique patient needs.
Lastly, this adaptability ensures the company remains relevant and competitive in the dynamic healthcare industry, allowing for swift adjustments to industry trends and patient demands