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ESTABLISHING A HOLISTIC HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

Many labor under the impression that a successful and effective healthcare management program within a workplace is premised on ensuring that everyone can avail of medical care as and when needed. In fact many Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) structure their customer care policies around this idea. Mr. Mario Silos, President of Intellicare, one of the country’s leading HMOs, believes though that healthcare management should not be limited to immediate medical assistance when required. A holistic healthcare management approach, he says, demands the concurrence of three facets: prevention, treatment and health management.

In Intellicare, emphasis is given to the implementation of a holistic approach to healthcare management. Under a customer centered approach of client servicing, Intellicare believes that the most efficient way of ensuring that HMO services are properly utilized would be to target not merely healthcare treatment but the prevention of diseases and the proper management thereof. Logic would dictate that if HMO utilization is reduced, the cost of premiums charged will be placed at a minimum thus ensuring savings for the company. This will also ensure that hospital facilities and equipment will be utilized more effectively and efficiently, for the greater good of many. Given this, Silos reveals that his company places great emphasis on working with human resource departments of their clients to find out what their usual health concerns are and what factors unfavorably affect utilization. Thereafter, they work together to come up and implement programs to prevent the onset of maladies, to reduce the sources of stress, and to target common problems and complaints of the workers – which may lead to more serious applications.

Silos says that, “Healthcare is not just treatment.” He cites statistical studies that show that certain areas have a child hospitalization rate of 20 to 25 percent and that in one area this rose to 50 percent. The reason for this is not the spread of a communicable disease or the onset of a catastrophic plague but rather the common effects brought about by poverty in blighted places. Poverty is shown to have greatly contributed to the cost of healthcare throughout the country. Statistics show for example that the illnesses these children need assistance for are those which are preventable. Had proper programs been in place in their communities there would have been less cases of hospitalization and use of health facilities, equipment and spending on medication and disposables. This would then lead to a less taxed healthcare system resulting in the proper management of costs.

Given this, the first step to an effective and holistic healthcare management system therefore is the implementation of measures to prevent the onset of illnesses. Intellicare and their clients identify usual health concerns of the workers given their specific activities. Call center people, for example have been shown to suffer greatly from headaches and migraines, brought about, no doubt by their unusual working hours. Drivers and personnel out in the field develop respiratory problems, due perhaps to pollution and the inhalation of carbon monoxide. High pressure jobs like, lawyering, lead to a myriad of health concerns all connected with stress. Intellicare recognizes these and thus introduce to their corporate clients talks and programs on the prevention of these infirmities. The more successful they are in preventing sickness, the healthier the workers become, thus relieving the company of high HMO premium costs. As the old adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”

In spite of preventive measures, though, people still get sick. Intellicare takes pride in its nationwide network of healthcare facilities and professionals who are prepared to meet their clients’ every medical concern. With regional offices in Cebu, Bacolod, Davao, and satellite offices scattered all over the country, Intellicare ensures that they are present where their service providers (hospitals, clinics and doctors) are. Further, in place in Intellicare accredited medical facilities scattered all over the country are well-trained patient relations officers ready to guide clients through their hospitalization and care. Not only that, with Intellicare’s 24 hour 7 days a week hotline, clients are assured that their inquiries and concerns will be addressed swiftly. Intellicare makes it its mission to provide more than the usual standard of treatment provided by other HMOs.

The third leg on which Intellicare’s holistic approach to healthcare management stands is healthcare management. It is but natural that as people grow older, their medical concerns accumulate. Issues of high-blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, ulcers, stress related illnesses and others become real concerns that have to be addressed. We all have to deal with the fact that the human machine also breaks down as time passes. Recognizing this, Intellicare, works together with their client companies to educate workers on management of these conditions and more. Intellicare then sponsor talks, symposia, and educational sessions to instruct workers on the management of their health concerns. After all, basic knowledge of health management can spell the difference between a happy, more carefree life and a debilitating life-threatening condition.

Mr. Silos holds the opinion that adopting this holistic approach to healthcare management reduces the incidence of worker absence, under-performance, HMO utilization and cost, illnesses and even death. Workers can then concentrate on performing their respective tasks within their Companies, leading to more efficiency and progress. In the end, their clients companies end up being more productive while their workers are healthier and happier. What better combination in the road towards growth.

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