Healthcare is the new sunrise industry

The healthcare sector is emerging as the new sunrise industry, just like the business process outsourcing companies when they began to redefine information technology during the early part of the new millennium.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp. was the first company to believe in the bottom line potential of the healthcare sector when it began acquiring hospitals in Metro Manila and the rest of the country. The conglomerate’s hospital group is actively on the lookout for more investments in the healthcare sector after getting GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund through its private equity arm, as a strategic partner for the hospital business.

MPIC unit Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc. is acquiring as many as 15 more hospitals to achieve its goal of hitting 5,000 beds. The company last year said it would invest in 10 to 15 hospitals to add around 2,000 more beds and expand existing medical facilities by another 700 to 800 beds to increase its presence in the sector across the country. 

MPIC’s hospital portfolio include the 110-bed Western Mindanao Medical Center in Zamboanga City, Makati Medical Center, Asian Hospital & Medical Center, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, De Los Santos Medical Center, Davao Doctors Hospital, Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod and Central Luzon Doctors Hospital in Tarlac.

It also plans to venture into mall-based diagnostic and tele-health centers through a joint venture with a leading Australian tele-health service provider.

Another conglomerate, Ayala Corp., has also seen the growth potential of the healthcare sector. QualiMed Hospital, a network of healthcare facilities owned and operated by Ayala Land Inc. and Mercado General Hospital, is on an expansion binge. After launching the 105-bed Qualimed Hospital in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan province, the company was looking at Davao, Cebu, Cavite, Balintawak and Arca South as potential sites for hospital expansion in line with the target to own 10 hospitals by 2020.

The group plans to build a 200-room to 300-room QualiMed Hospital in Balintawak, its base hospital in the northern part of Metro Manila, and another 200-room to 300-room Qualimed Hospital in Arca South, which would be the group’s base hospital in the south of Metro Manila.

Philab innovates

2017 may turn into an auspicious year for the country’s healthcare sector. Already, a few from the private sector are emerging as vital cogs in helping deliver more modern, efficient and affordable healthcare methods technologies to the Filipinos.

Among those at the private sector forefront of bringing modern healthcare science systems and technologies is Filipino -owned Philab Industries Inc. Philab started some five decades ago in building and supplying medical facilities for hospitals, clinics and educational research laboratories. 

It eventually forged ties with the Department of Health and Department of Education, even teaming up with state-owned China Educational Instrument & Equipment Corp., a commercial entity retained by the China Ministry of Education, to equip some 38,000 schools in the Philippines with Math and Science tools and facilities.

More recently, Philab has gone big into medical self-diagnosis technology in the form of the country’s first dengue self-test kits. Philab in a press briefing late last year, meanwhile, explained how it planned to establish Asia’s first ever genome facility in the Philippines.

Defined by the World Health Organization as the study of genes and their functions, and related techniques, genomics looks at and processes the broad structure of all the genes of an organism and their relationship with each other to determine its effect on the organism’s development.

The plan is to work closely with medical professionals and institutions in using the information to track down potential health threats a person may be pre-disposed to due to hereditary traits. 

Through genomic sequencing, a map of the person’s genome will be produced which can guide doctors in order to prevent disease or administer cure before it gets worse. Medical health practitioners look at and process the broad structure of all the genes of an individual and their relationship with each other to determine their effect on the patient.

More importantly, people may know how to properly address their body’s needs and live a longer, healthy guided lifestyle. The grapevine is rife with rumors that Philab is at the cusp of formally establishing the very first mid-market genomics facility in Asia.

Philab is also introducing the very first self-test kits in the country. The company just completed the delivery of one million Dengue self-test kits to the Department of Health as of last year. 

The company plans to make Dengue test kits commercially available over-the-counter in the coming months. In addition, Philab is developing other kits for Chikungunya and Malaria as well as plans to develop kits to check for the use of illegal drugs.

These revolutionary self-test kits allow people to conduct their own diagnostic tests at home—without the need or presence of a nurse or doctor—and the diagnostic results are available within 20 minutes. 

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Topics: Ray Eñano , healthcare sector , new sunrise industry ,
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