Interview with Moses Hee, Chairman & CEO of MiCare HealthTech Holdings, Singapore
Collaboration among providers, payors, patients, and pharmaceutical companies is necessary to deliver affordable, quality healthcare, says Moses Hee, Chairman and CEO of MiCare HealthTech, a leading regional managed-care organization in Southeast Asia that connects these health sector stakeholders through a digital platform. In an interview with IFC, Hee talks about how data can help organizations manage the cost of care and shares real-world examples of how value-based care works. Hee also offers advice to providers who are looking to elevate their standard of care.
Affordability is a major concern in healthcare. You are a proponent of value-based healthcare models. Can you tell me about this?
Managing healthcare costs is not a responsibility that should fall exclusively on the shoulders of doctors and hospitals. The value-based healthcare model is a more comprehensive and sustainable way of ensuring affordable quality care. It links payments to providers to patient outcomes. This means that providers, payors, patients, and pharmaceutical companies all share the responsibility of keeping costs down and providing quality care. In our role as a managed care organization, we built a digital platform to integrate these four pillars to contain costs across the entire healthcare delivery system, from consultation to treatment, from medication to lifestyle management, and from surgery to chronic care management.
As part of this, we also look for innovations through partnerships, such as with pharmaceutical companies, to help ensure cost efficiency while boosting access and quality. For example, MiCare has been working with a pharmaceutical company that manufactures an anticholesterol drug that is costly. We know that unmanaged high cholesterol can trigger other serious health events, so an effective medication to manage the condition is incredibly valuable. But it has to yield results. So, we are working with various stakeholders to create a model where patients get some form of a money-back guarantee depending on the efficacy of the prescribed drug within defined parameters. Payors will then consider a higher cost for a drug that potentially reduces the risk and cost associated with other related severe illnesses.
You seem very passionate about this model.
Over the last two decades, I have witnessed many patients stop treatment or pursue other options because they simply could not afford care. A personal example comes to mind of an older friend who was sick and disclosed to me that he would rather die than burden his family with exorbitant medical expenses. Everyone deserves to [be able to] afford healthcare without compromising on the quality of care. Whatever models we come up with, it all comes back to affordability and accessibility for our members. Value-based care promotes both affordability and quality.
You are a proponent of private and public health sectors working together to advance access to affordable, quality care. What’s MiCare’s role in this?
When public and private sectors don’t collaborate, gaps in service form and universal health coverage remains out of reach. Right now, most public and private entities don’t seem to share data. Countries that pool public and private health data will finally have a complete view of the entire healthcare system, including lifestyle behaviors, effective treatment protocols, and chronic disease management. Third-party administrators and managed care organizations like MiCare become a central repository to facilitate the development of lifestyle and treatment modifications and more effective disease-management plans.
How does MiCare use data to improve health services?
Health systems need data to make sure patients experience positive health outcomes. The correct data enables us to help providers improve treatment protocols, and pharmaceutical companies [to] set affordable prices. For example, we discovered that many breast cancer patients stopped treatment or sought alternative paths after seven to eight months because the cost was prohibitively high. MiCare worked with pharmaceutical companies, providers, and payors to create treatment plans patients could afford to complete.
The anticholesterol medicine is another example. There is no point in releasing a drug that no one can afford and that payors won’t cover. At the same time, a payor might cover a higher-priced drug if it saves them money in the long term by preventing other related serious illnesses. We would not have been able to guide these decisions without relevant and complete data.
What are three pieces of advice you would give to healthcare providers who want to strengthen the quality of care?
In short, my three pieces of advice would be to connect, collaborate, and care. Healthcare providers need to connect with patients constantly, to understand how they live, how effective their treatment is, and to set a plan of action together. Providers must collaborate with other stakeholders within the healthcare ecosystem and not focus solely on the provider/patient relationship. Doctors and hospitals must work with payors and pharmaceutical players. Lastly, healthcare providers should care for their patients from the heart, not in a transactional or mechanical manner.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Published in January 2023
Moses Hee founded MiCare, a Malaysian-based third-party medical claims administrator, in 2006. Zuellig Pharma acquired the company in 2013 and Hee remained as a minority shareholder and CEO. MiCare expanded into Thailand and the Philippines in 2017 and 2019, respectively. In 2021, IFC and Mitsui invested in what became MiCare HealthTech Holdings (MHH). Hee was appointed as MHH’s Chairman and CEO to steer its expansion plan. Hee has more than 25 years of healthcare-industry experience. He also founded Corporation Computer Pte Ltd, a medical-software house, before Ezyhealth Asia Pacific acquired it in 2000. Moses holds a bachelor’s degree in business computing with merit from the Queensland University of Technology, Australia.