Jovita Aragona, CIO, PhilHealth, Philippines

Women in GovTech Special Report 2016.

How do you use technology to improve citizens' lives? Tell us about your role or organisation. My organisation is the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and we manage health insurance for all Filipinos. I am the Chief Information Officer and with that I assume a number of roles in the organisation. I am an enterprise architect in the organisation, looking at integration of information systems and use of information technology. I also act as the information system planner, identifying what systems need to be automated, and making plans and schedules for automation. I sit on the management committee, aligning the IT strategy to the overall vision and mission of PhilHealth. I also deal with software development, monitoring standards, policy making and head the information management sector in PhilHealth. Information technology has been useful for improving the ease of doing business with PhilHealth. We make services available online and through mobile apps so that people need not have to travel to transact with us. For example, we have developed online services for membership enquiries , accreditation, claims and eligibility checking What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2016? The entire country is moving to use electronic medical records, and in 2016 we have started on that. As a result, we have been able to collaborate with external agencies like the Department of Health and Department of Science and Technology. Internally, it has been exciting to understand the different work attitudes and perceptions to better manage the sector. There are some problems that have to be managed, particularly on how people do their work, the kind of integration that is there and the work environment. We have to manage the change that is going to happen here. What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2017? We have some legacy systems right now. For 2017, we have planned out how we should move to a more integrated, harmonised and optimised environment. As part of this, we will embark on the procurement for a really integrated insurance system. We are going to start using analytics dashboards as part of our data journey towards more efficient and effective services, and develop systems that will empower the citizens. If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2016, what would it be? A piece of advice or recommendation for others in IT is that our journey is about more than just technology. We also need the right people, processes, culture, and partnerships. Success will always require a good blend of several of these elements. Based on my experience, IT is easy if you have good programmers and analysts. The more important thing is that you really know how to have that mix and how to strategise, especially in times of resolving issues and concerns. Who is your hero and why? Our national hero is Jose Rizal. He fought for freedom in silence, but in a powerful way. He humbly fought for reforms through his writings and not through a revolution. He was able to use his intelligence, skills and power in a more peaceful way and that’s why I consider him a hero. We can all learn from him how to be humble. We can do things and resolve issues in more methodological ways, without the use of force. And finally, if you could recommend us one place to eat, where would it be? Annabel’s - it has a fusion of Asian cuisines and is located in Quezon City. I love that place!