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Business-Technologist Visions: No Comfort Zone Here

There's a natural emphasis on proven technologies and fast return today. But HIP's Pedro Villalba says there's still a critical need in a business strategy to invest in research and development focused on emerging technologies.

In the last five years, HIP Health Plan of New York has had a tremendous resurgence. One of the key drivers in this revitalization has been our investment in technology. In 2003, we'll continue on our course with further investments in technology that are strongly integrated with our business strategies. An important consideration in our strategic thinking includes not allowing ourselves to fall into a comfort zone based on our success.

Our business-growth strategies are focused on a number of areas, including product development centered on the specific demographics of our potential customers, increasing member retention, growing our existing customer base, and the continuous delivery of excellent customer service.

We'll need to accomplish these goals even while simplifying our business processes to drive down the cost of doing business. A critical component of HIP's business strategy is investment in research and development focused on emerging technologies. We've identified several such initiatives that will fuel our momentum in 2003-04. We also plan to continue investing in our core systems, which support rapid growth strategies and the delivery of new products.

Generally, our investments in technology will serve as an added springboard for efforts to engage and involve our customers in self-service activities. Given our high level of system integration and Web-enabled, real-time transaction capabilities, we plan to provide an increasingly wider array of automated customer-service interaction offerings.

One might ask whether all of this has brought about a change in HIP's fundamental values and priorities. The answer is no. We will continue to focus on providing access to the best health care possible. In doing so, we'll emphasize value, exceptional customer service, products that support customer needs, and operating efficiency. The future will bring challenges and opportunities, and we anticipate them both with measured optimism.

Pedro Villalba is senior VP of I.T. and chief technology officer at HIP Health Plan of New York. HIP was the No. 1 company on the 2002 InformationWeek 500 list.

Photo of Pedro Villalba by John Abbott

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