Healthcare Outsourcing Trends and Software
Outsourcing has become nearly universal in the healthcare industry. Healthcare industry providers use outsourcing as a way to cut costs, improve efficiency, increase access to specialists, enhance patient satisfaction, and address compliance issues. All sectors of the healthcare industry are embracing outsourcing, including service providers, medical device manufacturers, insurance providers, and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Digital innovations are helping fuel outsourcing trends, and software support is a requirement for effective outsourcing. Here’s a look at why health providers are turning to outsourcing, how different sectors of the industry are embracing this trend, and what software is needed for effective healthcare outsourcing.
Why the Healthcare Industry Is Turning to Outsourcing
Almost all healthcare providers are turning to outsourcing. Outsourcing offers a wide range of attractive benefits that appeal to healthcare providers:
- Cutting costs: With healthcare costs rising, cutting costs is the biggest driver for outsourcing. The healthcare industry has become more competitive, and providers who can offer lower costs have an advantage over more expensive rivals. By 2022, hospitals will need to reduce their costs by nearly one-quarter just to break even, Black Book projects. To achieve this goal, 98 percent of healthcare leaders are in the process of deciding whether working with third parties in both clinical and non-clinical areas will enable them to cut costs.
- Improving efficiency and care quality: Another motivation for outsourcing is improving efficiency. Overworked healthcare staffs translate into longer wait times for patients, which is bad for business. Outsourcing allows hospitals and clinics to reduce patient wait time. It can also improve care quality by affording access to expanded resources. For instance, many hospitals can’t afford cutting-edge imaging equipment, and outsourcing is the best way to provide patients access to the latest technology in this area.
- Expanding access to specialists: Outsourcing can increase patient access to specialists. With medical knowledge ever-growing, the range of specialization among providers has multiplied dramatically. Using outsourcing can enable medical facilities to provide patients with access to specialized care that would not otherwise be available if they relied solely on in-house resources.
- Boosting patient satisfaction: Lower costs, shorter wait times, and better care all promote higher patient satisfaction. In a highly competitive market, this is a major concern for healthcare providers.
- Meeting compliance requirements: HIPAA regulations have imposed demanding compliance requirements on healthcare providers. Meeting these requirements requires expertise in digital security. The best way for most providers to access this expertise is outsourcing.
These benefits are some of the major factors encouraging healthcare providers to turn to outsourcing.
Which Healthcare Industry Sectors Are Outsourcing
Outsourcing trends are not limited to any single area of the healthcare industry but are sweeping across all industry sectors. For convenience, the healthcare industry can be divided into four major sectors, each of which is experiencing the effects of outsourcing:
- Health care services and facilities: Hospitals have traditionally outsourced certain functions that lie outside of their core competencies, such as housekeeping and food services, but in recent years, health care services themselves have become candidates for outsourcing. According to Navigant healthcare director John Boland, the most popular patient care services being outsourced include anesthesia, staffing for emergency departments and hospitalists, dialysis services, and diagnostic imaging.
- Medical device manufacturing: Manufacturers of medical devices are finding outsourcing useful for a number of functions. For example, 3D printing is helping manufacturers cut costs on prototyping and production; third-party testing services are helping ensure that medical devices and shipping containers meet regulatory requirements, and logistics suppliers help manufacturers ship more efficiently.
- Medical insurance and services: Another area of the healthcare industry seeing increasing outsourcing is medical insurance and other medical services such as medical patient financing and managed care. For instance, many healthcare providers outsource their medical billing to third parties.
- Pharmaceuticals: As biochemistry has advanced, the pharmaceutical sector of the medical industry has found outsourcing invaluable for research and development. Outsourcing also enables pharmaceutical suppliers to speed up delivery schedules while keeping costs low.
Throughout these sectors, outsourcing pervades the healthcare industry.
Software Supporting Outsourcing Efficiency
Healthcare outsourcing today is highly dependent on technological innovations that make efficient use of third parties possible. This includes software that is critical for collaboration for outsourcing partners:
- Cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS): One of the most essential components for effective collaboration with outsourcing partners is a cloud infrastructure. With the huge amount of electronic data that healthcare providers must handle, tapping into external cloud resources is often the only way to handle the requisite volume. The cloud also enables healthcare providers to take advantage of the latest mobile technology and apps.
- Unified communications as a service (UCaaS): Healthcare providers may need to communicate with outsourcing partners over any of a number of channels, including VoIP phone lines, email, mobile apps, chat, video chat, and web conferencing. Moreover, outsourcing partners using apps such as cloud contact center as a service (CCaaS) may need to communicate with customers over a variety of channels. A UCaaS platform ensures that healthcare providers and their partners are equipped to use any communications channel necessary for collaboration or customer service.
- Customer relationship management (CRM) integration: For outsourcing functions that are customer-facing, integration with CRM apps for quick access to customer data over all channels is essential.
- Security-compliant IT: HIPAA regulations necessitate that all cloud, communications, and app providers adhere to rigorous security standards that meet healthcare industry requirements.
Healthcare providers who seek outsourcing solutions should have these software infrastructure elements in place for optimal collaboration with third-party partners.
Healthcare outsourcing is advancing rapidly through all sectors of the industry, driven by needs to cut costs and boost patient satisfaction, and fueled by digital innovations that make it possible to outsource effectively. Outsourcing is helping reduce workloads and cost burdens on healthcare providers so they can deliver better care to their patients. Your business has enough on its plate. Outsource what makes sense for your business, choose a world-class SaaS technology solution and focus on what's important: your clients. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.