Healthcare Outsourcing

In my experience working with a Healtchare BPO/Technology firm (services ranging from Medical Transcription, Medical Billing, EMR deployments, Call Center support and Clinical Research) following are some observations:
  1. Regulations discourage Outsourcing: Tight healthcare privacy regulations discourage outsourcing. HIPAA compliance has to be guaranteed through the outsourcing services supply-chain. This gets especially important in cases where the patient data has to be sent offshore such as in the case of Medical Transcription and Medical Billing.
  2. Its also a matter of a management mind-set: Healthcare still doesn’t believe in (or cannot risk) a leaner and loosely coupled delivery model – therefore the reluctance to outsource!
  3. Younger and techn-savvy doctors are more open towards using technology for clinical processing and beyond. As more and more of such doctors take up decision-making positions, both outsourcing and technology implementations would increase.
  4. Huge difference in perception about technology needs: There’s a huge difference in the perception of the of technology needs (from healtcare provider’s point-of-view), and the way technology is being sold to them by the technology providers. This perception issue is most pronounced in this sector as compared to other sectors. Outsourcing providers need to re-think and simplify their marketing messages.
  5. Healthcare providers don’t have enough time for the learning curve involved with embracing technology and outsourcing. The focus has to remain on “slow and steady transition” in any healthcare technology/outsourcing initiatives.
  6. Strategy of profit-maximization by taking more risk cannot apply directly the way it does in other sectors. Healthcare cannot be compared to any other sector when it comes to risk-taking for profit-maximization. In other sectors business risk-taking for profit-maximization is fully acceptable; wheres in healtchare the stakes are much higher and much more spread out far beyond the healthcare management and investors. Hence the:
  7. Technology and outsourcing providers need to sell “cost-saving” in the right perspective Healthcare outsourcing is a strong catalyst for cost-saving for healtchare sector HOWEVER if “cost-saving” is promoted as the sole selling point by outsourcing providers, its not going to fly. Outsourcing providers will have to put themselves in their customer’s shoes and not over-estimate the importance of “cost-saving” when compared to the operational and privacy issues/risks involved. As a result they’ll have to build their outsourcing proposals which provide comprehensive solutions to mitigate such risks at a reasonable cost

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