Benefits of Outsourcing Services at Hospitals
Outsourcing in Healthcare Management is a growing fast-growing trend today. This is because healthcare providers face tremendous pressure from competitors in the industry. Additionally, Healthcare Operations Management faces many challenges for delivering high-quality healthcare services and maintaining service budgets. Therefore, to sustain in this business, all healthcare organizations, including hospitals, have to gain a competitive edge and offer attractive care services to the patient community.
For achieving maximum staff efficiency and better care outcomes, outsourcing of the non-core functions can be a blessing to hospitals. In outsourcing, some operations of an organization are assigned to another vendor or a smaller facility that has expertise and specialisation in the specific area. It helps hospitals in focusing on their core operations and services like clinical diagnosis, medical care and nursing support.
The hospital management needs to introspect the following points before outsourcing some of its operations-
- The reasons that call for outsourcing
- Challenges the hospital is likely to face when outsourcing is implemented
- The best practices to be followed in this context
- The financial and operational implications the hospitals have to face thanks to outsourcing
- Determination of the correct combination of tasks or services that may be outsourced without compromising on the hospital bottom-line and revenues.
The services outsourced by hospitals can be broadly classified into two areas in terms of the functions or activities that may be delegated-
- Clinical services that encompass both medical and technical departments. This includes
- Laboratory and investigation services like pathology, microbiology, magnetic resonance imaging, x-rays, nuclear medicine and radiology
- Treatment procedures like dialysis and psychological counselling
- Therapeutic interventions like rehabilitation, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and language therapy
- Support services like pharmacy, medical tourism and home-based care services enabled by healthcare technology
- Non-clinical services that need healthcare consulting outsourcing like
- Integration of information technology for billing and payment systems, maintaining electronic health records and implementing cloud computing
- Hospital infrastructure management including equipment planning, procurement and maintenance, waste management, pest control, sterilization and cleaning services, patient transport and security
Advantages of Outsourcing
Enhanced Profitability – By outsourcing some operations, hospitals can save atleast thirty percent of costs incurred by utilizing local resources. There can be a substantial increase in profit margins by procuring low-cost infrastructure and manpower.
Enables access to Talented Workforce – Apart from financial gains, outsourcing promotes access to the skilled workforce who are ready to take on various clinical responsibilities and other related tasks of varying complexity. This professionally qualified and experienced manpower is crucial in the healthcare sector as it is a people-driven industry. Here, patient satisfaction largely depends on the human touch and the customization provided by the hospital staff in rendering the care services.
Improved focus on Patient Care – Medical practitioners can be unburdened from the cumbersome and routine administrative tasks through outsourcing. This enables them to focus on patient needs and deliver quality care as the non-clinical tasks are largely managed by the outsourcing partner.
Decrease in Staff Hiring and Training Costs – Managing additional costs incurred by recruiting excess staff and training them decreases to a commendable extent since it is handled by the outsourcing company. Besides this, hiring, training and retention of employees are also taken care of by them.
Better Patient Experience and Engagement – Since the non-core tasks are managed by the outsourcing vendor, hospitals can concentrate to a greater extent on patient care thereby improving patient experiences, goodwill and public image.
Reduced Administration Overheads – Administrative overheads constitute a bulk portion of costs incurred and must be managed carefully. By outsourcing, excessive and unnecessary expenditure may be reduced. This amount saved may be reinvested for improving the core services and hospital facilities for improving patient experiences.
Healthcare Consulting Firms can help hospitals in developing the right framework and strategy for outsourcing after appropriately gauging the associated benefits and demerits for optimal outcomes.