Healthcare in the US is expensive, and the costs continue to rise. As the stress builds on providers, patients, and insurance companies, there is increasing pressure to control costs. Like any business, there are many facets of the healthcare industry that can be outsourced to lower costs.
But cost is only one part of the puzzle. As technology in healthcare becomes more complex it also becomes more expensive to manage. Add to that expense that healthcare data is also very valuable on the black market and you have a perfect storm of opportunity for an expensive data breach. In this scenario, outsourcing the heavy lifting to tech wizzes can be mutually beneficial.
What is Outsourcing in Healthcare
As a provider, consider all of the tasks that go into patient care. How much time do your doctors and nurse’s spend doing support work like clerical tasks? That is time that takes away from patient care. To make up the difference your staff is either churning through patients without taking time to connect or they are grinding away at a high-rate of burnout — or probably a little bit of both.
Many facilities are turning to outsourcing to solve the problem of demand for their time. Outsourcing in healthcare means that some healthcare facilities hire a third party to perform certain tasks. The facility benefits from cost-savings and high-quality, specialized support services to provide better patient care.
Letting someone else take care of services like lab work, billing, and technology support can keep your staff more productive and allow your facility to provide better patient care. And what’s more is that you will likely do all of this at a significant cost savings because you will be able to better manage your error rates and overtime hours.
Related: Managing Health Information
Impact on Patient Care
Healthcare facilities work hard to balance patient care and costs. There is a direct and quantifiable link between quality patient care and good outcomes because we are treating people. Humans have inherent social-emotional needs that can be just as important as any physical health need, so it is important to the overall treatment to focus on patient care.
Patient care is directly affected by the resources available. Expanding healthcare technology needs make patient care seamless across providers and facilities, but these needs also increase demand on staff to maintain. Additionally, many practices are moving towards treating the whole person and not just a list of symptoms. These types of holistic approaches require more skills, more specialties, and more time. And, in many facilities, almost half of the doctors are struggling with some level of burnout due to the increased demand.
Outsourcing supportive functions like IT can make the workflow of treating patients easier. And when things work well — doctors can work well.
Visaya is a global healthcare information management provider working to seamlessly bridge data sharing to make healthcare more affordable, accessible, and convenient. Learn more about our services today!
Related: Improving Your Customers Journey
Impact on Revenue
Keeping hospitals and healthcare facilities in business means cutting costs without cutting patient care. Outdated software systems and ineffectively trained employees hurt the facilities’ bottom line regarding billing (and collecting payment) for their services. Some estimates say that hospitals and healthcare facilities lose as much as 30% of their revenue in billing errors.
By outsourcing medical billing, facilities can take advantage of state-of-the-art software systems and highly trained personnel without making those investments for themselves. In other words, they allow an expert third-party provider to invest in software and training, and they negotiate a flat fee for using that service that is typically less than doing it themselves.
Impact on the Cost of Care
When you look at the big picture and talk about paying for expert services for lab work and technology, the costs start to add up. There is no one-size-fits-all solution in the healthcare industry, but smart investments in outsourcing often lead to increased productivity, better patient care, and lower costs.
The labor costs alone to manage these services in-house are prohibitive for many smaller practices. This means cutting corners at the expense of the quality of care and support services. For one, they are absorbing up to 30% of billed services in errors, and that is a high margin. That money needs to be made up somewhere, so it drives the cost of services for patients up. The efficiency that outsourcing provides helps balance things a little bit and lowers costs on medical bills.
Risk of Data Breaches
Healthcare data is a big target for cyberattacks. These risks are present when IT is handled in-house and similarly when IT is outsourced. The risk of exposure may be slightly higher when outsourcing because a third party is involved. However, the risk could be greater with an in-house system if the employees don’t have the skill and procedures to protect the data.
Private patient data is valuable — often containing social security numbers, credit card information, and loads of personal identifiers. And, medical devices provide an easy access point, so hackers have turned their focus to the healthcare industry.
Antiquated technology systems and poorly trained staff present the biggest risk for data breaches. Facilities must choose the right providers when outsourcing their services to protect their data from an average $7.1 million-dollar attack. If the facility cannot afford to invest in the technology and staff to maintain their IT infrastructure, they may have no other choice but to outsource it. And even when they can afford it — numbers this big make shareholders nervous, so data security is often placed in the hands of expert providers so that the facility can focus on healthcare.
Related: Telehealth is Here to Stay
The Bottom Line
Outsourcing in healthcare is important for the quality, cost, and safety of the care provided. As healthcare becomes more integrated with technology, the need for highly skilled labor to keep the trains running is growing. And skilled labor costs money. Outsourcing these services is the best approach to managing costs and reducing the stress (and burnout) on the healthcare staff.
Outsourcing major functions like data security and transfer are the future of medicine. When it is done well, it is effortless and efficient. Visaya is a global healthcare information management provider with the expertise that you need to keep your data secure and accessible. Contact us today to get started.