Outsourcing has become a juggernaut trend within modern healthcare. As communications and medical standardization becomes cleaner and more efficient, hospitals are desperately looking for ways to widen their budget and cut costs without sacrificing quality of care. Outsourcing is a difficult task for many hospitals because it requires a certain amount of trust between a hospital and an alternative provider.
As the industry grows, certificates and standard tests are making it easier for caregivers to choose what providers they can safely work with. The majority of outsourcing simply cuts down on all the peripheral tasks that don’t immediately occupy nurses and residents.
Outsourcing drug procurement to an unaffiliated pharmacy is one way to cut storage and supply costs, as well as cutting the cost of the staff necessary to manage the in-house pharmacy. In an interview with Pharmaceutical-Journal.com, healthcare consultant Mike Cross noted that outsourcing pharmacy services carries some strong benefits for hospitals in the department of cost-cutting and efficient care. Cross makes the point that, since medicine from community pharmacies are VAT-exempt unlike supplies in hospitals, there’s a percentage of cost to be cut from there.
The only worry, as in any branch of outsourcing, is that a certain degree of regulation and oversight is needed. The clinical and healthcare industry is one that must prioritize the health and safety of its patients first, and analyze cost-efficient methods for doing so second. Putting profit over care diminishes hospital quality, which is a detriment in both legal and financial ways. This is why certificates and industry standards are becoming a necessity in the outsourcing industry, so hospitals can rest easy about the quality of service they’re receiving, in terms of turnaround times and other important factors.
Medicine and supplies isn’t the only aspect hospitals outsource regularly. Many of the more routine aspects of medical care – such as laboratory results, outsourced staffing for emergency rooms, diagnostic tests from x-rays to CT scans and even dedicated MIR facilities – these can all be outsourced to facilities that deal with several hospitals and have a local reputation for excellent service above anything else.
All clinical services tend to be crucial to the inner workings of a hospital – but they’re not crucial to the facilitation of patient-doctor care. Surgery cannot be readily outsourced, but blood tests can. The difference relies on the specialty of physicians required for any given task. The more technological aspects of medical care are being outsourced at a wide range, as roughly 30 percent of surveyed hospitals said they were outsourcing their lab services, according to an article in the online Modern Healthcare magazine.
The benefits in outsourcing transcription work, in everything from pediatric to orthopedics transcription, are numerous. Firstly, transcription work can be more easily streamlined and made digitally available when outsourced to a specialized, certified company like Eyered Transcription. Secondly, quality transcription services don’t just make keeping records easier – they make data analysis easier and less obtuse in the stressful environment of a hospital floor.
An experienced outsourcing service is also overtly discreet. Keeping the integrity of a patient’s privacy intact above all is important, especially in the digital age where everyone’s information seems to be too easily up for grabs. Modern services utilize cloud-based encryption and safety measures to ensure client data is kept on lock and key for anyone except authorized hospital staff.
This removes major headaches for hospitals looking to reduce their costs but remain at the top of their own game. Outsourcing to companies with robust reputations in the foreign marketplace is even better – they maintain the level of quality found in local services, with the same turnaround times, but at a lower cost.
While the digital age may make paper irrelevant, in the fields of finance and medicine it’s still important to have physical copies of records to ensure these records are accessible in emergency or legal situations, or wherever electronic records may be rendered invalid. This requires printing, record keeping, and dedicated accountancy staff to make sure the hospital’s financials are in order.
Outsourcing emergency and medical billing services to another company cuts the cost of printing and billing distribution, and puts the burden on the billing service rather than the hospital when financial complications occur. As such, some hospitals may be worried about providing oversight — however, reputable services eliminate the need for oversight through a proven track record of quality.
Hospital scrubs, beds and sheets have to be kept meticulously clean and sterile to avoid the dangers of post-operation infection and to keep patients with auto-immune diseases as healthy as possible.
Because of the realities of the industry, hospitals are at extreme risk of turning into hotbeds for sickness – clean laundry isn’t just a luxury, but an industry necessity. According to the CDC, healthcare-associated infections produce costs as high as $45 billion a year. However, delegating these services to reputable outsourcing companies can help reduce infection rates in hospitals with lower budgets.
These are just some of the major services hospitals can safely outsource today, as the industry continues to grow.