As the demand for quality care increases and medical costs continue to spike, outsourcing has become a trend in the growing healthcare information management (HIM) industry. At present, many hospitals and health systems choose outsourcing their medical transactions and processes such as back office tasks and medical transcription and billing to third-party firms. But still, whether or not outsourcing healthcare services is bad remains a disputed issue.
More hospitals in US outsourcing healthcare services
In a recent article, Penn State News quoted Jonathan Clark, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Administration at Penn State University, as saying that around 90%of hospitals in the United States are now outsourcing some portion of their radiology services. He also points out that hospitals are also outsourcing in other areas including their anesthesiologist staffing and emergency physician staffing.
Companies can save money with outsourcing and even improve their capabilities, according to Clark. "I believe outsourcing is something we should think about, especially when it fuels efficiency and expands access to health care, but we need to be intelligent about it so as not to put patient safety at risk."
Removing taboos associated with outsourcing healthcare services
It turns out more healthcare providers are finding new ways to lower costs without compromising patient care. Healthcare Purchasing News has published an article that talks about removing some of the taboos associated with outsourcing of products and services in healthcare.
Quoting Niklaus Fincher, Vice President of VHA Inc., the article said reprocessed single-use devices can significantly improve an organization’s operating limits. Many other healthcare systems are also stepping up efforts to outsource products and services that allow their organizations to function optimally in a continuously changing environment.
Why healthcare providers outsource their medical processes
Along with its growth are challenges that drive healthcare providers to outsource their medical processes. One of which is the increasing pressure to lower health maintenance costs while meeting the government standards in providing medical services. These challenges have made support functions of hospitals and health insurance companies expensive to maintain, so outsourcing has aid in those areas while hospitals focus on their main duty, which is to give direct care to patients.
Also by outsourcing, hospitals and health systems no longer have to maintain an in-house department or own a typing platform and dictation system. Thus, expenses previously allocated for equipment and people were devoted on improving the core health services, instead of spending on transcription-related manpower and facilities.
On top of all, some of the most common billing issues patients face such as getting charged for more than the insurance limit, being billed twice for one treatment, being billed for the wrong medicine, and getting unexpected charges, are now eliminated with the help of a well-structured system of an outsourcing provider.