It is not exactly a secret that healthcare is expensive, and healthcare costs are continuing to rise. As a result, healthcare outsourcing is being seen as an increasingly viable strategy. According to published statistics, the average cost of health insurance in 2020 per month was $1,152 for a family and $456 for an individual. Unfortunately, these costs will only continue to rise. A number of short-term factors, such as the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic strife (such as inflation), have led to increased expenditures that could result in rising insurance premiums and expenses. As a result, healthcare organizations are looking for ways to save money, and this could include outsourcing.
Increasing Reliance on Call Center Outsourcing in Healthcare
In recent years, the healthcare industry has witnessed a significant shift toward call center outsourcing. This trend can be attributed to the numerous advantages it offers. One of the main factors contributing to the increasing reliance on outsourcing is its greater cost efficiency. By outsourcing call center services, healthcare organizations can leverage the resources and expertise of an outsourcing provider without maintaining extensive in-house infrastructure, equipment, and personnel. This leads to substantial cost savings while maintaining high-quality services for their patients.
Another advantage of outsourcing is the enhanced patient satisfaction it enables. Healthcare organizations gain access to customer service specialists who deliver a consistent and professional experience. Skilled call center agents can handle a diverse range of patient inquiries, ensuring service quality is maintained, ultimately leading to improved patient satisfaction. Additionally, call center outsourcing allows healthcare organizations to offer round-the-clock service, catering to patients’ varying needs and schedules. This 24/7 availability fosters a stronger relationship with patients and ensures timely assistance when it’s needed the most.
The scalability and flexibility provided by call center outsourcing is also significant factor driving its popularity. Healthcare organizations can scale their services quickly, effectively, and economically to handle an influx of patient calls or expand services to cover additional communication channels. Outsourcing also grants healthcare organizations access to advanced technology and expertise without additional investment or management burdens. These providers invest in sophisticated technology and tools and offer specialized industry experience and well-trained staff.
Moreover, outsourcing call center services enable healthcare organizations to focus on their core competencies by redirecting resources and time toward more mission-critical tasks such as patient care, clinical operations, and research. Furthermore, outsourcing contributes to streamlined data management, as reputable call center providers often utilize state-of-the-art data management systems that better collect, analyze, and share patient information. This enhanced data management drives informed decision-making processes and better patient experiences. In conclusion, the healthcare industry’s increasing reliance on call center outsourcing is expected to persist as it contributes to the optimization of healthcare operations and addresses the financial and operational challenges faced by healthcare organizations.
How To Get Started with Call Center Outsourcing
As healthcare organizations recognize the benefits of outsourcing, one area to consider is call center services. Outsourcing call centers allows healthcare companies to save on costs and enhance the overall patient experience. This section will discuss how to start outsourcing your call center services in the healthcare field.
- Identify Your Call Center Needs
Begin by outlining the specific call center services your organization needs. These could include appointment scheduling, handling patient inquiries, prescription refill requests, billing support, and follow-up calls. Determine which tasks can be outsourced and which must remain in-house.
- Research Potential Providers
Look for call center providers specializing in healthcare services, and understand the industry’s unique challenges. Consider factors like experience in the healthcare sector, knowledge of healthcare regulations, and data security capabilities when evaluating potential providers.
- Evaluate Pricing Models
Different call center providers may have distinct pricing models such as per-call, per-minute, or per-agent. Analyze these models to determine the most cost-effective one for your organization while still meeting your call center requirements.
- Assess Infrastructure and Technology
Since call center outsourcing involves working with remote teams, ensure that your chosen provider has robust technology and reliable infrastructure to facilitate seamless communication. Evaluate their ability to handle your preferred communication channels, like phone, text messages, email, and chat.
- Request Client References and Testimonials
Before signing a contract, ask your potential providers for references and testimonials from their clients in the healthcare industry. Reach out to these clients for feedback on the provider’s performance, responsiveness, and adaptability to specific healthcare needs.
- Ensure Compliance and Data Security
Data security and compliance with healthcare regulations should be a top priority when outsourcing call center services. Verify that your chosen provider follows stringent data protection protocols and is compliant with healthcare-related regulations such as HIPAA.
- Develop a Detailed Service Level Agreement (SLA)
Create a thorough SLA outlining service expectations, performance metrics, response times, and escalation procedures. This document should be mutually agreed upon before beginning the outsourcing process.
- Plan a Seamless Transition Process
When outsourcing call center services, it is essential to have a transition plan in place to ensure minimal disruptions in patient care and organizational workflow. Work closely with your chosen provider to create a smooth onboarding process for the existing staff, and establish regular communication channels to facilitate collaboration.
By following these steps in choosing a reliable call center outsourcing provider, healthcare organizations can effectively manage administrative tasks, improve patient experience, and save on operating costs.
Why Is Healthcare Outsourcing Becoming More Viable?
In the past, hospital systems and medical centers may not have dreamed of outsourcing their services; however, this has become a viable option for a number of reasons. They include:
- Business outsourcing processes have changed, leading to a reduction in costs and more reliability from service providers.
- Digital medical delivery models have been implemented, making it easier to administer healthcare across any distance.
- Data security has improved, making it possible to share protected patient information between covered entities and service providers, when needed.
For these reasons, many healthcare systems are exploring the possibility of using outsourcing to control the rising costs associated with the services they provide.
Why Are Healthcare Companies Considering Outsourcing Now?
Market pressure is urgently causing healthcare companies to look for ways to reduce their overhead expenses. Some of the reasons why healthcare companies are thinking about outsourcing some of their services now include:
- There is an increasing demand for niche diagnostic and treatment services, which can be expensive for healthcare companies to maintain on their own.
- Both competition and costs associated with research and development are increasing.
- More stringent regulations are leading to regulatory liability, so healthcare companies are more motivated to outsource services to specialized professionals.
As these pressures increase, expect outsourcing to become more widespread.
What Healthcare Services Can Be Outsourced?
There are several examples of healthcare services that can be outsourced. They include:
- Healthcare companies can outsource manufacturing to make it easier to control the costs associated with making new devices.
- Healthcare companies can also outsource their responsibilities related to electronic medical records (EMR) management to ensure that confidential information is protected and that compliance is maintained with all relevant privacy regulations.
- Healthcare organizations can also outsource tasks related to new research to reduce expenses related to research reagents, equipment, and data analysis.
These are just a few of the many examples of services that hospital systems and healthcare companies may want to outsource.
What Are the Benefits of Outsourcing in the Healthcare Field?
Healthcare companies may enjoy several significant benefits if they decide to outsource certain products and services. They include:
- Outsourcing provides access to specialists and professionals in certain fields at a lower cost.
- Outsourcing services to specialists in this area can make processes more efficient and productive.
- Outsourcing to a specialist in certain areas can dramatically improve patient experiences, patient care, and patient outcomes. When healthcare companies work with companies that specialize in certain areas, they get access to staff members who are more comfortable performing these tasks. This leads to better results.
- Outsourcing makes it easier to scale certain resources. For example, if a hospital needs to run certain tests, they can outsource these tests to an organization that performs them regularly instead of having to purchase all the equipment on their own.
- Healthcare companies that outsource to specialists in certain areas work with professionals who are familiar with all rules and regulations. This reduces regulatory liability.
- Hospital systems can also reduce the amount of time they spend doing mundane, administrative work by outsourcing these tasks to specialists who perform them more efficiently.
Ultimately, the biggest benefit of outsourcing in healthcare is that it can both improve outcomes and reduce expenses. With many hospital systems looking for ways to provide better patient care at a lower price, expect outsourcing in the healthcare field to become more common in the near future.
Outsource Your Administrative Needs To PatientCalls
If you are looking for a way to outsource some of your administrative tasks, you should rely on a third-party call center that offers call scheduling, answering, and other administrative services to healthcare organizations. That is where we can help you. We are PatientCalls, and we are a specialized third-party call center that can help you manage your administrative tasks. We have a tremendous amount of experience in a wide variety of areas, and we can use this experience to help you provide a positive experience to your patients, employees, and medical providers. Contact us today to learn more about our staff augmentation services.