With the burden of healthcare reform putting constant new pressures on clinics and hospitals, cost cutting has become a constant necessary practice. It may seem a little superfluous to explain why cutting costs is important – after all, cut costs are always good news, right? However, cost cutting can potentially lead to a loss in quality – unless you’re smart about it.
Hospitals that want to survive the reforms and the economic slowdown that 2008 and beyond has caused, have to use their ingenuity and technological changes to come up with ways to both save money and introduce higher quality in their services – a monumental task for most clinics and hospitals, especially with the juggling act it suggests.
But one way to cut costs without sacrificing quality is through the trend of outsourcing, and off shoring. The question is – are these practices relevant to the healthcare industry? Furthermore, how can they be implemented? And what do they do? As a specific example, we’ll take one of the more mundane yet absolutely essential components of a functioning healthcare facility – transcription services.
Saving Money Through Low-Cost Human Capital
Entrepreneurs know what it means to regularly outsource – a startup may outsource most of its needs, in an attempt to build a business without a dedicated team. Larger established players in the field, like hospitals, use outsourcing to cut costs – and transcription services are an excellent example of how well it works. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, outsourcing is becoming more common in the medical transcriptionist profession, alongside tech advances changing the landscape of transcription services.
Medical transcription work is specialized work, but it can still be outsourced to companies and services that build their teams through low-cost educated human capital. This is especially true in countries with a lower cost of living, where competitive rates ensure that professionals retain a high degree of capability and quality without the kind of cost associated with similarly skilled professionals on the home front. A hospital or clinic is, in first line, a private business – keeping costs low and the bottom line healthy is what counts.
Saving on Unused Equipment
Hospitals typically have an outdated infrastructure – even when it comes to transcription services, outsourcing to a quality company will net you a higher level of quality in the end product, than running transcription services through in-house equipment.
In turn, that equipment can be sold off. The same can be seen in hospitals and clinics that digitally outsource their billing, thus saving money on printers, printing ink, and a number of other costs such as in-house delivery services and collection. Aside from money, all these things also cost a lot of time – time better spent tending to patients, especially considering the epidemic of understaffing among hospitals nationwide.
Web-based transcription is the way to go, and medical transcription services know that. Not many hospitals and clinics are equipped with Internet-based data systems, however. While there is a lot data on how “intelligent infrastructure” can benefit hospitals, only the more upscale healthcare facilities can afford to equip themselves with updated IT. Sadly, this also leads to an immense loss of revenue and wasted resources – according to the WHO, that wasted sector amounts to 40 percent of all resources used by hospitals.
Doctors, physicians and practitioners can still receive their transcriptions on their own computers for data compilation, over a secured network.
Saving Money Through Redirected/Reduced Staff
Outsourcing doesn’t just reduce costs by being cheaper to finance and oversee than in-house production – it also saves you unnecessary manpower. Through outsourcing services like pain management transcription through quality companies like Eyered Transcription, your fixed costs become variable costs – since you’re not paying for the salaries of an outsourced service, but rather the service itself based on each individual order, you can utilize these savings to instead raise your nurse-to-patient ratio, or save costs even further by updating crucial IT infrastructure and cutting some of the $8 billion wasted annually in the healthcare industry due to an outdated infrastructure, according to a Ponemon Institute survey reported about on USA Today.
These costs include the expenses of inefficiency, such as the time it takes nurses to respond to calls, inquire on the nature of the calls, leave, and return with the requested drug, doctor or item. A better system would allow patients to send detailed requests directly to a nurse through web-based applications and a dedicated private hospital server, while making it easier for doctors to access patient files through encrypted servers rather than keeping them largely in paper form.
Smart Outsourcing Consistently Produces Success
As Forbes points out, outsourcing is good for more than just cutting costs – it allows you to tap outside of local talent, and access global talent through online companies that specialize in your outsourced service. Outsourcing helps you focus on the core task of your hospital or clinic, while leaving the more mundane but necessary aspects of running a healthcare facility in the hands of capable professional companies in competitive global markets – all while reducing your overhead.