Running a hospital or healthcare facility is one of the most demanding jobs on the planet, there’s no question.
Above all else, the focus for healthcare operators is always on achieving positive patient outcomes and sustaining a high standard of care. But with so many different non-care and non-clinical support services to manage, how do administrators maintain quality across the board while practicing cost-efficient business practices?
Many hospitals and health care facilities often turn to outsourcing hospital services that are non-care/clinical support related.
In fact, healthcare outsourcing services have helped hospitals save 30-60% on costs, in addition to enhancing the level of care provided to their patients.
What are the Benefits of Hospital Outsourcing Services?
When properly (and diligently) researched and implemented, the benefits of outsourcing hospital services can be incredible.
Many institutions who have successfully outsourced their non-clinical services have gleaned the following benefits:
- Greatly improved patient care and staff satisfaction
- Considerable cost savings
- Enhanced operational efficiency
- Process optimizations
However, the degree to which a hospital enjoys these benefits is heavily dependent on:
- If the business administrators have set clear goals and expectations
- How effectively transitions are planned
- The level of effort and strategy for the implementation
- And how well the systems outsourcing is managed
Developing the Strategy for Outsourcing of Hospital Services
Before making any outsourcing decision, health care systems and hospitals need to define a few things first:
- Can your goals be met with a multi-vendor model, or is only a single, integrated service provider feasible?
a. Usually hospitals prefer the latter due to their size and patient volume
- Have you identified the specific services you require?
a. Retail food, building maintenance, information technology, patient transport, security, materials management, etc.
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- For each support service you’re considering for outsourcing, have you identified both the direct and indirect scopes and costs?
a. Including elements like anticipated benefits, financial and non-financial risks, transition issues, space use, competencies, etc.
Once you have answered all of these questions and determined your facility’s exact needs, you are then in a position to seek out your ideal vendor or vendors.
What are the Challenges of Implementing Hospital Outsourcing Services?
Without putting too fine a point on it, the challenges of implementing hospital outsourcing services should be considered carefully.
In general, the main challenge you’ll face (whether implementing outsourced clinically relevant services or other important services) is in the change management initiative.
Try as you might to retain much of your existing employee and management structure, you may find that blending existing staff with your outsourced contract management group(s) creates reporting redundancies that hampers the overall transition.
But, it’s possible to overcome this by:
- Forming a Senior Leadership Committee to plan and oversee the transition
- Develop sound principles and strategies to support the implementation of new technologies and processes
- Ensure your outsourced vendor’s manager provides the necessary reports to your finance chief and that both parties work to form a relationship based on trust, honesty and transparency
- Consider employee morale and buy-in by transferring your existing management team to operate as contractors under your outsourced vendor for similar pay and benefits
- Measure performance and value to stakeholders by jointly developing service level agreements (SLAs)
- Create detailed scorecards delineating productivity and efficiency indicators to be used as a communication tool.
How Does Outsourcing Hospital Services Create Better Patient Care?
While the link between outsourcing non-clinical hospital services and increased patient care may not be immediately apparent, the evidence in favor of this argument is indisputable.
Patient care and satisfaction can be positively affected by the outsourcing of hospital services in two main ways:
1. Distributing Resources Away from Areas with Lower Degrees of Expertise
Hospitals tend to form competencies in particular areas based on the unique factors comprising its situation. These could be elements like available talent pool, needs of the community, and geographical location.
Yet that often means other areas of the hospital’s purview receive less attention. By choosing these less-specialized areas to outsource to vendors, the hospital can focus on areas it needs to improve, all of which usually relate to patient care (after all that’s what a hospital is for!), emergency departments or emergency medicine (as examples).
One example of a less-specialized area a hospital may choose to outsource are environmental services, which often come with profit-maximizing advantages as a result of these services being provided by a dedicated, professional provider.
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2. Distributing Resources Toward Areas with Higher Degrees of Expertise
Whenever a hospital can give its own internal staff more freedom to focus on their core talents and skills, the more patient care and satisfaction improves.
Without outsourcing hospital services, it may be that some emergency care workers are spending more time than is necessary ensuring the proper organization of medical supplies. Perhaps they’re spending time troubleshooting computer and software issues, or maybe ensuring that emergency rooms are effectively sterilized when they could be more attentively seeing to a patient’s comfort.
This is quite often the case in rural hospitals where access to various talent pools might be restricted. In Academic Medical Centers (AMC) however, this is never an issue since they are very well funded.
When funding, or even location challenges cause issues with talent acquisition or areas of focus, outsourcing hospital services for the non-clinical areas creates efficiencies that allow more focus on the key areas of patient care.
Choosing an Experienced IT Partner to Assist with the Outsourcing of Hospital Services
At Buchanan Technologies, we’re highly experienced and familiar with providing exceptional managed IT support to hospitals and healthcare facilities alike.
Not only are we capable of helping your hospital:
- Increase efficiencies through our patient support services for appointments and routine visits
- Create back-up and disaster recovery plans
- Maintain compliance through automated processes
- Increase efficiencies and lower costs through utilizing the cloud
- Developing scalable IT solutions that are customized to your needs
- And more
But we also seek to form a relationship with you based on trust, transparency and mutual understanding. Plus, we aim to form effective working relationships with your other outsourced vendors as well, with the ultimate goal of helping you deliver the best possible care to your patients.
If you’re interested in exploring Buchanan’s patient support services or other solutions as an outsourced managed IT provider for your hospital, contact us today to schedule a consultation and determine what your specific needs might look like.