Written by Rene Mallari
Business process outsourcing (BPO) services in the healthcare market have become common due to how they enable healthcare organizations to lower operating costs, prioritize patient care, and improve revenue collection.
Since the pandemic, healthcare organizations have delegated medical tasks to remote teams. So work-from-home (WFH) arrangements play a more important role in outsourcing than ever.
This article discusses the BPO services in healthcare and the processes you can outsource. It also covers remote work for healthcare BPO and its many advantages.
Let’s dive in!
BPO Services in Healthcare and Remote Work To Keep Rising
Today, the demand for healthcare BPO services is growing. The worldwide expansion of the healthcare market and the pandemic have contributed to the growing demand. To stay abreast of patient needs, more companies outsource functions such as medical billing and transcription, data entry, and information technology (IT).
Based on a Quince Market Insights report, the global healthcare BPO market will reach over $600 billion in 2030 at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 9%.
The factors leading to this market growth are:
- Government support and accessibility of healthcare insurance services
- High costs of building and maintaining IT systems
- Data security threats
Further, this market improves patient satisfaction by providing:
- Greater access to quality service
- Easy access to skilled doctors
- Minimal to no errors in medical reports
Remote Work To Stay as Businesses Set Their Sights on Outsourcing
Information Age says more businesses focus on outsourcing as part of their pandemic strategy. For instance, nearly 30% of UK companies seek to outsource more than one business service for greater agility and resilience.
You can expect an increase in the market size of remote desktop software. The industry can grow to around $7 billion by 2029 from some $2.3 billion in 2022. Fortune Business Insights reported the market would post a CAGR of 18% within the forecast period.
The growth is due to the rising popularity of remote work, requiring software that delivers real-time access to business data worldwide. The “bring your own device” policy in organizations has also spurred the demand for remote desktop applications.
The study further notes that the pandemic made remote work software a sought-after tool across industries, including healthcare, telecommunications, and education.
The Different BPO Services in Healthcare
The following are 10 BPO services that healthcare providers can outsource.
1. IT Systems
A BPO firm provides healthcare organizations with a team of IT experts to help meet their digitization needs. Healthcare professionals’ primary tasks are not related to handling technical functions such as help desks, troubleshooting, system management, and data security.
A BPO service provider manages and enhances digital processes such as:
- Coding and billing procedures. Expedite insurance claims, payments, and invoice processes.
- Cloud computing networks. Handle, store, and organize large amounts of data efficiently.
- Electronic billing and payment systems. Expedite the submission of medical bills and claims and the receipt of payments via automation.
- Patient databases. Help maintain, update, and secure patient information.
2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM facilitates the interaction between healthcare practitioners and prospective and current patients. This function offers prompt support, valuable insights, and accurate information to advance patient service.
Outsourcing CRM helps medical institutions boost customer satisfaction to increase and retain their patient base. More patients encountered, engaged, and treated means higher revenue.
A BPO service provider uses healthcare CRM applications that are compliant with security protocols. The software allows professionals to access patient history and test results to inform a diagnosis.
Other benefits of the CRM platform include:
- Streamlining various patient data
- Automating sales and marketing processes
- Refining patient service, engagement, and treatment
3. Revenue Cycle Management (RCM)
RCM tracks revenue from healthcare services provided to patients. This extensive process begins with the patient’s initial encounter with a medical provider and ends with their final bill settlement.
RCM processes include:
- Preregistration – gathering patient details (e.g., insurance coverage, health background, demographic) before they show up for medical procedures
- Registration – updating and verifying information collected during preregistration to ensure patient details are correct
- Coding – inputting diagnoses and clinical procedures
- Charge capture – processing healthcare services into invoices
- Claims submission – sending insurance claims to private or public insurers
- Patient collections – computing patient balances and collecting payments
4. Supply Chain Management (SCM)
SCM oversees the stocks of medical and pharmaceutical resources. It monitors the flow of goods from the suppliers to the medical facility, ensuring patients receive proper medication and treatment.
A BPO provider helps healthcare organizations with their supply chain operations, including:
- Acquiring goods, products, and materials for purchasing
- Establishing and organizing logistics
- Dispatching the requested resources to professionals for patient use
A service provider facilitates the healthcare industry’s complex and scattered SCM. It ensures efficient resource delivery to all the parties involved.
5. Human Resources (HR)
HR tackles healthcare tasks related to:
- Advertising job opportunities
- Screening, interviewing, and testing candidates
- Hiring, onboarding, and training new talent
- Managing pay schedules and issues
- Selecting benefits and other compensation
- Promoting, retaining, and terminating staff as needed
- Clarifying company policies and legal requirements
Operating an in-house HR division in healthcare is time-consuming, costly, and people-intensive. A BPO service provider offers its team to the client to resolve these issues.
6. Accounting and Bookkeeping
Medical BPO services allow third-party vendors to manage a healthcare organization’s financial transactions and data. The vendor provides in-depth recordkeeping, analysis, and reporting of such data. A third-party team consists of:
- Accounts receivable specialists
- Budget planners
- Data analysts
- Debt collection professionals
- Financial analysts
- Insurance claims processors
- Payroll processors
- Tax auditors
These financial experts offer services such as:
- Annual financial report preparation
- Financial division setup
- Limited liability company (LLC) formation
- Managing liabilities (e.g., loans, credits, account payables)
- Payroll processing
- Tax preparation and auditing
A service provider helps healthcare companies increase income collection and decrease financial losses. It uses the latest financial technology to generate accurate and real-time data for better decision-making.
7. Medical Transcription
Medical professionals often record their clinical reports to track findings and monitor patient health. They need specialized transcriptionists to convert their audio recordings into written records.
Transcription is a burdensome process for healthcare practitioners; it distracts them from patient service. A BPO company provides transcription services to allow professionals to focus on their areas of expertise.
Additionally, the service provider gathers and sends compliance requirements for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The law guarantees the complete security and safety of a patient’s personal and sensitive records.
8. Data Entry
Healthcare organizations deal with large amounts of data on patients, medical facilities, claims, and billings. These require regular encoding, updates, and corrections.
A team of contractors inputs information into the database systems for processing.
The following are types of information in the data-entry processes.
- Clinical records show patients’ medical history, clinical findings, and medication.
- Laboratory reports and orders consist of samples of a patient’s blood, urine, and tissues.
- Nursing records and progress notes detail patient progress, treatment, and medication based on the nursing record.
- Patient health insurance states the full or partial share of the individual’s medical expenses.
- Prescriptions and drug inventory is the supply of pharmaceutical products.
9. Medical Coding
Medical coding entails managing patient health documents. To do their job, clinical coders or nosologists apply a classification system. They convert healthcare procedures, services, and diagnoses into industry-standard numeric and alphanumeric codes.
Below are common coding systems in healthcare:
- Diagnosis Related Group (DRG). This is a system classifying hospitalization costs. Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers use this to determine the amount to reimburse for a patient’s hospital stay.
- International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The global standard is a set of diagnostic codes that categorize diseases.
- Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS). This group of codes shows the products and services insurance beneficiaries might receive.
- Current Procedural Terminology (CPT). Insurers use codes in numeric or alphanumeric characters. Every medical, surgical, and diagnostic service has a designated code.
10. Medical Billing
Medical companies allow BPO providers to handle patients’ insurance details and file claims with insurers. Medical billers pursue and collect payments from insurance providers and patients to improve the revenue stream.
Healthcare companies outsource medical billing to take advantage of the BPO firm’s expertise. They can maximize insurance reimbursements with outsourcing.
Remote Work for BPO Services in Healthcare
Healthcare providers have dramatically adjusted their strategies and operations since the pandemic. Employees have also changed their work preferences. Many have opted to work remotely for flexibility and safety reasons.
Meanwhile, the demand for BPO services in healthcare keeps growing.
Advantages of Remote Work for BPO Services in Healthcare
Consider the business and employee benefits of outsourcing services in a remote work setup:
- Comfortable work setup. Employees can build their own office or workspace as they see fit. They don’t have to worry about annoying coworkers with their office arrangements. Working in an environment suited to their liking increases employee concentration and productivity.
- Reduced absenteeism and tardiness. Sometimes employees fail to report or stay at work as needed. One reason for high absenteeism and tardiness is commuting. Traveling to and from work is taxing for many. A remote team does not need to commute, reducing late arrivals and absences.
- Decreased equipment expenses. Businesses can enjoy reduced operating costs when they adopt a WFH arrangement. They no longer need to invest in expensive equipment such as desktops, laptops, photocopiers, ergonomic chairs, and printers. Many employees prefer to use their own devices when working.
- Lower office rentals. Business owners require smaller office spaces when many employees work remotely. They can even let go of their main office and hire affordable conference rooms instead of in-person meetings.
- A larger pool of talent. Employers have more qualified professionals to choose from. They can hire local and foreign talent. With remote applicants, businesses can save money on compensation, training, and relocation. They can also quickly fill vacant positions as more prospects wait in line.
- More productive time. Third-party team members working from home use their work shifts more productively. A physical office distracts employees with ringing phones, water cooler talk, and office politics. Some staff members prefer to work in a quiet environment because it improves their creativity and output.
Disadvantages of Remote Work for BPO Services in Healthcare
Businesses must also be aware of the following possible drawbacks of remote work:
- Staff burnout. Remote work blurs the line between one’s career and personal life. This might cause higher job-related stress and employee burnout. Flexible working hours bring certain perks, but some team members lose track of time. They work extra hours daily as a result.
- Security issues. Using the internet, email, and other telecommuting functions might expose sensitive information to threat actors. Healthcare providers process patient data that hackers can exploit for profit. Data theft by employees is also possible.
- Loneliness. Working from home tends to isolate employees. This scenario might result in loneliness, especially when the person is used to the traditional office setup where socialization is encouraged. Loneliness might also lead to a loss of motivation in the long run.
Top Remote Jobs for BPO Services in Healthcare
Below are remote employment opportunities in the healthcare BPO industry:
- Medical call center representatives receive calls and assist patients and other inquirers.
- Telephone triage nurses deliver patient care, assess symptoms, and advise treatment via telehealth services.
- Medical writers conduct research and develop written materials about medical advancements and updates.
- Medical billers evaluate and process patients’ insurance claims to receive payment from insurers.
- Pharmacists release medications based on prescriptions and explain possible effects to consumers.
- Medical transcriptionists convert healthcare professionals’ notes and patient information from voice recordings to clear, written documents.
- Health information technicians protect healthcare providers’ vital medical records (e.g., insurance, diagnoses, treatments).
- Nurse managers oversee medical employees and determine the best possible patient care.
- Healthcare recruiters search for qualified job candidates to hire and negotiate employment terms.
How To Effectively Outsource BPO Services in Healthcare for Remote Work
Switching to remote healthcare BPO services requires proper planning, transparent workflow standards, and clear security protocols. Explore these pointers for an effective setup:
- Draft a remote work policy. Determine the dos and don’ts of employee conduct. Ensure that the third-party team and the healthcare client are on the same page for smooth workflow, better collaboration, and stronger teamwork.
- Identify parameters. Specify work, communication, and productivity goals. Provide the team with all the information they need to complete their tasks. Set exact but realistic deadlines and expectations. Give WFH employees precise instructions to maximize results.
- Supply remote staff with proper tools. Employees must use company-owned laptops, headsets, and hardware unless they prefer to use their own. The company must also provide the necessary software. Decide whether to have employees pay for their internet connection fully or partially.
- Secure and protect data. Use virtual private networks (VPNs) and reliable antivirus software to encrypt information over the internet and safeguard data from attacks. Use a password manager to generate and store strong passwords for company accounts. Each team member must also use unique passwords for added security.
- Conduct regular virtual meetings. Third-party team leaders must hold frequent video or audio meetings to learn more about their members’ progress and well-being. Remote employees need a space to interact with others to ask questions, voice concerns, and build stronger working relationships with them.
- Use dependable collaboration applications. Invest in easy-to-use communication tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, and Asana. They are ideal for sharing files and reports and discussing projects. Choose apps that are compatible with various third-party tools to get more features.
The Bottom Line
Undoubtedly, BPO services play a significant role in the healthcare industry. It is a proven strategy that enables organizations to save time, money, and effort. The best part is that it lets clinical professionals serve their patients better.
Similarly, remote work benefits employees, BPO providers, and healthcare clients. The WFH setup allows service providers to meet the outsourcing needs of medical institutions.
Nonetheless, both BPO and healthcare providers must track the performance and productivity of remote work teams to guarantee high-quality service.