Written by Joyce Ann Danieles
Medical providers and business process outsourcing (BPO) companies have something in common. They both need to constantly innovate to meet their clients’ ever-changing demands.
Healthcare organizations must provide a high-quality experience for their patients. Meanwhile, healthcare BPO companies support such organizations by offering modern, cost-efficient solutions.
But before contracting third-party services, medical providers need to understand the latest healthcare outsourcing trends. This article outlines valuable insights to guide your BPO investment plan.
Read on to learn more.
What Is Healthcare BPO?
Healthcare BPO is when medical organizations outsource their back-office or front-office functions to third-party service providers. Healthcare businesses of all sizes outsource to streamline their non-clinical processes. They aim to reduce operating expenses and focus on providing compassionate patient care.
BPO companies help medical providers scale their businesses and strengthen their competitive advantage by performing such non-core tasks as:
- Medical Transcription: Transcribe voice recordings made by healthcare professionals.
- Medical Billing: Categorize medical costs, distribute invoices, and collect payments.
- Data Entry: Input data into word processing software for storage and management.
- Claims Processing: Assess and validate medical claim requests.
- Medical Coding: Translate patient records into universal codes to ensure accuracy.
The Healthcare BPO Market and Its Growth Drivers
As more healthcare businesses rely on outsourcing, the BPO sector will expand even further. Precedence Research reported a global healthcare BPO value of over $334.2 billion in 2021. It expects the market to reach nearly $756 billion by 2030 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of almost 9.5%.
According to the research firm, efforts to address increasing medical expenses, fraudulent activities, and backlogs drive market growth. Below are other factors and healthcare outsourcing trends influencing the expansion.
Pandemic Increases Reliance on Outsourcing
The pandemic hampered the healthcare sector’s growth. Office closures and strict lockdowns delayed or halted medical research and development as well as treatments and check-ups for patients. Because of their profit loss, medical providers have contracted with BPO partners to help keep their businesses afloat by outsourcing certain tasks.
Third-party companies make every effort to support both clinical and non-clinical processes. They streamline non-core tasks such as financial services, data management, and customer service for low costs. This allows clinicians to focus on providing superb patient care, both in-person and increasingly virtual.
Cost Reduction Pushes BPO Adoption
In-house teams for non-core functions need considerable funding. But even with costly resource requirements, they do not ensure investment returns. Healthcare organizations can instead hire third-party service providers to reduce expenses.
Healthcare businesses no longer need to invest in infrastructure or real estate when outsourcing. They do not need to hire and train extra workers during peak season, either. BPO companies already have skilled personnel to handle administrative tasks quickly and efficiently.
BPO companies also use advanced software systems to speed up repetitive processes. They have a remote or hybrid work setup, further reducing costs to clients.
Healthcare BPO services are payable through a fixed, long-term contract or on a pay-as-a-you-need basis. These payment terms offer flexibility, reducing expenses by letting clients only pay for select resources. Such benefits attract more medical providers to keep up with the latest healthcare outsourcing trends.
North America Leads Industry Expansion
According to Research and Markets, North America dominates the healthcare BPO market and might continue to do so until 2027. Precedence Research backs this up, revealing that the region accounted for 48% of the revenue share in 2021.
Meanwhile, R&M says that the U.S. holds the region’s largest BPO market share. The country’s healthcare system depends on specialized professionals for smooth and cost-efficient operations. The increasing adoption of healthcare IT outsourcing also contributed to the regional market’s growth.
Cyber Threats Restrain Market Growth
Despite the positive outcomes, the healthcare BPO sector is as vulnerable as any other sector to cyberattacks. In its 2022 report, Protenus recorded 678 hacking incidents in 2021, marking a 44% increase year over year. These cases compromised nearly 44 million patient records, making them vulnerable to identity theft and exploitation.
Poor internal patient data control, inefficient top management support, and insufficient staff training can contribute to cybersecurity incidents. Out-of-date policies and procedures also contribute to the risks.
If medical providers do not work closely with their BPO partners, both parties could face high prevention and mitigation costs. Cyber incidents might also damage their reputations, weakening trust in their brands.
Five Healthcare Outsourcing Trends in 2023
The global health crisis highlighted the need to expedite non-clinical processes and focus on improved patient care. Medical companies rely on the healthcare BPO industry to provide affordable, high-quality service.
Due to such demands, BPO companies focus on optimizing advanced technologies that help them transform clinical workplace setups and patient experience. BPO partners also explore ways to address workforce shortages in the healthcare sector. They intend to meet the growing outsourcing needs of clients while ensuring a competitive edge.
Let us discuss five key healthcare outsourcing trends currently shaping the industry. This will help you understand how BPO providers address the outsourcing needs of healthcare businesses.
1. Increasing Artificial Intelligence (AI) Use
Healthcare businesses deal with massive medical records and inquiries daily. Since the pandemic, there has been a surge in patients visiting health facilities and online systems. The resulting heavy workloads can impact how well healthcare professionals deliver health services.
Fortunately, modern technology helps healthcare organizations streamline their non-core functions. But operating and maintaining such technologies in-house demands money and effort. They instead adopt medical BPO services to optimize advanced technology at affordable costs.
Service providers use AI-powered solutions to efficiently and accurately accomplish administrative tasks. They enable the advancement of healthcare products and services by handling tedious activities such as:
- Health data collection, compilation, and management
- Medical bills, payments, and claims processing
- Medical transcription and coding
- Finance and bookkeeping
Moreover, AI technology helps improve front-office functions for healthcare businesses. Third-party contact centers use AI to automate responses to simple, commonly asked questions. Omnichannel capability also allows quick responses no matter which communication platform patients prefer.
In addition to these tools, BPO providers achieve personalized patient support through the following AI-powered self-service options:
- Interactive voice response
- Online community hub
- Video tutorial
- Knowledge base web page
- Automated ticketing system
As the pandemic subsides, BPO companies will continue to implement AI-based solutions and strategies. These approaches offer streamlined back-office and front-office operations while reducing operating expenses. AI also enables medical institutions to support expanding virtual health care.
2. Expanding Telehealth Support
Similar to how businesses moved to telework since the onset of the pandemic, the healthcare sector also adopted telehealth. Clinicians continuously connect with their patients through various telecommunication channels. They use technology to remotely provide immediate care and address everyday patient needs.
Telemedicine includes such services as:
- Injury treatment
- Disease treatment and prevention
- Research and medication
- Patient monitoring
But medical providers need significant upfront capital to manage and maintain such platforms. Smooth telehealth operations also require extra workforce and equipment, adding to their expenses. They thus hire BPO companies to provide telehealth support.
Along with AI, third-party companies use an omnichannel approach to streamline support for patients seeking telehealth services. This strategy lets medical institutions personalize how patients reach out to them. BPO companies help patients contact their healthcare providers through any communication channels — including chat or video calls.
3. Assisting Remote Patient Monitoring
Traditionally, patients visit healthcare providers multiple times for treatments and checkups. But the pandemic made it difficult for them to do so due to strict travel restrictions and health protocols. Doctors and clinicians struggled to track their patient’s health status without advanced solutions.
More often than pre-pandemic, medical providers now tap into BPO vendors to help monitor their patient’s health remotely. These contractors deliver, operate, and maintain electronic health record (EHR) systems. Such EHR platforms allow medical practitioners to seamlessly access, retrieve, and share patient records for smooth remote monitoring.
4. Digitizing Healthcare Experience
One of the essential advantages of healthcare BPO is the ability to digitize patient care experience. Besides providing EHR and omnichannel systems, third-party service providers also offer and deliver support for patient portals. These secure websites give patients 24-hour access to their health data and let them:
- Communicate with their doctors
- Book appointments and checkups
- Monitor health benefits and insurance coverage
- File claims requests
- Make payments
Due to convenience and personalization, patient portals have become mainstream. This healthcare outsourcing trend will continue as online access to medical data becomes the new normal.
5. Increasing Staffing Shortages
Despite advancements in telehealth and digitalization, healthcare organizations still rely on human medical experts. But the pandemic has resulted in severe workforce shortages worldwide. Many healthcare workers have left the field due to overwork and burnout.
More medical organizations turn to BPO companies to address the reduction in workers. BPO partners already have skilled workers, so healthcare organizations do not need to spend extra dollars on hiring, training, and retaining in-house team members. In tough times, BPO contractors ensure cost savings and improve productivity.
Medical providers can scale their workforce according to their seasonal needs without paying a premium for slow days. This setup allows significant cost savings because it is payable through a fixed, long-term contract or on a pay-as-you-need model.
As many healthcare businesses focus on providing excellent patient care, their reliance on the BPO industry will soar.
The Bottom Line
Global challenges continuously influence healthcare BPO market expansion. Events such as the pandemic and the release of new technology also drive crucial changes in healthcare outsourcing trends.
As a result of this evolution, healthcare businesses are under more pressure to innovate their offerings. Even now, omnichannel support is slowly becoming a norm rather than a business advantage.
Third-party service providers help digitize the healthcare experience, expand telehealth support, and improve remote patient monitoring. They even fill up staffing shortages to let medical institutions focus on their core functions and increase cost savings.
Contact the award-winning Unity Communications to begin planning your outsourcing investment.