The healthcare industry today needs the services of highly specialized healthcare IT professionals due to penetration of new technologies, healthcare reform implementation and the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10. The domination of technology, both in the medical and the process front, has opened up tremendous avenues in growth and demand for clinical healthcare and IT-related services. Outsourcing of such services has helped healthcare providers to get quality results for less money.
Traditionally, healthcare facilities outsourced support functions such as housekeeping, laundry services, food services, and even supply chain management. The scenario has changed and healthcare service providers now rely on third party service providers for many tasks such as data entry, medical coding, medical writing, bio-statics, healthcare and data analytics, and many more. Two areas that have evolved in importance are information technology and clinical services.
Health Care IT (HCIT) outsourcing has grown significantly over the years, attracting a lot of large and mid-sized organizations. Hospitals and medical practices either outsource their entire information management system or major supporting services such as EMR, CRM, and medical billing.
As per a new MarketsandMarkets report, global healthcare IT outsourcing market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.6% to reach $50.4 billion by 2018 from $35 billion in 2013. There are many reasons driving the demand for HCIT outsourcing:
- Support for ICD-10 preparation
- Data capture and analytics
- Access to trained professionals
- Reducing cost and overhead
- Improving focus on core business
- Saving time
Another major trend in global healthcare IT outsourcing is increased adoption of cloud computing and other cloud-based services. Apart from cost benefits, cloud-based IT outsourcing services offer scalability, easy access, uninterrupted service, and flexibility.
Clinical services are another flourishing area in the healthcare outsourcing market. The top five areas in outsourced patient care services have been identified as anesthesia, emergency department staffing, dialysis services, diagnostic imaging and hospitalist staffing. These areas flourish well in outsourcing because:
- They are essential to full-service acute-care hospitals
- They are not dependent on a long-term physician-patient relationship
Focus and expertise in a specific area of medicine has added to the outsourcing of clinical services. Physicians specialized in specific subject, say cardiology, can focus on delivering expertise in this field, which makes the vendor more effective than being part of a management team that has to focus on core responsibilities.
However, studies reveal that certain issues restrain the growth of the clinical IT outsourcing market – the fragmented nature of the healthcare system and HCIT outsourcing market, need for high investment in IT solutions, growing data security concerns, and cultural and language barriers. If these issues are addressed, there is no reason why the healthcare outsourcing market should not have a bright future.