Cutting Edge Outsourcing? Advancements in Healthcare Technology and Outsourcing



Runa Mookerjee
03/15/2012

‘Healthcare technology’ refers to the procedures, equipment, and processes by which medical care is delivered. Because healthcare is a so critical to human well being, almost every area in the medical field uses some type of medical technology- and there is very little that has not been affected by new technology. Examples of recent technology advancement include new medical and surgical procedures (e.g. topological optimisation, a facial reconstructive surgical process), drugs (e.g. inclusion of biologic agents), medical devices (e.g. advanced 3D CT scanners, implantable defibrillators), and new support systems (e.g. electronic medical or health records (EMR/EHR), transmission of information, telemedicine). 


 

Moreover, technological advancements in other areas like mobile and device applications are being integrated to provide unprecedented healthcare enhancements.For example, mobile device applications, healthcare kiosks, bluetooth connected printers and barcode readers and other peripheral devices - that use the power of the internet to make the execution, delivery and process of healthcare faster, more convenient and more accessible. Besides, all the data being generated as a result of these exchanges, as well as traditional healthcare records, are also being tied in and leveraged through the use of analytics (which in itself is a whole new branch of technology and warrants a separate.

Advancements in healthcare technology, apart from improvement of quality of care, are almost always associated with cost cutting. In the US, which has the highest spending on healthcare in the world, healthcare expenditure is over 17% of its GDP and is likely to reach $4 trillion by 2015. Necessary action is being taken to reduce costs through mandatory implementation of EMR/EHR, maintenance of minimum medical loss ratios for hospitals, and an overall emphasis on cost effectiveness. Many healthcare organisations have uses some form of outsourcing, offshoring or a mix of both.

EMR/EHR implementation

$20 billion IT outsourcing opportunity

RCM

$50 billion market in the US 

Medical tourism

$100 billion industry by 2012, catering to over 3 million patients globally

Medical devices

$250 billion market


When technology is combined with outsourcing, it provides a conducive solution to improved cost and resource efficiency. There are several areas where outsourcing has emerged as a ‘service’ to the healthcare industry. A recently released ValueNotes report discusses the opportunities for outsourcing providers in revenue cycle management, IT / IT enabled outsourcing and related areas. Specifically, we believe that recent changes to US healthcare systems has created a window of immense activity for code set conversions, EMR/ EHR implementations, and healthcare IT /ITES  among others. These are by no means the only opportunities for healthcare outsourcing providers. There exist varied opportunities for outsourcing, across each area of expertise, for example, in medical imaging solutions, telemetry/teleradiology  are emerging as a special area of outsourcing. Medical tourism is yet another area, which though not directly ‘outsourcing’, is a unique application of offshoring where ‘low cost destinations’ are sought by the ‘ultimate buyer’ of healthcare services, the individual!

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