Outsourcing EHR provides a latent strategic and competitive advantage to healthcare providers. Along with cost reduction, it streamlines operational workflows, enables time optimization, improves resource utilization, enhances patient-care systems, and creates revenue maximization opportunities.
Healthcare service providers are increasingly facing performance pressure in terms of delivering quality patient care. In order to stay competitive, they also have to lower spending to align themselves better with budgetary constraints. Other than Cost benefits, outsourcing EHR implementation helps healthcare providers to increase profits, better manage capacity crunches, and slump in operational performance.
Let’s find out more about the challenges involved in paper-based healthcare records, and how outsourcing EHR activity resolves all of them; making it a smart step for the healthcare industry.
What are the disadvantages of paper-based healthcare systems?
Relying on paper-based patient care and hospital records prove inefficient and unnecessarily dissipates the efforts of healthcare service providers. The constant rise in data volumes and unfulfilled requirement of efficient processes in place makes the entire operational setup of the healthcare service provider difficult to manage because the paper-based system is:
- Not scalable, owing to the ever-increasing space requirement for the storage of physical paper files.
- Offers a fragile backup framework and poor security, since physical storage is vulnerable to natural disasters such as fire, wind, storm, water leakage, etc. or can be tampered for information misuse.
- Is extremely time-consuming and vulnerable to errors because the efficiency of each operator isn't the same.
- Doesn’t offer a standard process to ensure uniform data management structure or layout leaving a greater room for inconsistency.
- Offers no assurance of robust audit mechanisms, since version histories aren’t managed uniformly and with an equal degree of correctness.
Read our blog on why electronic document processing is essential for today’s healthcare providers
What is Electronic Health Records (EHRs)?
EHRs are basically electronic versions of patients’ healthcare records, which enable efficient gathering and storing of the health records electronically. Primarily, by standardizing the entire data capturing and storing framework, EHR creates streamlined workflows and enables efficient access to patient information.
While it eliminates the operational costs associated with paper and ink, the major benefits are to improve operational efficiencies, overcome the requirement of physical storage which is a major cost component in the traditional paper-based model. The concept gained prominence as its application has proven to be a path-breaker for many healthcare providers.
Why Outsourcing EHR is a Smart Step for the Healthcare industry
While EHR adoption is nearly on the top, optimizing IT/EHR performance and overcoming staff shortages are the other most significant challenges health care service providers face. Due to these; 32% of all healthcare outsourcing requests in the US are for EHR implementation and support.
The primary function of Healthcare data management consultants is to ensure efficient patient treatment and care system. While electronic penetration for the betterment of operational workflows can prove advantageous, healthcare organizations cannot sacrifice the quality of their core competencies.
In light of this consideration, outsourcing EHR stands the right choice for healthcare providers, because of outsourcing EHR:
1. Improved patient care
Reports by HealthIT.gov suggest that 75% of healthcare providers claim that appropriate implementation of EHR enables them to provide better patient care.
Statistics do speak that EHR implementation comes with many benefits for healthcare providers. However, with the decision to implement it in-house, medical practitioners are forced to get involved in non-productive, secondary, mundane, routine administrative operations that can affect the overall productivity of the healthcare provider.
When outsourced, the EHR implementation comes with manifold benefits, the foremost being an increased focus on understanding patient problems which helps deliver the right care. Outsourcing, therefore, helps keep practitioners away from non-clinical tasks, which enables them to dedicate their entire work time for effective coordination with patients.
2. Customization and core competency
To align the theoretical EHR implementation framework along customized requirements is much easier with outsourcing, owing to quick resource availability and the inexpensive nature of the deal. Customization, otherwise, through limited internal resources can become an infeasible task for the healthcare provider.
Outsourcing enables diverting attention towards and prioritizing core activities. Along with improved patient care, the initiative also helps in enabling stakeholders to free themselves from admin work and concentrate on long-term growth initiatives such as marketing and sales.
3. Enhances resource flexibility and offers operational scalability
The enormity of EHR can demand resource alteration at any time. Resources – man or machine – may require to be added or reduced based on operational needs. Outsourcing helps in configuring resources as and when needed and therefore, meets the requirements of healthcare providers at short notices. This usually proves infeasible with an in-house setup, given the mismatch between the degree of requirements and available time.
4. Reduction in skill acquisition and training costs
A couple of important components complete EHR implementation in a true sense. These are human technical experts, automated data capture technologies such as OCR (Optical Character Recognition), OMR (Optical Mark Recognition), Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR), etc., and data storage mechanisms and framework.
Outsourcing allows healthcare providers to have these resources readily available at much lower costs as compared to what the organization might have to incur through building in-house functions. Along with being a cost-effective solution, the employed professionals are well adepts at shifting requirements.
5. Improves accuracy of health record maintenance
The increasing frequency of patient admission demands faster record processing. Outsourcing EHR helps healthcare providers to accomplish this and allows them to experience faster cycle times. The shortening of revenue cycle time is facilitated by greater accuracy offered by well-trained and experienced professional technical experts, as well as the application of automation-enabled advanced technologies.
Undoubtedly, EHR implementation is imperative for today’s healthcare service providers. However, plagued with the dilemma over outsourced or in-house implementation, cost-benefit analysis results go with the former choice since non-core activities are rightly diverted to dedicated experts.
Outsourcing easily offers an effective blend of robust processes, smart professionals, and advanced technologies, so that healthcare providers can have optimized and scalable solutions. The positive impact of the initiative is that it helps healthcare providers to offer patient-centered care, and creates the opportunity for the organization to utilize capital savings for growing untouched business areas. Last but not the least, outsourcing creates a greater room for competitive advantage, by giving a global outlook to healthcare organizations.