The past three years have brought a level of turbulence to the healthcare landscape that we have not seen before. Historically, we have seen the wheels of change in our industry move quite slowly. However, Covid forced a pendulum swing that forced us all to go from reactive to proactive virtually overnight. What was once desirable is now commonplace from both a patient and clinical perspective, including remote patient monitoring (RPM), telehealth services, and working from home.
The willingness of the industry to adapt to these unprecedented changes is due in part to the acceptance of the fact that we I can not do everything What do I mean by that? As an industry, we should welcome the help of managed service providers to offset the workplace challenges we face and create a more sustainable healthcare environment.
Although not new, managed services have gained popularity over the past three years, particularly in the healthcare world. Whether it’s application services for your EMR, service desk support, staffing, or any other need, a managed services partner can take your organization to the next level while providing the one thing money can’t buy – calmness. In this article, I set out to debunk three myths that are often associated with managed services.
Myth #1: More is better
Just as you wouldn’t expect your lawn maintenance company to renovate your kitchen, you can’t expect your clinical team to play the role of expert on patient finance, help desk support, or any other pain point(s) you deal with. you encounter . By adopting a “less is more” approach, you’ll be able to pinpoint what your core competencies are as an organization and what areas you can comfortably hand off to a trusted partner.
In my work, I often see this play out in one of two ways. Sometimes companies take the approach when they need direct support for day-to-day tasks so they can prioritize the bigger picture strategy. In this scenario, much like a football game, the managed services partner plays defense by handling the day-to-day operational needs that come with running a hospital, such as controlling calls. By eliminating the 600-800 requests that historically tied up your staff each month, your team is able to focus on higher-level strategic planning and execution of initiatives for the organization.
The reverse scenario can also work. Perhaps your team wants to focus on executing day-to-day operations, but needs help developing a long-term, high-level strategic plan that will improve patient care and drive organizational growth. In this scenario, a managed services partner can offer consulting services to drive this initiative and provide qualified resources to deliver results, offering their unique expertise and consistently checking in to ensure steps are taken to achieve of the ultimate goal.
Whichever situation feels right for you, remember this: you can’t and shouldn’t do everything. Identify your core competencies and ask for help with the others.
Myth #2: Managed services = poor patient experience
One of the concerns we often hear from organizations looking to outsource is that customer service, especially in the area of patient satisfaction, will suffer. That’s just not the case with good managed services companies, and for good reason—users often don’t know the difference between in-house staff and your managed services team. If anything, we’ve seen the customer experience improve with a managed services partner because the level of expertise and type of issue can be resolved much more efficiently.
Managed services are often the first point of contact patients have with doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals. In most cases, team members are newly labeled and work as an extension of the IT team, helping to improve patient engagement without being an actual service provider. By managing office colleagues as the first line of defense for the organization, you can free up your internal staff to be more innovative and collaborative and less burdened with time-consuming requests.
We all know what it’s like to have less than satisfactory customer service and research proved that it only takes one bad experience for a patient to delay care or switch providers. The survey also found that only one in three patients, or 33% of the 1,800 adult patients surveyed, could say they had never had a bad patient experience. The moral of the story? Trust a respected managed services partner who can help you take the patient experience to the next level.
Myth #3: Internal teams will suffer
The question I hear in almost every consulting session with a healthcare organization is, “What will happen to my internal staff?” While this is a valid concern and usually associated with outsourcing, fear not. In most, if not all, cases, your staff will benefit immensely from the improvement they receive from a managed services partner and make your organization more successful in the long run.
A major reason for this is that outsourcing your most demanding or time-consuming tasks to a third party removes your best talent from the equation. Common problems such as help desk support tickets often end up on senior management’s desk, requiring them to spend a lot of energy on solutions. Not only is this a threat to efficiency, but it can also lead to employee burnout and poaching from other top employers in the industry.
I have seen numerous use cases of organizations draining their key employees of training, education and other invaluable learning opportunities as a result of outsourcing. These leaders go from good to great, and much, if not all, of this is due to better allocation of resources and understanding of core competencies from an organizational level. Managed services can empower your in-house team to do what they do best while maintaining organizational integrity and continuity of care.
How to start?
Are you ready to take the leap to improving your organization through outsourcing? Now that we’ve busted some myths, here are some steps to get you started:
- Identify core competencies. Do you want to reduce calls that are escalated to senior management, costing your organization time and money? Are you really good at registration but want more strategy around patient follow-up? Whatever your core competencies are, write them down. From there you can identify the gaps.
- Bring everyone to the table. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating – managed services is a team sport. You need all stakeholders at the table to make sure core competencies are accounted for as well as pain points that need work. Involve everyone from the clinician side to the HIM team, ensuring all your key stakeholders are covered.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. While engaging a managed services partner is an effective way to invest in the overall health of your organization, success is rarely achieved overnight. Remember to be patient and set clear expectations, as you would with any vendor relationship.
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