Five Ways Outsourcing can help you Grow your Healthcare Business
Every year brings significant changes and new opportunities for sharp and forward-thinking entrepreneurs. So what exactly will these opportunities be? A range of experts offers their views on where outsourcing is going and where you should go too.
The healthcare industry in India is undergoing a massive change, one that’s only obvious to those who are involved in it. It’s a generation and mindset shift. Up until even two decades ago, most of the hospitals were owned by doctor-promoters, government or charitable trusts. They were reliant on traditional forms of working and many regarding family-first approach. Now, however, rapid change in the way companies are owned, has also meant that there is increasingly change in the way they are run.
India is still a problematic country though. Here, established family businesses that have reputation and credibility built over many generations tend to win customers than credentialed businesses with new blood.
Does the old and new benefit from outsourcing in the relationship-driven healthcare sector? Here are five ways, in which it will help grow a healthcare business
1. Expert Opinion
It is very likely that the consultant will have experiences with companies similar to the current company. They get to tap into their expertise and offer a broader perspective on the problems at hand. Because they are embedded into the industry in which they consult, they are well-informed of the latest developments and will use and apply this knowledge to help the healthcare business. Further, they are also unaffected by the organisations, day-to-day politics, culture, hierarchy and resistance to change. Outsourced consultants can, therefore, provide opinions and suggestions without having to worry about potential repercussions.
Tapping on the expertise of local or regional level consultants makes even more sense for new players that are venturing into new territory. Often, new businesses neglect to consider the implication of regulatory and cultural sensitivities. Hence, it is best to rely on the advice of an experienced consultant.
Amit Mookim, General Manager, South Asia, IQVIA, points out that today outsourcing in healthcare is restricted to two or three areas. “Today many hospitals outsource the development of technological solutions like HIS, EMR to other players. These companies have the expertise, and it is much easier to deploy these solutions,” he explains. He also notes that there are several merits in outsourcing non-clinical services as these agencies provide trained workforce and the management doesn’t have to worry about future problems like employee-unions. “There are some players, who outsource maintenance and management of equipment like imaging equipment. It increases the efficiency of the organisation. However, outsourcing in the healthcare sector is still in a very nascent stage, and end-to-end operations outsourcing is still not popular in India,” he adds.
2. Make most of Out of your Efforts
How often do managers take a step back and take time to review and report on business activities? For instance, Return on investment (ROI) on measurable results versus time spent, for marketing and business development unit is a good example. “Most of the time, many don’t know how much return they get from marketing events. However, it’s tough to measure effectiveness in the daily grind of businesses. An external consultant can analyse processes, results and suggest room for improvement,” says Dr Rashi Agarwal, Director, Praxis Healthcare.
Further, consultants work is mostly project-based, they are used to jumping in with little notice and can usually adapt very quickly. “Most importantly, they can be mobilised when you need them. We have supplied pharmacists to government hospitals, who can’t hire more people on their payroll to fulfil their urgent requirement,” adds Agarwal.
3. Consultants can help Build the Perfect Team
Consulting companies usually have a vast network of service partners who perform services that are complementary to their own. “If you look at outsourcing, there are more benefits than disadvantages; that’s why the industry is moving more towards outsourcing. There are huge savings involved in outsourcing. Often consultant can act as a reliable middleman when helping you to procure and manage other subcontractors. Not only does it give time to focus on core business, but you might also get preferential rates as a result of pre-existing relationships in the eco-system,” says Dr. Usha Nair, Mumbai City Head, Business Development, Healthfin. Nair also points out that there is no guarantee, that the newly hired employee, will have the necessary skill sets to perform the job in the Indian job market. However, partners often provide employees, who can do the job from day one. They also take care of monitoring of these employees, so that hospitals can focus more on the outcomes, rather than non-clinical functions.”
4 Effective Decision-Making
Managers regularly make strategic decisions that affect the organisations’ survival and success. Sometimes decisions are irreversible or expensive to reverse. “When I outsource my housekeeping unit to an external contractor, I don’t have to spend the time to train the manager or the patient relationship executives, and focus on good decisions related to care,” adds Nair. There is a dearth of highly skilled and highly qualified experts in the healthcare sector. So, it’s common to find hospitals already sharing resources like specialists with each other. “But now many want to keep the specialists on their roll, like Apollo Hospitals in Mumbai. So they try to outsource, non-clinical functions.”
5. Get Things Done
The right decisions are the building blocks of organisations. Whether a hospital is a success or not is an outcome of several choices managers takes from the beginning. Corporate hospitals often focus on economies of scale. Also, outsourcing helps to improve efficiency. “If you take HR roles of an organisation, minor functions like recruitment are often outsourced, but senior management roles are always kept in-house,” Nair concludes.