By Austin Ridgeway, Director, Sales Support and Business Development, HGS Healthcare
Healthcare has definitely been making strides toward providing a member and patient experience to rival consumer-centric disruption of other industries. But while healthcare has been slightly behind the B2C curve, payers and providers are actually leading other industries when it comes to leveraging business process outsourcing (BPO) strengths such as co-creation, design thinking, and lifecycle referenceablility of processes. Faced with the heightened prioritization of customer needs, experience, and value stream impact, health organizations are more familiar than most industries with BPOs and the value they can deliver.
Over the years, the healthcare market has relied on outsourcing partners that bring strategic insights, optimization, and efficiencies to critical operations. Today’s more evolved healthcare BPO partnerships speak to the dramatic shifts in how the industry is assessing vendors, and also to the maturity of healthcare’s adoption of these resources. Healthcare organizations—managing a fine and often challenging balance of front- and back-office demands—have worked closely with BPO providers to adapt to changing market trends, technology, and customer demand. And the BPO approach has matured from an outsourced, single locale solution to coordinated efforts across geographies to optimize talent allocation, process efficiency, and data analysis.
Some may say that these changes pose challenges to the outsourcing model; however, it is actually the opposite—and notably for healthcare’s reliance on end-to-end solutions. Over the past 40 years of outsourcing’s history, many BPO organizations have transcended their roles as providers of labor arbitrage and consistently shown themselves to be true ambassadors of transformation.
Today’s healthcare BPO partner builds significant client ROI from these key strategic priorities:
- Capacity augmentation. Historically, healthcare organizations have leaned on BPOs for scalability. These providers and payers don’t want to expand beyond and break an opex goal, so they cocreate and rely on a BPO partner to bring additional resources, solutions, and innovation. Typically when sourcing for a partner, healthcare organizations rely on vendors that can improve on capacity planning and offer solutions such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to augment existing resources within the process. Through these initiatives, organizations can reduce effort and close operational gaps that in turn can help with scaling back some operational expenses.
- Challenger mindset. In the quest to keep bettering their own organizations, payers and providers are increasingly looking to BPOs for a neutral business perspective and vast domain insights, tools, and talent. To this point, healthy competition helps to shake up a cultural mindset and drive organizational change. Often an outsourcer is brought in as challenger to internal operations champion, driving competition to improve productivity. The net result of increased pressure to succeed can be higher quality scores, improved turnaround times, and, ultimately, better member and patient satisfaction.
- Cultural assimilation and alignment. Gone are the days when offshore locales were viewed as a secondary to onshore locations. With the increased focus on globalization, there has been more direct alignment—and even assimilation of partner and client cultures. This includes the fact that BPOs can fill a niche as a brand ambassador with retailhoned CX skills, and also bring access to wider customer base.
- Market differentiation. In recent years, there has been a shift to more consultative services—beyond lift and shift. Today’s BPOs are equipped with bestin-class solutions, and they have the scale to launch them to a broader market. The ramp and speed-to-market is often accelerated with the right BPO, one that can best work across a client’s own internal siloes and bring positive impact to other areas of the business. As an expert in PoCs, today’s BPO providers can pilot multiple capabilities to truly transform endto-end processes and bring value outside of traditional KPIs and SLAs. HGS, for example, has become more focused on cocreating and incubating innovation that drives improved outcomes for our client’s patient and member bases.
No matter the strategy—good BPO partnerships are built on the principles of lean operations, and also co-creation, design thinking, and globalization. Those organizations that view BPO as strictly a cost-cutting measure are missing out on the real value. And that’s the meaningful changes that help eliminate siloes and align objectives in order to achieve true operational and engagement impact.