Outsourcing A Medical Call Center: Soft ROI
Direct labor costs are key comparison factors
Significant returns on investment (ROIs) can be achieved in operating costs
More and more healthcare organizations seek to outsource their business processes than ever before. A 2019 report by Market Research Engine reports that by 2022 the global market for healthcare business process outsourcing (BPO) is expected to exceed $300 billion. A service area that healthcare organizations commonly outsource are their internal nurse triage call centers.
The main driver behind the majority of BPO decisions by healthcare providers is to minimize the strain of healthcare delivery costs…often citing direct labor costs as the key factor. With a growing nursing shortage and historically low unemployment rate, direct labor costs have soared, and providing consistent, 24/7 nurse coverage for varying services and volume levels often results in resource underutilization and a financial burden that the largest and most successful organization struggle to bear. This is why outsourcing nurse triage services makes financial sense. By partnering with an independent medical call center, healthcare providers eliminate productivity fluctuations and significantly reduce the problems associated with underutilized direct labor.
Outsourcing an internal medical call center also delivers many other benefits.
Six Ways Outsourcing Saves Time and Money
By paying only for utilized services on a transactional basis, healthcare providers reduce underutilized services while the outsourced medical call center spreads their operating costs across many clients, allowing individual healthcare organizations to save precious dollars in the following ways.
Facilities and Equipment
Dedicated facility space and related operational expenditures are needed to operate an in-house call center. Each call center representative minimally requires a workspace that includes a desk, telephony, a computer, and headset. Outsourcing mitigates both the start-up and ongoing costs for these workspaces.
Significant costs are incurred with direct hires, and hourly wages are only a small piece. Employment costs also include expenditures for recruitment, onboarding, training, and attrition and replacement of personnel along with any renewable certifications and licensing fees, as are required when maintaining a team of registered nurses. Outsourced call centers have established employment infrastructures and the expertise to ensure appropriate staffing for all client demands, and the costs of the experts are spread among the call center’s entire client base, allowing all clients access to the service levels they need without extra expenditures on human resource and training personnel.
Partnering with an established medical call center removes the costs associated with day-to-day management of call center medical and administrative staff. As specialist service providers, outsourced medical call centers employ managers and staff who have the proven experience needed for top-tier customer service and patient care.
Very specialized, state-of-the-art software is required to manage call center workflows and maintain accurate documentation and EMR integration. This technology often includes elaborate data collection and analysis tools that enable organizations to gain valuable insights for process improvement. Healthcare providers who outsource call center services avoid the substantial investment needed for researching, maintaining, managing and updating the complex technological systems required to provide multi-channel solutions.
Reduced Risk via Quality Review
A Continuous Quality Improvement program and review is crucial to ensuring risk reduction and high-quality service. Specific to crucial measures of call center quality, answer time and first-call resolution are among medical call centers’ highest priorities. Established medical call centers have continuous quality improvement programs are specific to the special tasks required for a healthcare call center along with the monitoring tools, performance assessments, and improvement initiatives needed to ensure client goals and needs are met. To establish quality review and risk assessment programs from scratch takes time and money; however, by choosing an outsourced call center with a high-quality risk assessment and quality improvement program saves the healthcare providers money as well as time.
Flexibility and Scalability
Along with the other employment cost reductions, an outsourced medical call center manages nurse productivity as call volumes rise and fall, enabling call center staff to work more efficiently and reduce costs-per-call. Most also have the staffing volume to ramp up quickly if and when call volumes spike and to deliver consistent coverage 24/7/365.
The final decision on whether to outsource a medical call center ultimately depends on each organization’s mission and vision. What is right for one provider or group of providers may not be the same as for another group. Outsourcing a medical call center provides obvious ROI on direct labor costs along with significant financial benefits across the operational spectrum.