- US healthcare providers in a rush to meet deadlines following the 2009-2010 healthcare reforms
- Global outsourcing industry to cash in from current changes; massive opportunites in EMR implementation and RCM
- Huge demand for healthcare outsourcing professionals, particularly coding and billing professionals
The Obama administration has been spearheading several changes to the expensive and inadequate US healthcare system. Cost pressures along with the after-effects of the recent economic meltdown have triggered major reforms intended to control healthcare costs and provide universal coverage. These healthcare reforms, enacted in 2009-2010, pose significant challenges for healthcare providers including:
- a potential increase (estimated to be about 30 million) in the volume of records driven by the rise in the number of insured people
- the need to identify, test and adopt electronic medical/health records (EMR/EHR), obtain certification, and demonstrate their meaningful use by 2014
- the need to upgrade all revenue cycle management (RCM) recording systems
There are significant outsourcing opportunities resulting from code and standard updates that healthcare providers need to meet by the stipulated deadlines. RCM vendors can help their end clients meet HIPAA 5010 and International Classification of Diseases (ICD) conversion upgrades. For example, healthcare providers (or even large US-based RCM vendors) will need to outsource to companies who can help them implement ICD version 9 to 10 conversions on a large scale by October 2013. Indian vendors, especially large and mid-sized RCM vendors, can cash in on this opportunity as they have the advantages of:
- cost effective infrastructure
- established position to move up from base level jobs like transcription to higher RCM jobs
- ample scalable workforce and volume absorption capacity
Similarly, US healthcare reforms and the resultant challenges for the industry are creating a window of unique opportunities for IT vendors. For example, implementation and maintenance of EMR/EHR systems is reportedly a $20 billion IT outsourcing opportunity. Global IT-BPO and healthcare ITES vendors have the opportunity to offer advisory and consulting services – such as interface development for a client’s existing EMR systems, testing and implementing upgrades, and helping them obtain mandated certification. Vendors can also add value by training client’s staff and providing ongoing and post implementation support.
Runa Mookerjee, analyst, ValueNotes Sourcing Practice, says, “We believe that there are four types of vendors who are best positioned to make the most of the current challenges in the healthcare market – large BPOs, large and mid-sized RCM vendors, KPOs with niche healthcare offerings and healthcare IT vendors. The opportunities that they have are spread across RCM services, KPO and analytics, conversion and compliance, EMR/EHR implementation, and IT advisory and consultancy services.” She adds, “Besides, this is also a period of immense recruitment activity, not just for the provider market, but also for the healthcare outsourcing industry.”
ValueNotes’ latest report on the healthcare outsourcing industry – Obamacare: Outsourcing opportunities in revenue cycle management – identifies specific changes that will affect the healthcare provider market, challenges in adapting to the resultant regulatory and procedural upheavals. It also discusses the various opportunities that outsourcing vendors can avail as a result of these reforms. Buyers of outsourcing can benefit from an overview of the current vendor landscape and chose from vendors best positioned to deliver.
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