Outsourcing in Healthcare has deep roots, much before the IT revolution. The advent of diagnostic centers was the forebearer of outsourcing, where work which could be remotely conducted & evaluated was separated from hospitals. In healthcare, outsourcing is around Services & IT applications. Overall the world healthcare IT outsourcing market is expected to be a $50 Billion industry by 2018. North America currently is the biggest healthcare market and is slated to grow to $36 Billion in the same period.
“Lean, Six Sigma and new outsourcing ventures are the new ‘in’ in the Healthcare industry”, says Scott Becker, JD, CPA, publisher of Becker’s Healthcare. Notice the word Outsourcing Ventures; Healthcare industry has pioneered and is one of the top 5 sectors where outsourcing is creating tremendous value to buyers, by innovating in IT applications & Product Development.
Increasingly Mobile App development is leading the way and is going to be a huge market in the future. Mobile apps are more suited for Healthcare as the device is personal and fully in control of the user, addressing the prime issue of privacy. Technological innovations and cutting edge digital health solutions allow for remote monitoring and enhanced diagnosis of patient physiology. This requires specialization and articulate skill in diverse fields, such as imaging, adhesives, cloud computing, mobile devices and smartphones, pharmaceuticals, software applications, server hardware, and device manufacturing. It’s very rare that a single enterprise can master all of these capabilities in-house, so an external vendor who can integrate the inputs is extremely essential. This is a function which vendors in outsourcing world perform seamlessly. The outsourced work is a mix of IT Product development and services. Software development for custom applications is a favorite outsourcing item for buyers; as technology is innovating faster than ever before and patient healthcare needs are getting more & more refined.
mHealth is the space to watch. With the penetration of Mobiles at 45 % even in emerging markets and at over 100% in the developed world, technologies such as 3G and 4G networks are furthering the adoption of mobile apps to monitor user body parameters. The devices where such apps will be used are Blood Glucose Meters, BP Monitors, Pulse Oximeters, Neurological Monitoring, Cardiac Monitors, Sleep Monitor, Wearable fitness sensor device and Heart Rate Meters. The companies manufacturing these are outsourcing App Development and drastically reducing the Go-to market time. There is going to be a surge in the outsourcing for mobile Apps, especially from the Mobile & tablet companies from Europe & North America what with mHealth marketed projected to be a $60 Billion industry by 2020.
The new Apple watch has a slew of features relating to health and fitness, though the word is not out if any of it was outsourced. Healthcare industry is now looking at a future when devices such as mobile or watch will help track personal health. “One of the biggest surprises people are going to have when they start using it is the breadth of what it will do,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said early this year at an investor conference.
On the services side Healthcare outsourcing encompasses patient care, data centers & business continuity, revenue cycle – billing & collection, food or environmental services, transcription, CRM and even Health Tourism. On the technology side, IT application & Product development is being outsourced from hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, clinics, biotechnology labs, pharmaceutical & clinical research organizations and health insurance.
Healthcare industry has always been on the forefront of innovation and an incubator of cutting edge technology, which has flourished with the onset of outsourcing. The sector has 15% share of the GDP in USA, thereby providing immense opportunity for outsourcing. The appetite to outsource remains firm and buyers can look forward to tremendous gains by taking the path of Outsourcing.