Recently Black Book issued a report stating that CFOs, CIOs both favor outsourcing for technology. Outsourcing is not new to healthcare information technology and it has been practiced for decades. However, with the healthcare scenery changing rapidly, outsourcing of IT has again gained prominence. Introducing technology to a healthcare organization can be an expensive undertaking and thus, outsourcing may be the way to go. One of the main reasons why outsourcing is attractive is because it helps put together resources quickly and reduces the time to market when implementing technology.
Besides cost, other reasons for outsourcing include increased flexibility, organization inability to further develop staff quickly and there may be a cash flow problem in keeping an employee long term. Building a trusted relationship with a vendor is key and someone must monitor their performance to hold the vendor accountable. One needs to weigh the pros and cons before proceeding to outsourcing because it is not without risks.
- Lower cost is often the single most influential factor when deciding on offshore outsourcing. Some of the world’s largest organization use contract employees or foreign labor to perform the commodity work. This also reduces the need for full time employees.
- Outsourcing is ideal when you need a 24×7 workforce. Outsourcing is an easier method to augment your existing staff in order to manage the 24 hour operation we require in healthcare.
- With outsourcing, it is usually easier to transition and move temporary staff because they do not have permanent ties with your organization
- In certain countries, there are rules and regulations that govern privacy and intellectual property; when you outsource outside of geographical boundaries, you will need to pay closer attention to data export regulations.
- You must manage the internal staff culture and feelings about outsourcing. Most personnel will view outsourcing as a threat to their job, so leaders must be transparent when they are outsourcing projects or tasks.
- The outsource contract must be clear and concise as to the roles and responsibilities of each party. The arrangement will fail quickly if both parties are not clear on this.
I believe that successful departments and organization can utilize outsourcing as a competitive advantage if it is managed appropriately, but there has to be a dedicated resource managing the vendor relationship. I have managed both an outsourced IT department along with insourced staff. The key is to have transparent leadership which treats every employee (outsource, and insource) the same. Clear communication is definitely required from the leader.
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