Few industries in the United States enjoy the prosperity, steady stream of customers and guaranteed revenue increases of the health care industry. According to the World Bank, the U.S. spends nearly 18 percent of our gross domestic product, nearly $3 trillion, on health care services. As hospitals and health providers expand services and customer bases, administrators look to improve efficiency in order to minimize a bottleneck as more and more seniors require health care. With the trend towards outsourcing, how will the health care options for seniors look in the near future?
While many health providers want to match up a patient with a doctor over the long term of their care, health services that do not require a physician’s attention have steadily been moving away from a central facility. John Boland, director of Navigant Consulting, told Becker’s Hospital Review that the five most outsourced treatments consist of non-physician care, including anesthesia, dialysis and diagnostics. This outsourcing trend affects hospitals more than primary patient care facilities, but it may require seniors in assisted living communities to visit secondary facilities to get non-physician treatment.
The machines doctors use to do everything from monitor heart rates to take full-body scans require a small army of technicians in order to stay up and running. Health care facilities and pharmaceutical corporations have begun to aggressively outsource their IT personnel in order to minimize the costs of training and hiring workers who understand new technology. RNR Market Research reports that the health care IT market outsourcing trend will expand from $35 billion today to $50 billion in 5 years. This will have little direct effect on seniors but will reduce the costs of care in community living. Those looking for choices can consider assisted living services from Emeritus for round-the-clock care. In addition to day-to-day care, Emeritus makes it easy for seniors to get in contact with their primary physicians whenever health issues arise.
Security And Cleaning
Many of the new outsourcing trends involve workers who have no effect on a patient’s health at all. The security staff of a facility, the janitors and launderers, or the food workers may no longer be directly linked to the health care operation itself. J. Daniel Murphy of Heritage Valley Health System made a note in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune that the hospital would save some $600,000 per year by outsourcing the laundry operations, a few months after having outsourced the security staff. By focusing on “core” businesses, claims Murphy, the hospital can provide better care to seniors and non-seniors alike.
The Future Of Outsourcing
How will primary care facilities and assisted living communities look in a decade, when some or even most jobs have been outsourced? Most of the change comes from the financial cost of assisted living, rather than the day-to-day operations. Additionally, some organizations may choose not to follow the trend in outsourcing, believing that they can provide superior service than an outsourcing firm. The organizations that choose to not outsource, however, will pay a higher premium for the decision.