By Kevin Connolly
Healthcare insiders know that the industry is undergoing unprecedented change and companies and providers alike must adjust to new challenges and opportunities. Although outsourcing of various services was always a standard industry practice, there has been a recent, noticeable shift in the type and the number of services companies are delegating to third-party vendors. Some of the key drivers of outsourcing include staff and cost pressures, the desire to enhance focus on core business processes and the ability to rapidly deploy critical new programs. By partnering with trained, compliant and specialized third parties, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies can increase efficiency and effectiveness and better balance cost and value.
Key Outsourcing Trends
According to outsourcing experts, below are a few of the biggest outsourcing trends in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries:
Pharmacovigilance – As more companies recognize the importance of effective drug safety in ensuring patient safety, product integrity and company reputation, they also recognize the immense cost savings and efficiency that can be achieved by outsourcing pharmacovigilance services to an expert provider. The Transparency Market Research report found the global pharmacovigilance market to reach a market worth of $5 billion in 2019, and with good reason as these third-party partners have the ability to balance high quality adverse event processing and reporting with unpredictable volumes, all while meeting new needs in signaling, surveillance and risk management.
Patient Support – In their efforts to connect with patients and differentiate from the competition, pharmaceutical companies are marketing themselves as “more than the pill,” with the desire to more fully engage with patients taking their medication. However, developing these support services can come with a hefty price tag, take valuable time and can stray from the company’s core business. With the help of a customer care partner, pharmaceutical companies can now offer multi-channel engagement support, such as support lines with highly-trained professionals, including nurses and pharmacists.
Access & Reimbursement – Both pharmaceutical manufacturers and healthcare companies are challenged to streamline the complex process of Access and Reimbursement (A&R) services and to deliver quick, accurate and cost-effective solutions to patients and providers alike. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, as more Americans receive coverage, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies will have increased opportunities to provide A&R services to a larger population. Outsourcing A&R services to a third-party partner can reduce case management time and overlap, mitigating patient and provider frustrations while increasing efficiency and minimizing cost. By assisting patients to better understand their insurance coverage or helping them find other available cost-savings resources, knowledgeable third-party A&R experts can improve patient lives and health outcomes.
Healthcare IT – According to MarketsandMarkets, the healthcare IT outsourcing market will be worth $50.4 billion by 2018. Healthcare providers are increasingly becoming more comfortable with the use and adoption of cloud computing and as a result, more are turning to IT outsourcing services and solutions. By utilizing third-party, HIPAA compliant partners, providers are able to benefit from expert resources while effectively managing costs. Some organizations outsource their information management systems and others choose key applications such as billing, customer relationship management and IT Help Desk Support.
Social Media Management/Community Management –The pharmaceutical industry has taken a slow and cautious approach to monitoring, engaging and responding to social media posts. Just recently the FDA circulated recommended guidelines on how to appropriately and compliantly participate in this relatively new phenomenon. Pharmaceutical companies are now entering into this communication medium, often with the help of innovative and experienced outsourced partners with established (and compliant) platforms for monitoring, analyzing, responding and reporting this activity. Staying within approved promotional guidelines will be an ongoing objective and experienced outsource partners will be positively positioned to meet this challenge.
The Bottom Line
The role of a third-party outsourcing partner is becoming larger, more integrated and more critical than ever before. By turning to outsourcing partners for a variety of services, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies are better able to channel their resources and efforts toward their core critical business processes and, most importantly – the patient.
About the Author
As the Vice President, Healthcare ConneXions, Kevin Connolly is responsible for the development, execution and management of new healthcare related services at Telerx. He is a seasoned executive with extensive pharmaceutical sales and marketing experience.Kevin began his career with Bristol-Myers Squibb, spending a dozen years in sales and marketing management positions. He subsequently held leadership positions in companies like Excerpta Medica (a Reed Elsevier company), Wolters Kluwer Health, Cardinal Health and more recently PDI, Inc. where he successfully managed their Diversified Marketing Services portfolio of businesses. Kevin has a BS in Commerce (Marketing Management) from Rider University.