Benefits Of Medical Outsourcing
The financial benefits of medical outsourcing can save millions of Western patients from life-threatening conditions that are impractical to treat in their homeland due to the high cost of medical care. The passage of universal health care in the US will make health care more affordable by giving everyone access to a medical health plan; however, it doesn’t change the brute fact that health care providers and insurers themselves are struggling with the high cost of medical treatments.
Renee-Marie Stephano, president of the Medical Tourism Association, expects more comprehensive health care coverage in the US, yet foresees strong demand for offshoring medical processes to serve the under-insured better.
Pros & Cons of Outsourcing Your Medical Billing
The cost benefits of offshoring have made a big difference in improving the accessibility of health care for middle-class patients. Outsourcing is gradually making an impact on health care delivery in rich countries by promoting competition.
The massive difference between US and overseas medical costs can even exceed 70%.
- a hip replacement surgery costs at least $40,000 in the US, compared with $7,000 overseas.
- Total spinal disc replacement and heart valve replacement cost more than $100,000 in the US, whereas overseas medical providers will charge $8,000-$13,000 for the same procedures.
As a result, several HMOs are outsourcing medical treatments to foreign hospitals.
Many large corporations fund the health insurance of their employees. Recently, a number of self-insured businesses introduced medical tourism in their employee health plans to maximize their insurance benefits at the most affordable price.
Employers are seen as the main driving force behind medical outsourcing since they decide which health care provider should attend to their employees. As medical costs remain a huge concern for the industry, more HMOs are expected to consider offshoring.
Health economist Uwe Reinhardt of Princeton University compares the trend with what happened to the US automotive industry when Japan dominated the market.
US health care providers are beginning to acknowledge the benefits of outsourcing for their business. Some local hospitals feel the need to offer discounts on operations booked during days when the operating rooms are underutilized. Others are outsourcing some operations to cut costs. Aside from medical transcription, claims processing and IT management, hospitals are also outsourcing some of their medical jobs such as diagnosis.
The Bottom Line
Telemedicine is gaining popularity among hospitals. Outsourcing benefits are beginning to catch the attention of hospitals faced with a shortage of local radiologists, expensive radiologist fees and growing specialization in diagnostic imaging, which have made medical outsourcing an attractive option.
The low cost of outsourcing telemedicine not only improves access to urgent diagnosis but also reduces the risk of the wrong diagnosis.
Outsourcing brings experienced medical specialists within reach of health care providers and patients. As more HMOs, insurers and hospitals look up to outsourcing to improve health care delivery, more patients can afford quality health care.