Smartsourcing: A worthwhile solution to gain competitive advantage and market differentiation

The concept of smartsourcing is described as a partnership model whereby value is delivered through the leveraging of resources, knowledge, technology, and that both parties have something to gain and indeed lose within a long-term relationship. This appears to be a worthwhile and highly impactful business model disruption as it pertains to Patient Access, Revenue Cycle and Contact Center operations.

Key Healthcare Executive Leaders often acknowledge that change and investment is required to ensure they remain competitive within their markets with the goal to continuously guarantee a positive experience for their patients. But what are the key areas an organization needs to contemplate once the decision is made to Smartsource?

Leveraging RelateCare experience in both the design and ongoing management of value adding smartsourced solutions, we have put together some key learnings that yield the best result:

1. What does success look like, from a short, medium and long-term perspective?

While the immediate challenges can be addressed quickly with the successful onboarding of a partner, how can the relationship provide additional ‘success’ to your organization over time? The initial pain point may sit within a specific department, but taking a more holistic view, assess other areas within the remit of Revenue Cycle to identify where the partner could support. A credible partner will have experience across all aspects of Revenue Cycle and engaging the right partner initially can lead to greater success across a broader range of areas within your organization.

2. Determine the Return on Investment (ROI)

Return on Investment will always be a key consideration when making the decision to Smartsource. The immediate focus will be on cost; will the organization save money by introducing a partner, will the partner bring additional revenue into the organization through increasing the amount of appointments scheduled, or ensuring appointments are authorized in a timely manner before the patient arrives? Contemplation should also be given to the less tangible ROI – the improved experience of the patient as they navigate their way through these early stages of their relationship with your organization – their call is answered quicker or their referral is processed and they receive a call to schedule within 48 hours; the patient has confidence that once they get to the front desk, their insurance will have been authorized in advance. When an organization is overwhelmed with calls or administrative tasks, delays or errors in these areas can send a patient elsewhere the next time they, or their family member, require healthcare assistance. Your partner will collaborate with you to ensure the realization of both the tangible and intangible ROI metrics.

3. Ensure Key Internal Stakeholder Buy In

The decision to Smartsource an area experiencing challenges can be made quickly, and the desire to go live quickly with the partner can be strong. However, key to the successful go live of any smart sourcing relationship is ensuring the right people internally are aware and bought in from the outset. This can include Physician Leadership, IT and Telephony, HR, Training, Quality Assurance or other stakeholders with input into the management of the contact center. Early identification of, for example, a challenging IT set up, or training materials only being available in hard copy, allows both parties to account for these in their planning, set correct expectations across the board and avoid a potential derailing of an in-flight onboarding plan. An experienced partner will provide guidance to an organization into potential pitfalls and work with the organization in ensuring both parties are in a strong position to successfully begin their relationship.

4. Strategic or Tactical?

Longer term planning at the initial stage of a Smartsourcing journey can seem irrelevant, as the focus is on quenching the burning platforms. But acknowledging the future ‘nice to haves’ alongside the immediate ‘must haves’ can plant the early seeds of growth within the partnership.  Look to engage with a partner with a strong technology and telephony platform. Can the partner offer an automated solution to back office administrative tasks?

Can the partner engage in non-verbal patient communication; for example leveraging SMS technology over an outbound call to schedule a patient? As patients expectations of a digital front door grow, the ability to leverage a partner with these technologies allows your organization to move in this direction without the large capital expenditure required to build it in house. Planting these seeds early ensures that once those burning platforms are extinguished, these concepts can be assessed with an eye to the future.

RelateCare partners with a number of the leading healthcare providers in the United States to support their work in Referral Management, Scheduling and Authorizations. These partnerships often stem from challenges encountered by our partners such as rising to the change demand of contact volumes, retention of resources, antiquated telephony or IT systems or indeed a desire to benefit from business continuity and agility that a contact center partner brings.