Smartsourcing and Co-sourcing: The Future of Client-Partnership

There are often negative connotations around the idea of outsourcing. On the extreme view, it can be seen as a cynical cost-cutting exercise where local job opportunities are shifted miles away over-seas in order to save a few dollars. It can also be challenging for organizations to place the level of trust required in the outsourcing vendor to deliver the same brand experience, and the same high level, high quality service to customers and patients on a consistent basis. And do so without their patients feeling they are being handed off to an outside organization.

These reasons often mean organizations are reluctant to explore outsourcing, even when it might be a viable and sensible option.

But this kind of thinking about outsourcing is outdated and no longer applicable.

RelateCare has always reassured and made clear to our client-partners that we are no ordinary ‘outsourcing’ organization. Rather, we prefer to use the terms ‘Co-Sourcing’ or even ‘Smartsourcing’ to describe the unique and particular kind of partnership that we develop with healthcare organizations.

Working with RelateCare means creating a partnership of mutual benefit, with shared goals and fully transparent communication. We become invested into your brand, your strategy, your service, and most of all, your patients. In essence, we become an extension of your company, not an outside or separate part.


Co-Sourcing, according to Gross 2006, “combines the advantages of outsourcing and insourcing as it provides access to external expertise without having to completely give up internal control over processes (Gross, 2006).”

By thinking in terms of a Co-sourcing model, it allows for a far higher degree of collaboration between us and our client-partners. And collaboration is key to success.

This model allows us you to benefit from our technical and clinical expertise – where needed – to drive up levels of quality and customer service, while at the same time integrating the approach and values of your organization to guarantee a consistent, high-quality patient experience.

It also gives you greater flexibility and capacity to cope with high levels of demand, off-peak hours, or unexpected surges. There is no denying the bottom-line either: you can save significant costs by leveraging our pre-existing technology systems, infrastructure, and fully-trained clinical and administrative Patient Service Representatives.

Trust and Leadership Buy-in

Of course, in order for this kind of partnership to be successful, a huge amount of trust and cooperation is required. Leadership buy-in is required from the start so that there can be a fully comprehensive knowledge-sharing process can develop on both sides.

We aim for shared values and shared goals, and this can only be achieved by the ongoing feedback loop between the two organizations.


Smartsourcing, much like Co-sourcing, emphasizes the partnership approach, but also has a focus on innovation and the creation of new strategies and technologies to maximise the benefit of the partnership.

Smartsourcing creates the space in the partnership for more than a transfer of operations. It allows for a deep dive into the current operations to find ways of improving, expanding, creating synergies and revisiting ‘how thing are done’ to see where gains can be made.

When RelateCare work with leading healthcare organizations, we have often found our partnership developing to the point that it moves beyond handling calls or scheduling appointments.  We co-create innovative projects, such as the Access to Care Center in Cleveland Clinic and SLUCare’s call center, SluCare Central

In addition to the benefits of relying on and leveraging the expertise of RelateCare, our partners can designate non-core tasks and processes to us, and therefore have more time and energy to prioritize on improving its core competencies and activities, therefore creating more jobs and revenue

According to Thomas M. Koulolpoulos, in his book Smartsourcing: “Smartsourcing is the evolution of outsourcing to a more sophisticated and effective model of working with all of your partners and processes – not just those that are most easily transported to an outside party.”

So if you are considering creating a mutually beneficial partnership without an organization to assist in delivering excellent service to your customers, then don’t be put off by the idea of outsourcing; think instead of the RelateCare Co-Sourcing or Smart-Sourcing model.

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