How Healthcare BPO Will Transform the Service Lines of Healthcare Service Providers

Amit Sharma, Head - IT & Strategy, Cytecare Cancer Hospitals Based in Bengaluru, Cytecare is a comprehensive cancer care hospital network delivering effective cancer diagnoses and treatment for some of the most complex cases.

The Healthcare Industry is a vast and highly specialized Industry, consisting of various auxiliary and core services. In order to focus on their specific expertise and also compliment their support operations,organizations contract out major support operations to BPO firms with expertise and experience of a specialized and efficient service provider. In India, the BPO industry has been in existence for over a decade now and the dependency on this industry across a spectrum of businesses is increasing with every passing day. The healthcare industry, in particular, makes extensive use of the BPO Industry, and with good reason.

The long-waiting hours for appointments with doctors and medical specialists, the high consultancy costs and at times, even the inaccurate results had created restlessness and impatience in those seeking medical aid. The world of technology has opened immense pathways for people to enjoy medical advice and undergo pathological tests in the virtual world. People are willing to accept the many innovative channels so long as it offers them the ease and comfort of seeking guidance and consultancy, while ensconced in the comfort of their homes. Today, people are able to gather ample information about illnesses, their treatments, medication and even understand the various diagnostic processes. The BPO industry has played a vital role in complementing the Healthcare companies by working in tandem with them offering services like referring the appropriate physicians, processing of complex applications, Claims form, billing details and settlement of claims in the most organized and effective manner. These services are rendered by well-trained personnel who furnish the most precise and reliable data to the patients.

Technology has become an indispensable part of our existence and the evolution of new technologies has added undeniable value to our lives. Computers revolutionized our lives in the 1960s and it was then that the healthcare industry adopted Information Technology. It was an era of massive mainframe computers that were used to effect. The following decade saw the development of the Problem Oriented Medical Information System (PROMIS), which helped automating a large number of activities. Hospitals and other medical units as well resorted to automation easing administrative tasks and thereafter, there was no looking back.

Since then, the Healthcare industry has undergone a 180-degree shift towards the care of patients with healthcare providers
offering a host of services in groundbreaking ways. The nature of our fast-paced lives has instigated individuals from all rungs of society to access medical advice pertaining to their health conditions to understand their ailments, medical history and procure timely and correct treatments. Technology brought about the emergence of the Healthcare BPO industry which took large strides to provide customized solutions to varied health problems of patients at large.

"The world of medicine is always attempting to provide the best solutions and these, when complemented with technology, will bring-in desired and incremental revenues to the healthcare BPO organizations"

At the start, any healthcare BPO operations involve huge investments in recruiting and managing health service providers. Investments in the most advanced software coupled with training on the subject matter and training on the state-of-the-art machines would be a prerequisite. Authorities will have to ensure the maintenance of a seamless integration of data management of patients, Cloud computing and analytics, while consistently maintaining and improving the quality of the existing services.

The Healthcare BPO industry provides various solutions which range from collecting data of a patient, understanding the patient’s history of ailments, data mining and consulting. This is followed by securing all sensitive data of the patient in the most professional manner and finally, admitting the patient to the hospital.

According to Accenture, the world’s leading professional services organization, the year 2020 will witness at least 66 percent of health systems in the U.S. to adopt a self-scheduling process. Tele-medicine and mobile wellness devices will experience a mammoth growth with patients communicating through various devices at their disposal viz; mobile, laptop, email, chats, social media, palmtop and others. These advancements will help medical practitioners engage with and monitor the health of their patients, on-the-move. With automation & artificial intelligence on the rise, patients will expect better and more economic services in healthcare but also the privacy of their medical history and personal data.

Artificial intelligence & automation is the way forward and patients will be able to avail of relevant information through the digital world to understand and choose value-based health plans, get an insight into the experiences of others and also resort to recommendations. While many hospitals and medical institutions in India have embraced the technology, many issues like the treatment, safety, payments and above all, the privacy of patients are aspects that continue to haunt this industry. Some of the challenges facing the digital healthcare system include educating the patients and counseling them to make informed decisions while also liaising with specialists and skilled individuals. Their experience and knowledge of distinct ailments, medicinal procedures, treatments and the quality care provided would help in the effective care of the patients, strengthen the medical institution /hospital in question, thereby making the experience a valuable and indelible one. This would also motivate the medical organization to further improvise in areas like patient care and initiate processes to minimize risks and also reduce costs. Timely and correct reimbursements and an effective post-care are perennial issues that will have to be dealt with and resolved harmoniously and honestly in the interests of the patients.

Today, at least 25 percent of global hospitals have embraced telemedicine in the form of mobile applications, wearables, and a host of other web-based technologies to engage with patients and monitor their patients, be it for minor illnesses or chronic ailments like diabetes. The rapid advancement of technology and its consistent evolution is going to make almost 90 percent of global healthcare organizations adopt the Internet of Things. Predictive analytics and big data will play important roles in the prediction of epidemics, effective cures for illnesses, quality and economic services, while also helping the patient tide over his/her medication, recuperate and have access to post-care in the most comfortable manner. This will reduce the chances of a re-admission to a large extent, establish trust in healthcare organizations and help enhance their services. The world of medicine is always attempting to provide the best solutions and these, when complemented with technology, will bring-in desired and incremental revenues to the healthcare BPO organizations.