The global healthcare BPO market size is expected to witness high growth over the forecast period. Increasing need to reduce operational costs is anticipated drive the market. The business process outsourcing (BPO) model has several advantages such as easy availability of skilled labor, low rates, and reduced training costs. Through outsourcing, medical organizations can concentrate on their core competencies and reduce their efforts and investments on support activities. These factors are driving the adoption of BPO in the medical sector.
High prevalence of various diseases has increased workload of medical institutions. Through adoption of outsourcing solutions, these organizations are able to focus on their core activity to maintain quality of service. Outsourcing services assist organizations in different supporting activities such as accounting, medical transcriptions, and patient database maintenance among others. Collaborations with third party healthcare BPO vendors for these activities is a rising industry trend.
Adoption of business strategies such as alignment of major resources towards core competencies is projected to drive the market over the forecast period. Cost cutting through outsourcing business model is anticipated to further augment the market in near future.
Costs of medical services have increased significantly over the last few years. Developing countries such as India, Philippines, and China offer skilled labour at low costs. As a result, companies are able to reduce overall cost by delegating work to vendors located in these regions. This factor is anticipated to positively influence the market over the forecast period. Offshore vendors handle activities such as medical billing, accounting, payroll, medical transcription, and coding.
Hospitals in the U.S. maintain a patient database used by insurance organisations for authentication. Database management and analysis are the key activities requiring professionals with adequate interpretation skills. Staff recruitment for such activities turns out to be a costly affair. Hence, hospitals find it easy to partner up with service providers located at distant locations.
However, risks associated with this business model are major restraints hampering overall growth of the healthcare BPO market. Data security is a growing concern owing to high risk of confidential patient data getting misused. Further, most outsourcing establishments are present in Asia Pacific. This makes coordinating in different time zones a challenge for both parties. Moreover, delays in rendering services on account of these factors are the reason why some organisations prefer in-house activities.
A remarkable rise in adoption of advanced technology in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors is anticipated to boost the growth of the global market for healthcare BPO in the forthcoming years. Hospitals have adopted enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems for crowd control and management. Digitization of various supportive medical activities is poised to bode well for demand in near future.
Moreover, government initiatives to reduce service cost is facilitating the need for outsourcing owing to its cost reduction ability. For instance, in 2012, the U.S Supreme Court upheld the main elements of President’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. As per this act, it is mandatory for all American citizens to buy a health coverage. Further, this act is aimed at expanding medical coverage and providing better care along with reduced wasteful spending. The mandate has forced hospitals to focus on their core functions and cut costs by choosing third party sub-contractors for non-core functions.
Pharmaceutical outsourcing, provider outsourcing, and payers outsourcing are the three major applications of healthcare BPO. Pharmaceutical subcontracting is one of the prominent applications in terms of global demand. Provider subcontracting deals with medical coding, billing, Human Resources (HR), and medical coding. Payers segment deals with handling tasks associated with payroll, finance, and accounts.
North America was the leading region in global market on account of highly developed healthcare sector and high in-house operational costs. Pharmaceutical companies in U.S take support of off-shore vendors to focus on research and development.
Asia Pacific is expected to witness significant growth over the forecast period owing to the overall development of medical science coupled with high prevalence of diseases. In addition, Europe is expected to showcase a steady CAGR in near future mainly on account of developed pharmaceutical sector, especially in France and Germany.
Africa and South America are projected to witness a slow expansion owing to sluggish growth of healthcare industry. Moreover, companies from developing economies prefer in-house activities. This factor is anticipated to hinder regional market growth to an extent. Leading countries where vendors have their operational centers are U.S, Mexico, Ireland, France, India, Philippines, China, Vietnam, South Africa and Argentina.
Key players operating in the healthcare BPO market are Cognizant Technologies; Accenture; Wipro Technologies; Tata Consultancy Services; Genpact; WNS; Hinduja Global; Boehringer Ingelheim; Charles River Laboratories; Covance Inc.; Infosys; Lonza Group; Xerox Corporation; HCL Technologies; Exlservice; Medusind; Catalent; GeBBS Healthcare Solutions; and Quintiles, Inc.
Research Support Specialist, USA