On its Road to Recovery, our National Health Service is going to need a bit of external support to treat the 10 million patients on waiting lists… So, we are here to help all NHS trusts decide: insourcing or outsourcing – which is best?
The NHS is known for its exceptional standard of free healthcare; however it’s always been under immense pressure to provide a quicker and more efficient service. 2020 has been the year where the world came face-to-face with a new and unknown threat in Covid 19 and the NHS had to halt all elective services to prioritise emergency care – meaning an increase in already-rising patient waiting lists.
Thankfully at the time of writing, cases of Covid 19 are falling and the UK’s population is gradually, and tentatively, beginning to resume a more normal life. This is also the time that the NHS is beginning to re-focus its efforts on resumption of elective care – and they’ll need to grow their staff numbers through insourcing or outsourcing to do it.
What’s the difference?
Before we start, it’ll be helpful to specifically clarify the definitions of terms that are widely used but often confused. To put it simply in the context of healthcare, outsourcing uses the developed workforce of a third-party organisation to perform a clinic at an alternative premise to the NHS trust.
In contrast, insourcing is when a third-party organisation brings their workforce into a hospital to work within the same physical location.
Choosing the Best Option
Whether you choose outsourcing or insourcing at your hospital trust, the key outcomes of a highly-reputable external partner should guarantee you: rapid mobilisation, increased efficiency, flexibility of service offered, reduced cost and high patient satisfaction rates.
The best option of course, depends on your specific trust’s needs; so, to help you decide we compare three essential factors to help you make your decision…
1. Quality Control Capabilities
When it comes to healthcare, it’s simply not possible to compromise on quality. From clinical governance to patient care, choosing a third-party to care for your patients is a large investment of both your time and resources and so, ensure your partner understands your internal processes, procedures and philosophy.
When you insource, it’ll allow your department to track the development process of the clinic whilst keeping control of the work, uphold peak productivity and you can work along-side your partner to ensure you reach your desired outputs.
Naturally, there are occasions where clinics can run behind schedule or there may be a medical complication, but by being present it will grant you with the ability to manage staff, create relationships, discover employee’s strengths and weaknesses and most importantly – ensure patients are given excellent-quality care within a prompt and precise manner.
In comparison to outsourcing, typically they are placed at a third-party location which means that you’re unable to track the working day and less able to create strong relationships with staff members. That being said, the biggest advantage of outsourcing is that if you choose the right partner that will guarantee you quality control – your time is freed up to run another clinic, which is of course the ultimate aim in a post Covid 19 climate.
To be innovative within the healthcare industry it requires time, expertise, knowledge and most importantly a budget to do so. Unfortunately, the NHS is known for having limited purse strings which means its ability to innovate is somewhat non-existent. Did you know that until this year, the NHS was still heavily relying on fax machines to communicate? And whilst the value of virtual consultations has only really just been discovered, they’ve been commonplace in other healthcare systems around the world!
When choosing to work side-by-side with an external partner in an insourcing capacity, the option to innovate will be limited as the clinic will be led by the typical working practices and protocols of the trust in question. However, when you choose to outsource, your third-party partner will specialise in technological innovation ensuring a more efficient and flexible clinic to be run.
3. Cost Reduction
As with any business decision, cost is always at the forefront.
Traditionally, by choosing to insource you’ll keep the cost low as you’ll already have all of the facilities, technology and equipment available for external healthcare professionals to use. Alternatively, when you outsource the cost of the premises, equipment hire and technology can increase the price.
That being said, a good clinical services provider will ensure that their services will be offered to you at or below NHS tariff – allowing you to provide excellent care to your patients, reduce your patient waiting lists all whilst either costing you the same money or even better, saving you some!
What about a hybrid solution?
When it comes to clinical services, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. If you’ve got a particular clinic that would suit insourcing on one week but outsourcing another, then you need to augment your clinic with a specialised third-party team – allowing you to get the best of both worlds!
When choosing a specialist partner, remember to consider: their level of experience, their industry profile, their testimonials, patient satisfaction feedback and their time to mobilise!
Get in Touch
If your NHS trust is interested in going digital to help alleviate the stress on your staff, we can support you with an all-encompassing solution: digital consultations, clinics and triage assessments to suit your individual trusts needs.
In the last 12-months, we’ve treated over 13,000 patients and IDMCS are immensely proud of our overall 97% patient satisfaction feedback score.
Want to know more? We’d be delighted to speak with you – just give us a call on 01908 552 820 and we’ll be happy to help.