Outsourcing certain staffing needs has become more commonplace in medical practices as staffing shortages persist. In 2017, outsourced "virtual assistants" in healthcare increased by 36 percent, according to a July 31 report from Medscape.
The most popular outsourced services include billing, scribes, telephone calls to patients and processing prior authorizations.
Teri Deabler, a practice management consultant with the Texas Medical Association, said that one client reduced their bookkeeping fee from $80,000 to $40,000 in a year by outsourcing in combination with a part-time employee.
While all sizes of practices can benefit from outsourcing, it can be most helpful for smaller practices, according to the report.
Some pros of outsourcing include less turnover and less cost from hiring in-house staff. With outsourcing, however, practices lose a lot of control over their workers. If a practice ends up with an outsourcer who is not a good fit, it can be hard to terminate a contract and get out of the arrangement.
Since 2020, demand at offshore medical billing outsourcing companies has seen a major increase as well, as outsourcing internationally can save even more money for practices.
However, outsourcing internationally can cause some privacy issues. Some states, including Florida, have enacted or are considering new laws and restrictions on using offshore vendors.