Co-founder of DictateNow, Maxine Park recently explained to the readers of Practice Management magazine that whilst outsourcing offers greater efficiency, primary care managers must not take short cuts and open themselves up to potential risks.
Practice Management magazine is a valuable source of information for primary care practice managers and helps them run their practices more effectively. It showcases the latest technical and management developments, with opinion and information from the sectors leading commentators.
Maxine’s article was published in the December issue in the staff training and management section and as always is an interesting read. If you have not yet subscribed to Practice Management magazine, click through and you’ll see what good value it is.
Here’s what Maxine had to say:
Many practices consider outsourcing to offer greater efficiency but be on guard against potential risks by seeking short cuts, warns solicitor Maxine Park.
Finding service providers that understand your responsibilities is paramount but, as this can be a complicated process, some medical firms are inclined to take short cuts. This can expose you to all kinds of danger.
Location is very important. Choosing a UK-based company will allow you to more easily access service providers premises should the need arise, something which is not easy to do if they’re based overseas. Companies they should only consider outsourcing once they are assured the service provider has taken all the necessary steps to ensure clients’ information is safe.
Providers are required to sign confidentiality agreements and operate in a way which ensures clients comply with SRA guidelines on confidentiality and disclosure. When choosing outsourcing service providers the first thing to look for is whether the service provider is ISO 27001:2013 certified, the internationally acclaimed standard for information security management.
This new standard requires the service provider to set security objectives, monitor its performance against these while addressing all risks and opportunities as they emerge, in a far more proactive manner.
Firms should also consider checking the outsourcing provider’s confidentiality processes while best practice demands they inform partners and clients they intend to outsource aspects of their business practice. The Law Society’s Practice Note (released earlier this year) raises questions on service quality and asks if the work being outsourced is being done to the same standard as would an in-house operation.
How firms assess quality is also discussed and while quality is subjective, it is more likely to be maintained if the service providers employ individuals with experience of delivering the same, or similar services, within the medical sector.
Such an approach explains the growth of co-sourcing arrangements in the sector, when a service provider accesses a client’s system remotely and works entirely within the system as if they were sat in the office itself.
Outsourcing secretarial support offers all the quality of office-based medical secretaries with none of the holiday pay, absenteeism or downtime, helping increase productivity and efficiency. Outsourcing is a way for GP practices and other healthcare organisations to deliver a better, more efficient service to their clients while keeping costs under control and increasing profitability.
Choosing the right outsourcing partner requires common sense, due diligence, constant monitoring of the service and regular contact to ensure the service provider understands their continuing responsibilities.
Although outsourcing offers greater efficiency, those working within the medical industry remain ultimately responsible for any work that is undertaken by third-parties. This is why the perceived risks of outsourcing are slowing the adoption of services which have already been utilised by the most successful firms.
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