Healthcare practices and outsourced appointment services

This story first appeared in the August 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

Despite being early adopters of computers and information technology in general, medical centres remain staff-intensive businesses. The personalised, one-to-one services provided in practices of all types typically extends beyond the consultation room and into the reception and administration functions. However, many of these non-clinical duties can be outsourced without the patients even knowing it.

Businesses of all shapes and sizes are starting to explore the possibilities that internet-enabled workforces can deliver by tapping into global marketplaces such as Elance, oDesk and Freelancer. However, the sensitive nature of the work undertaken in medical centres and the privacy requirements associated with the data contained in practice IT systems precludes many jobs from being performed overseas.

Despite this, there are some duties that may lend themselves to being outsourced from your practice, with third-party telephone and appointment-related services available to businesses in the healthcare sector for a number of years.

One such service, VConsult, launched in 2011 as an offshoot of established medical locum service Medic Oncall.

Melissa Bennett, managing director of VConsult, says the idea for the business came from a desire to offer the junior doctors the company had worked with as locums some assistance as they started their own practices.

“What we’re trying to achieve is to allow doctors to not have to worry about staffing headaches and running the practice, especially when they start up and they can’t afford to have a full time secretary,” Ms Bennett says. “Answering calls five days a week when patients might be only making two, three, four, five appointments in the whole week is not cost effective.”

While traditional third-party answering services are used by many small businesses and may be applicable for some medical practices, VConsult offers a broader range of services than simply taking and forwarding messages.

To read the full story, click here for the August 2014 issue of Pulse+IT Magazine.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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