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Nine Steps to Outsource Medical Practice Services


If your staff is faced with a daily workload that leaves them frustrated and worn out, it may be time to think about outsourcing.

These are challenging times with new and unexpected changes and demands being placed on practices that seek to be among the best. These expectations often result in practice leaders feeling a bit overwhelmed and (sometimes) understaffed. How can you manage all that is expected in your medical practice today and still run an efficient and profitable practice? Outsourcing just might be the ticket to help you divide and conquer some aspects of the workload.

There are many service companies that specialize in specific areas of practice operations, such as managing payroll, transcription, coding audits, and even the entire billing and collection process. Because their focus is narrow, these companies can concentrate on developing and maintaining a high level of knowledge and expertise in their field. They can also afford to make capital investments in technology that would not be within the price range of the average practice.

Perhaps there's an opportunity for your practice to think about enjoying the potential benefits of outsourcing? It is a big decision and one that will require diligent thought and analysis. Here are a few things to consider before making a decision to shift any service over to a vendor:

1. Select an established vendor

Explore only service companies that have a stable history and a proven track record.

2. Know your expectations

Be clear on exactly what your expectations are and compare them to the services being offered and the promised deliverables.

3. Ask about data sharing

Understand what information the practice must share with the vendor and what will be required of you and your staff.

4. Discuss communication

Discuss how communication will flow back and forth, and if there is a point person or account rep. that will be assigned to your practice.

5. Know what it will cost

Know exactly what the upfront and ongoing costs will be.

6. Contact outside references

Conduct reference checks of long-term clients. Find out how responsive the vendor is to clients; if it continually improves products and services; and how committed support staff are to both improving quality and excelling in customer service.

7. Ask about performance measures

Clarify what measurable outcomes will be achieved so performance can be monitored against a benchmark.

8. Conduct a site visit

Once you identify a service company you'd like to work with, consider visiting one of its clients to gain additional perspective on how it operates and the value of the service it provides.

9. Retain an attorney

When you have chosen a vendor and are ready to finalize an agreement, there will be confidentiality statements and contracts to be signed. It's time to call in a lawyer to protect your interests. Ensure you understand the agreement and have a suitable escape clause should either party want to terminate the arrangement.

Judy Capko is the founder of Capko & Morgan, a healthcare consulting firm. She is located in Thousand Oaks, Calif.  Judy is the author of "Secrets of the Best-Run Practices," "Take Back Time," and coauthor of "The Patient-Centered Payoff."  Capko is a national healthcare speaker may reached at

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