Mounting cost pressures continue to push hospitals to look for savings through outsourcing. But even as hospitals are opening more functions to contractors, some are holding firm against the trend or keeping some functions sacrosanct.
The use of outsourcing has continued to grow in recent years, according to hospital analysts and research, including Modern Healthcare's 33rd annual Outsourcing Survey. For example, the 42 firms that responded to the survey reported a 14% increase in the number of healthcare clients from 14,806 in 2009 to 16,880 in 2010. That increase was reflected in nearly every individual category of hospital outsourcing surveyed.
The increasing use of outsourcing is principally driven by its perceived ability to reduce costs, according to industry analysts. The sources of pressure to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery include federal laws such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The high-profile cost-reduction initiatives included in those laws only add to pressures from private payers to rein in spending by hospitals, which are often blamed as being one of the costliest components of healthcare delivery.