Business process outsourcing (BPO) allows pharmacies to outsource critical functions, freeing up their in-house staff to focus on more specialized tasks and opening the door to experienced workers. Through BPO, pharmacies can improve their business operations, ensuring they remain compliant, saving money, and efficiently completing tasks.
The Benefits of Outsourcing
So many benefits can come from using BPO for pharmacy benefits management. Let’s review a few different benefits that many pharmacies receive when they outsource.
Some people aren't aware that outsourcing could save them money, but it's one of the most notable benefits of choosing the right partner. Not only can outsourcing mean tasks get done quicker, but your new team may be able to provide you with the most cost-effective alternative options.
One of the most significant benefits of outsourcing is working with experienced staff. When you choose the right outsourcing partner, you can rely on them to provide you with workers with years of experience. This means that you won't need to provide them with intensive training. Instead, you can rely on them to understand the field, provide practical suggestions, and get things done productively.
Productivity is critical when it comes to running pharmacies in an efficient, profitable way. If you've noticed that your in-house team is struggling with productivity, consider outsourcing the most impacted areas. Because your new staff will be experienced in their work areas, they can recommend strategies to improve productivity and ensure that your tasks are done promptly
The Potential Challenges of Outsourcing
While outsourcing can be an excellent choice for various pharmacies, a few potential challenges must be considered. Below are some of those potential challenges, as well as ways that you can combat them.
Challenge 1: Maintaining Security and Compliance
Security and compliance are essential features of a pharmacy. When you bring more people into your team, you open yourself up to potential security and compliance issues. Without the proper operational procedures in place, you could put your business or client information at risk.
Example: If you hire a BPO partner that doesn't have experience in pharmacy benefits management (PBM), they may not be aware of all the health information regulations. This could lead to a potential breach of information, especially if they're not aware of industry standards regarding security and compliance.
While maintaining security and compliance is a widespread challenge that many pharmacies face, there are a few different things that you can do to overcome this challenge:
- Specifically select a BPO partner with a strong security and compliance track record. During the evaluation phase of potential partners, be sure to ask them about their dedication to these areas. If a partner can't provide past examples of their security and compliance work, they may not be the right option for you.
- Be sure that the BPO partner has the necessary certifications and accreditations. Suppose a BPO partner can’t provide you with documentation about their security and compliance background. In that case, it may be time to move on and find another option that can give you the proper proof of experience.
- Conduct regular audits of the BPO partner's security and compliance procedures. Regular audits are essential to prove that you've put a reasonable effort into protecting your information and upholding data privacy laws.
Challenge 2: Managing the Transition to a New Provider
Some people underestimate the importance of having a smooth transition when moving to a new provider. Information can be easily overlooked without the right plan, and time can quickly become lost.
Ensuring that everyone understands their roles is essential when working with a new provider. Example: If Partner X (your previous BPO partner) ends work on August 1st and Partner Y (your new BPO partner) begins work on September 1st, you'll need to have a plan to cover the existing work gap. Ensuring everyone understands their roles during transition is essential so that nothing gets lost or slips between the cracks.
There are a few different options to consider when it comes to managing the transition to a new provider:
- Develop a detailed transition plan. Ensuring you have a clear, documented plan is one of the best ways to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible. Consider devoting a solid amount of time to developing this plan so that you can discuss it internally with your team.
- Communicate regularly with all stakeholders during the transition period. Communication is vital when it comes to working with a new BPO partner. When establishing productive communication, it’s essential to be sure that you have the proper channels in place and that everyone is aware of your expectations.
- Provide training to your staff on the new BPO partner's systems and procedures. Many people are focused on their BPO partner during the transition period, but it's important not to forget about your in-house team. Ensuring they have training about new procedures will help everyone feel connected and part of the team. Plus, it will reduce the chances of miscommunications.
Challenge 3: Ensuring a Smooth Transition to a New Provider
Working with a new BPO partner can be challenging, as people understand their new roles and any recent procedures that have been put in place. If you don’t have the right transition period tools, you could end up with easily missed things or confused people.
Example: If you haven't set clear expectations and goals, measuring success is impossible. Without choosing an ROI, for example, it can be challenging to know if you're receiving the benefits you're looking for and making financial sense.
It’s easy for miscommunication to happen during this period, but there are a few different things that you can do to make sure that the transition is as smooth as possible:
- Establish clear communication channels with your BPO partner. Everyone involved in the partner transition should be deeply aware of your communication expectations and the appropriate people to reach out to in each situation. A large part of this is ensuring you're utilizing the right technology so that communication can happen effectively and organized.
- Set clear expectations and goals. We touched on this briefly, but it's essential to ensure everyone's on the same page and understands what you're looking for.
- Monitor the BPO partner’s performance closely. Regular audits and consistent conversations about performance are good ways to ensure that outsourcing makes financial sense for you.
Challenge 4: Communicating Effectively With Your BPO Partner
Communicating effectively with your BPO partner is one of the biggest challenges you may face. From time zone differences to deciphering tone and intention, ensuring you communicate productively is essential.
Example: If one of your outsourced staff doesn’t understand who they need to reach out to for help, they may contact the right person - which could result in an incorrect answer or lost time.
Below are a few different things to consider when it comes to communicating effectively with your BPO partner:
- Be clear and concise in your communications. Making sure that everyone not only receives your contacts but also understands them is essential. Communicate what you need to and consider holding back what isn’t necessary to communicate.
- Use multiple channels of communication. Different channels make sense for different situations, from email and phone to video conferencing. Having numerous channels available is one of the best ways to ensure everyone has the tools to succeed.
- Schedule regular meetings to discuss progress and any challenges. Regular meetings are an excellent way to ensure a platform is available if questions or concerns arise. Ensuring you're open to answering those questions is essential, and meetings can play an important role.
Challenge 5: Managing Cultural Differences
Cultural differences are a common problem that many people encounter during the outsourcing process. You could easily miscommunicate or accidentally burn bridges without being aware of cultural differences.
Example: If someone on your team is not being culturally sensitive, then miscommunications may occur without your team knowing.
The good news is that there are a few options for managing cultural differences:
- Remain respectful of cultural differences. Maintaining an attitude of respect is always a good rule of thumb in business, but it becomes exceedingly more critical when dealing with outsourced staff.
- Be patient and understanding. Miscommunications and mistakes are bound to happen. Being open to growth is an essential component of outsourcing, so don’t be afraid to be patient.
- Encourage open communication and feedback. Encouraging your outsourced staff to communicate with you is one of the best ways to ensure everyone's on the same page and that any questions that arise are being answered correctly. Make sure that your new team knows you're open to feedback, as this is one of the best ways to be aware of when adjustments need to be made.
Overcoming Challenges Presented by BPO
From dealing with communication problems to remaining culturally sensitive, there are various things to remember regarding outsourcing. Making sure you're open to creative solutions to challenges is one of the best ways to succeed. Don't be afraid to encourage open communication; let your new team know you're there to support them.
Learning more about BPO for pharmacy benefits management is an excellent way to determine if it could be the right choice for your business. Consider researching this area and checking out our website for more information. Connecting with us on LinkedIn is another excellent way to learn about prevalent BPO topics and how they could impact your business.