A few days ago, a doctor, a good friend of mine, posted on Twitter a photograph of a poster that had been placed in his hospital. The text on the poster was: “I can work in private healthcare and you … can you pay for it?” This message is part of the campaign that part of the Madrid health sector is carrying out against the reform plans of the Community of Madrid, including the outsourcing of the management of several hospitals. The organizations opposed to these reforms have called this outsourcing process “privatization”, and the ambiguity of that term gives rise to insinuations such as that of the aforementioned cartel, whose intentionality is evident.

In this post, I would like to shed some light on the meaning of the term “outsourcing”, as a management strategy in general and in its application to the health sector in particular, without going into the cases currently under discussion, since I do not know the details.

Outsourcing is not, of course, a recent phenomenon: decades ago companies and organizations began to delegate services to third parties that were not part of the “core” of their activity: cleaning, security, maintenance, IT, accounting, payroll … Outsourcing is today such a widespread procedure that it is even a primary source of income in some countries, such as India or the Philippines. In some areas and sectors, the use of own personnel is little less than unimaginable (in the case of private security) and in others, the trend towards outsourcing seems unstoppable (call centers, IT support …)

Outsources Health Care Phone Support

The reasons why this procedure has been imposed with force are very diverse; flexibility is one of the most important: the providers of these types of services have abundant and specialized staff, and they have the ability to maneuver, distributing their workforce according to the needs of their different clients. In this way, your clients can count on reinforcements in specific moments of work overload, which with the internal workforce can be much more complex. Likewise, in the face of a technological change, the specialized company will be able to provide qualified personnel in a much shorter period of time than the client would need to “recycle” its own personnel. This flexibility is in itself a very compelling reason to motivate the customer to “take” the service “outside” of your organization.

But in addition, outsourcing is usually associated with a reduction in costs. I am going to try to explain the reason for this saving with an example from the health sector: suppose that a hospital has internalized the maintenance of its electromedical equipment, and has a staff of specialist technicians to do so. These technicians have vacations, breaks, permits, they can get sick, etc … so the normal thing is that the staff is slightly oversized to cover these eventualities. The hospital will have a more or less automated maintenance management system, will have a warehouse for essential spare parts and will have commercial agreements with suppliers of spare parts and consumables, which in many cases will be the equipment manufacturers themselves. When a repair requires knowledge that exceeds the qualification of the technicians, or expensive tools that the hospital does not have, the help of third parties or the equipment manufacturer itself will be necessary, always at a high cost. Likewise, the incorporation of new equipment or new brands will require information and training for hospital technicians, which will normally require the collaboration (not always proactive and never disinterested) of the manufacturer.

If the hospital outsources this service to a solvent borrower, the latter will be able to size a much tighter staff of technicians (since it will have internal flexibility to adjust to any eventuality). Its knowledge base will not be limited to the qualification of the staff outpost in the hospital but will be extended to its entire staff, so that its technicians will have the possibility to consult internally before having to resort to the manufacturer, and may even allocate experts or tools to complex repairs where they are needed. You will be able to reduce the stock of the hospital’s spare parts warehouse since it will have its own central warehouses, from where you can meet the needs of any of your customers. Likewise, you will have advantageous commercial agreements when moving more important volumes. It will have a powerful and widely implemented computer system, which will not only streamline management but will allow it to exploit the information, evaluate performance, seek best practices … Before the incorporation of new equipment, the borrower will be able to directly train their technicians or even carry out movements in your template to adjust it to the new

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