Shakespeare’s Hamlet is considered among the most powerful and influential works of world literature. The play was written over 400 years ago, yet it’s one of the most quoted works, relevant in popular culture even today — even when considering the pros and cons of onsite partner staffing when looking to outsource your business office operations.
We’ll look to Shakespeare’s Danish political tragedy to guide us through this topic.
“That it should come to this!”
Your healthcare organization is searching for an outsource partner to run business office operations and you believe that you’ve found your perfect match. Alas, their headquarters are a 1,000 miles away. Does it make sense to have a representative of the partner onsite at your organization to help facilitate the outsourcing engagement? Perhaps, but it depends on the specific needs of the partnership and the vision that you have for the role of the onsite team member.
"This above all: to thine own self be true."
There are many things to consider when exploring whether an onsite team member would further improve the success of your outsourcing engagement. Let’s start with the reasons why it may make sense for your organization:
- There may be technological challenges that limit a remote team from accessing information that is required to effectively manage the accounts. EOBs and medical records are top of mind.
- You may desire to have a patient-facing partner representative for walk-in questions and inquiries from patients.
- An onsite partner representative may help to foster collaboration and trust with your internal team.
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
Is there a downside to enlisting an onsite partner staff member in your organization? In healthcare, one size definitely does not fit all. It could simply be unnecessary or even counter productive to host an onsite representative. Here are considerations why it may not be right:
- If your organization is already tight on space, it might not be wise to add additional staff through your outsource relationship.
- Does your team actually need onsite support? If it’s not really necessary, allow the engagement be virtual.
- Make sure there is a clear division of labor. There is a potential loss of efficiency if the onsite team member is performing the same duties as the remote workforce.
"Though this be madness, yet there is method in't."
Generally, the outsource firm will make the hiring decision or transfer one of their employees to your organization. You can rest assured that if your outsource partner places a representative of their company in your organization, the applicant selected for that position will be someone who is well-vetted and highly qualified. The onsite staff is representing the outsource partner on a day to day and face to face basis, which means they will be choosy about who they pick.
On the other hand, priorities and expectations for the onsite representative must be clear. Who does he/she report to/work most closely with? What are his/her duties? How do you maintain transparency? These questions should be clearly answered and discussed between the outsource partner and your organization so there is a common understanding of the role, which will result in better outcomes for both organizations.
The Bottom Line
Hamlet is a play about the uncertainties we face in our lives, along with the theme to make mindful and reasonable decisions. Although, Hamlet wrestles with these concepts, he makes reckless and blind decisions. Shakespeare 101: Don’t be a Hamlet. The decision to establish onsite outsource partner representation should be weighed carefully and agreed upon by both parties. Depending on the scenario, the role can be mutually beneficial and can strengthen the partner relationship.