The Rise of Knowledge Business Process Outsourcing (KBPO)

The state of our economy is on everyone’s mind today. Our business leaders understand that job creation and company growth is an increasingly global proposition, especially with the growth of outsourcing over the past two decades. Outsourcing began small, focused on finding cheaper manpower for labor-intensive jobs such as telemarketing and data entry at the beginning of the millennium. However, the paradigm is changing. Leading business organizations, including those in the healthcare industry, are outsourcing even their “core competencies” to gain a competitive edge with Knowledge Business Process Outsourcing.

Business process outsourcing has been a reality for many larger corporations for the past decade, and smaller businesses have been gradually engaging as well because of the changing process. Initially, smaller businesses were hesitant because the headaches of managing employees even in a central office; the idea of managing  a work force overseas was just too much. However, outsourcing is now much simpler. Instead of worrying about each individual contractor, companies simply work with a business that specializes in outsourcing that particular talent pool, and their provider hires and manages the workers abroad. In the same way, KBPO will free managers from many of the mundane details of having employees and allow them to focus simply on the deliverables. Talent is vetted and managed from abroad — all business managers have to worry about is the product and payment.

Advantages of the Knowledge Business Process Outsourcing for Healthcare

The transition to Knowledge Business Process Outsourcing is occurring in healthcare, as in every other industry. Examples of healthcare KBPO currently available include:

  • Financial Research
  • Insurance Research
  • Market Research
  • Data Analytics
  • Content Research Services
  • Medical Content Services
  • Reconciliation Services
  • Billing and Invoicing Services

In healthcare, it began with outsourcing services such as social network analysis and business process outsourcing for health insurance strategic services. As of July 2010, a wide range of services was available to healthcare facilities, and all were in various stages of mainstream adoption. According to a study by Gartner, KBPO for the healthcare industry has reached the necessary “plateau of productivity” and will see increasing adoption in the next few years. Some of the benefits of KBPO for healthcare include:

Collaboration across and beyond the enterprise. Automatic work routing and notifications across groups, partners, and customers reduces the time, errors and complexity of executing processes.

Straight-through processing. Business rules in processes can help automate the routing and processing of tasks — often reducing the amount of human intervention needed by over 80%.

Real-time visibility and control over processes. Managers can view real-time process performance and proactively manage bottlenecks.

Value and life of core systems extension. Leverage existing applications by reading and posting transactions while introducing more efficient Web-based forms and interfaces.

Process consistency. Ensure that the process documented is the process executed. Process models that actually run the process provide consistency, adherence and audit trails to ensure compliance with regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley.

Faster response to change. Revise processes to respond to organization or regulatory changes — in days, if necessary.

Potential for cloud. Cloud is the next iteration of outsourcing, adding to the beneficial economics many companies already experience. Unlike traditional BPO, which often requires the service provider to take over an existing software installation, the process cloud uses a common, one-to-many platform to automate highly standardized processes. It differs from application clouds in that it provides end-to-end process support, covering not just software but also people processes such as contact centers.

Over the next two to five years, the majority of KBPO will be widely adopted in the healthcare industry. Healthcare companies and providers cannot afford to overlook the advantages and benefits of this growing trend.