Whereas the lion's share of information collected, generated and stored by businesses was once in paper form, the mass digitization of data that has taken place in the past few years has completely revolutionized the realm of content management. Now, companies are largely relying upon a mixture of internally handled solutions and Web-based services to not only protect and store their data, but analyze it and garner intelligence as well.
In certain industries, this has been a bit more complex and challenging than others, especially those that have to comply with a wider range of regulatory compliance statutes and industry-recognized best practices. Health care and financial services should be the first to jump to mind, but there are certainly others that have come under new types of regulations given the mass spread of digital content management strategies rather than paper-based filing systems.
However, this is not stopping a wealth of organizations – even those in the most heavily regulated of industries – from trying to balance in-house and outsourced content management, document capture, reporting analytics and other functions. Rather, this type of behavior appears to be accelerating as time goes on, leading many to believe that a more substantial overhaul of policies, practices and strategies will be needed in virtually every organization around.
A look inside
FierceContentManagement recently reported that medical records management has no doubt boggled a wealth of health care leaders in the past few years, but outsourcing has appeared to be a solution. Whether or not the firms servicing the industry are in compliance with the law rests squarely on the shoulders of the user, in the case being hospitals, insurance companies and the like, but one can only hope that ethical practices are being put forth around every corner.
According to the news provider, financial advantages of outsourcing certain content management strategies to businesses operating abroad are clear, but there is plenty of cause for concern given the massive challenges involved in modern cybersecurity. What's more, once regulated documents and information begin to cross borders, the matter of compliance becomes a bit trickier, as there still needs to be some form of check and balance system involved in procurement, management and general operations.
"Currently, there are a lot of outsourced medical services to India and the Philippines," Street Wise's Jacob Maslow told FierceContentManagement. "The primary tasks being outsourced are usually pretty simple. We are talking about medical billing, double-checking medical records, and records management. Of course, the actual physical examination still has to be done by a physician in the United States."
The source also reached out to Scott Byers regarding his opinion on the matter, as he is the president and chief executive officer of a prominent records management firm in the United States.
"Outsourcing work to a partner has many valuable benefits for a hospital, but HIPAA obligations remain with the facility, so reasonable steps must be taken to prevent data breaches of patients' medical records," Byers affirmed. "This strategy should serve as the standard hospitals should follow before sharing any information or access with an outsourced partner."
The brass tacks
Now, while there are certainly plenty of economic reasons to take this path, it is yet to be seen whether it is entirely necessary, or could bring on unwarranted and avoidable risk. After all, automation software has dramatically improved the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of document capture, content management, reporting analytics and other core needs within the health care industry and among others to boot.
The first choice should always be to see if the job can be accomplished using trusted service providers within borders or even internally with the right software.