An Evaluation of Health Information Technology Outsourcing Success

Date

2013-07-02

Authors

Malovec, Shannon

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Abstract

Outsourcing involves contracting out a function, or functions, performed by an organization to another organization available in the market. It involves transferring the services, performed by internal staff, as well as the staff themselves, to an external service provider under a contractual agreement. Today in healthcare, many organizations are exploring outsourcing as a way to address demands for health information technology (HIT). This thesis researches the success of outsourcing in the health informatics industry in Canada. The study is designed to help understand whether outsourcing HIT functions, such as development, implementation, operations, and maintenance, can prove successful and result in benefits for an organization. The study finds that outsourcing all four functions of HIT development, implementation, operations, and maintenance occurs in Canada; however, the research from the semi-structured interviews finds that operations and maintenance may be more commonly outsourced in Canada, over development and implementation functions. Despite this, the research from the semi-structured interviews finds that outsourcing development and implementation may actually offer more benefits and fewer challenges than outsourcing operations and maintenance. The research also finds that there can be many benefits of outsourcing for organizations, such as gaining access to expertise and improving service levels, as well as many weaknesses of outsourcing, such as losing internal knowledge and having to manage the change required from outsourcing. The findings from this thesis were used to develop a conceptual model that can be used when an organization is looking at outsourcing. The model considers the inputs and the outputs to outsourcing as an organizational strategy, including the factors that influence an organization’s decision to outsource, the risk and challenges associated with outsourcing, and the expected outcomes and benefits that can result from outsourcing. The study proposes that there are many things that need to be considered when outsourcing to ensure it is successful.

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Keywords

Health Informatics, Outsourcing, Health Information Technology

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