Survey: Hospitals consider outsourcing imaging to cut costs

A recent Black Book Market Research survey of administrators from 709 hospitals and inpatient organizations found medical imaging among the most popular services hospitals are considering outsourcing to save money. 

Some 90 percent of respondents said they were considering outsourcing diagnostic imaging equipment in radiology and cardiology—but only 18 percent are currently pursuing such a path.

“Value-based care reforms have put pressure on hospitals to decrease inpatient volumes, achieve outcomes goals and provide cost-effective care. Clinical services outsourcing is the rage because it offers struggling hospitals with immediate alternatives,” said Doug Brown, president of Black Book Research, in the 4,595-respondent report.

Teleradiology is listed beside medical imaging equipment as the most popular service lines hospitals are considering for outsourcing. The study suggests many hospitals don’t have the capital funds to invest in replacement, new and advanced imaging centers.

"For hospitals in financial danger with margin pressures placing the entire hospital workforce at risk, attacking margin by outsourcing one or more areas can actually save jobs in other core departments,” Brown said.

A total of 98 percent surveyed said they were determining whether to work with third-party vendors in both clinical and nonclinical functions to focus on value-based care delivery. Just 2 percent considered outsourcing an unthinkable option because of anticipated reactions from staff and the community.