Would Anyone Care If Pharmacy Support Was Offshore?

We’ve all had our bad experiences with an offshore call center, and I’d bet many of us have also had times when we didn’t even realize that we were talking to someone offshore.  Being offshore no longer means building a call center in India (which is now so cliche that they have a show about it – Outsourced).  It could be anywhere in the world.  Or, it could involve offshoring differing services – paper claims processing, clinical review, e-mail response, exception management, …

It certainly is less expensive per transaction although there are data integration costs, management costs, and other challenges.  The key question is whether the consumer cares.  I believe one PBM tried this years ago and got some backlash from their clients.  I’ve heard that another PBM is trying it again although I’m not sure it’s frontline customer support.

A lot of times people worry about data security, but that should be manageable.  (Plus there are enough data issues here in the US so keeping it onshore doesn’t seem to help.)

If the number on the back of your pharmacy card took you directly to an offshore call center, I believe some patients would care.

If the clinician reviewing your formulary exception or prior authorization request was offshore, I don’t think people would care.

If the people doing data entry and managing paper claims were offshore, I don’t think people would care.

Given that 50% of people misunderstand e-mails to begin with, I wonder if people would care that e-mail responses were from offshore (although they should be pretty generic since there’s no clinical information exchange happening).

Of course, there are economic times where sending anything offshore is frowned upon by the general public which views this as not supporting the US economy.

I’m just thinking out loud here.  Several people have brought it up to me, but I haven’t seen anything else about it.

(Note: This is different from outsourcing which is something that lots of companies do or centralizing the call center which some companies do.)

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