Providence St. Joseph Health partnered with Accenture, IBM Corp. and Deloitte to better manage its administrative services, the Renton, Wash.-based integrated health system announced late Thursday.
Accenture is tasked with modernizing accounting, accounts payable and procurement; IBM will oversee payroll, talent acquisition and human resources; and Deloitte will implement a new cloud-based enterprise resource-planning IT system. The move will mean eliminating about 700 positions in its 119,000-person workforce, and Providence St. Joseph will look to redeploy affected administrative employees where possible, the organization said.
Streamlining these administrative tasks will allow Providence St. Joseph to focus on patient care, executives said. Most of the new structure and processes will be in place by October.
"We want our caregivers to have the same high quality, efficient and convenient tools and processes that the leading employers in the world are using today to support their people," Greg Till, executive vice president and chief people officer for Providence St. Joseph said in prepared remarks.
The constant, complicated stream of administrative documents flooding hospital back offices involved in IT management, hiring, fulfilling purchase orders and replacing equipment can pose significant financial risks that health systems are increasingly looking to offload.
All the data and documents can get lost in providers' back office workflow, which some have described as a "black hole"—archaic, overly manual and tedious.
Disorganization and administrative burden can compromise care quality and lead to higher turnover as well as hefty penalties amounting to millions of dollars a year. Outsourcing, when done well, can free up capital and resources amid declining reimbursement levels.
The not-for-profit Catholic health system includes 51 hospitals, 829 physician clinics, senior services, supportive housing and other services. It reported $3 million in operating income after restructuring costs on operating revenue of $24.43 billion in 2018, compared to $3 million in operating income on operating revenue of $23.16 billion the year prior. Before restructuring costs, Providence St. Joseph reported $165 million in operating income for 2018.