How does robotic process automation change the healthcare industry?

Idego Idego • May 07
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Healthcare companies deal with a significant amount of repetitive and manual tasks that have to be carried out in their systems. These processes can impact the quality of medical services, if they are performed inefficiently. Improvement within this area is crucial, considering that there are lives at stake. 

Robotic process automation (RPA) solution suits the needs of even the most complex healthcare organizations. After implementing RPA, medical staff in your company will never again be distracted by the need to handle important administrative tasks. Read our article, analyze RPA use cases in healthcare and decide yourself, if you could benefit from applying this technology.

What Is Robotic Process Automation?

RPA is based on machine learning technology, which enables machines to learn from data and perform multiple activities in an automated manner (without human employee assistance). The main benefit of implementing robotic process automation is that your experts no longer have to devote their time to repetitive tasks, but it is also important that by increasing automation in your company, you also optimize those tasks, as machines have the capability to work faster and with fewer errors.

Of course, not every job should be performed by machines, but there are still many things that they can do. Robotic process automation may be applied to improve the performance of the following business aspects:

  • bill payments, 
  • recruitment procedures, 
  • scheduling meetings, 
  • accounting procedures, 
  • customer service, 
  • contract management.

Popularity of RPA solutions in healthcare businesses is rising

Imagine a medium-sized clinic or a large hospital – hundreds or even thousands of employees and hundreds of thousands of patients a year. Such healthcare organizations could really use an RPA solution – it could make them save resources significantly and at the same time improve standards of service.

According to a Deloitte survey published in 2017, already 53% of business respondents started to use RPA. Authors of the report expected that this number will grow to 72% by 2020. Even though we have no new reports in this regard yet, we believe it is safe to claim that robotic process automation is implemented by multiple organizations all around the world, and it has a positive impact on the quality of their services and efficiency. 

How does the Robotic Process Automation increase operational efficiency in healthcare?

First and foremost, customer service becomes significantly improved due to the improvement of other processes and better data flow in the systems. Software robots can also be used to provide customers with the right information – they can handle patients’ requests faster than humans. Properly designed, efficient online platforms can be used to automate appointment scheduling processes and to send reminders. Due to such a solution, your clients can access their medical histories from home easier. 

In less innovative companies, it is the employees that do a job which could be performed by machines much better and faster. In the long run, a team of employees will generate much more costs than the RPA system. By implementing it, you will reduce costs of your organization – remember that your savings may also result from the limited number of human errors. 

Which human error problem could be solved by an RPA solution? Robotic process automation technology makes it easier for companies to follow regulatory compliance. Failing to obey a particular regulation can be devastating for a healthcare company. Fortunately, RPA is accurate when it comes to following instructions. Additionally, your company will benefit from enhanced data confidentiality.

Robotic process automation – examples of use in healthcare

So what specific processes can be automated using RPA? 

Overall hospital management

A hospital or a clinic operates like a really complex organism. There are hundreds of employees, countless number of patients and their data, and multiple processes and systems. Managing all these elements is quite a challenge. Robotic process automation technology can make it much simpler. Administrative processes may be time-consuming, but after implementing an RPA solution, your employees will have time to deal with the real problems instead of wasting time on filling another pile of documents. Automation will also allow for more efficient scheduling of surgeries and other medical procedures, planning transportation of blood and organs etc.

Hiring experts is usually a long process, involving many stages. Along the way countless documents need to be prepared. Choosing the right person is crucial especially in healthcare where the absence of appropriate competences may cost someone their health or even life. If your organization relies on legacy HR systems, you may use bots to automate aggregating candidate applications, assessment results and interview notes. RPA technology can be leveraged to perform a more efficient employment history verification process. 

Customer service

Robotic process automation reduces errors that often appear during insurance claims management. Robots take care of filling the right data in compliance with regulations and monitor the whole process. The goal is to optimize the workflows, so the payers and providers could spend less time on paperwork.

Automated appointment scheduling becomes a standard in the modern world of business. In many cases you still need to send an email or contact a call center to make an appointment. With robotic process automation those are the robots who analyze the best possible arrangement for the patient, considering the most convenient time, cost, location, doctor preferences and any other issues that could be important for the patient. A properly designed solution could also send automated notification to those patients when their appointment is canceled or if there are any other changes.

Data handling

For many years the healthcare industry relied on paper documents. This is an old-fashioned, inefficient approach that makes performing various processes very slow. Digital transformation of such organizations was crucial! Today, many clinics are capable of storing patient information electronically. The data may then be accessed online by both doctors and patients if necessary. 

The process of extracting data from legacy systems and moving those into a digital system may also be automated using RPA technology. Robotic process automation software can perform repetitive data entry and decision processes with minimal risk of error. RPA bots will also handle the migration process, if, for example, you need to migrate data for medical research purposes. 

An RPA technology also improves accuracy and speed of the medical diagnosing by ensuring high quality information for predictive analytics, which is used more and more in order to follow the most optimal approach and come up with the best possible treatment. 

What about other things? Various processes like expense management, payment settlement, marketing etc. are common for all the industries and RPA can be used to automate them. Wouldn’t you like to make your healthcare organization more efficient?

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