The digital revolution has drastically transformed our personal lives, but also all business sectors across the globe – and the healthcare sector is no exception.
Generally speaking, healthcare centres require a lot of well established procedures in order to provide adequate care to their patients. But, since many of these processes are repetitive, high-volume and time-consuming, they can be successfully automated and performed by software robots and the vast majority of health organizations are starting to understand this.
For example, according to a survey conducted in 2020 and quoted by Statista, 90% of large healthcare organizations revealed that they have an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation strategy – a significant increase from only 53% in 2019.
Moreover, 66% of healthcare units were familiar with robotic process automation in 2020, an increase from 50% in the previous year. If you want to find out more about the state of robotic process automation, read our in-depth article about RPA in 2021: digital transformation during the pandemic.
The healthcare industry was hit hardest by the effects of the pandemic and the pressure felt since the beginning of 2020 by health systems all over the world was huge and unprecedented.
Moreover, with every pandemic wave, the vast majority of intensive care units are suffocated by the numbers of sick patients. Doctors and nurses have to adapt and to work countless hours. Every second lost on paperwork or bureaucratic processes matters, so automating this type of operation is crucial for patients’ lives.
If healthcare workers no longer needed to waste time dealing with paperwork, they could focus on providing better and more empathetic care for their patients. Therefore, automation is the ideal solution when it comes to increasing efficiency and reducing the risk of errors.
Even though we now have access to COVID-19 vaccines, the pandemic isn’t over yet and specialists expect further pandemic waves. Just to name a few of the challenges that the healthcare system faces right now, we could mention:
- Cybersecurity issues: Telemedicine has evolved more than ever before – more and more patients are choosing to connect with their doctors online. Unfortunately this leads to security breaches, which affect the proper functioning of the unit. This is why all health providers should pay attention and invest more in protecting their systems from security threats.
- Patient experience: Especially when it comes to medical services, people want to benefit from an integrated, positive experience, from scheduling appointments to discharge, so making their interaction easier is crucial for the overall workflow of the healthcare unit. In times of crisis, doing all of this becomes more difficult than usual.
- Finding an adequate payment model: Healthcare providers have to find new ways of establishing a payment model, based on incentives, that could actually increase the quality of the service while reducing costs.
- Payment processing: in addition to the previous point, invoicing and payment processing should also be accessible for all patients, so offering them alternatives when it comes to payment is very important – online, credit card and so on. Even tough it requires some investment in IT infrastructure, patients’ experience comes first.
- Data processing: taking care of patients requires dealing with a huge amount of data that come in various formats; so gathering, storing, and analyzing it is usually a real challenge for any healthcare provider.
Digital transformation is the right answer to solve some of these challenges, through the implementation of robotic process automation in healthcare. More exactly, software robots are able to provide more efficiency, cost savings, to ensure safety and reduce the risk of errors – all crucial aspects when it comes to treating patients. So it wouldn’t be an overstatement if we said that automation matters now more than ever, especially for this industry.
5 use cases for RPA in the healthcare sector
Let’s explore the benefits of robotic process automation in healthcare taking into account some specific use cases:
1. Data management
Taking care of a patient requires a lot of medical information and doctors need to have fast and easy access to it, in order to make the best medical decisions. Using paper is very inefficient and slows down the whole act of medical care.
Fortunately, software robots can manage all of the data: extracting, storing, analyzing or even migrating data can be easily automated, so that healthcare providers use their time for higher added-value activities, which will eventually lead to better patient care. Also, analysing a huge amount of data with zero errors will increases the rate of obtaining an accurate diagnosis, which will translate into an adequate treatment scheme.
2. Scheduling appointments
Through robotic process automation technology, patients are able to schedule their appointments by themselves, faster and easier, so the healthcare unit won’t need a human employee as an intermediary for this activity. This will lead to cost savings, increased customer satisfaction, and more efficiency.
3. Billing and claim management
These are very important aspects for the healthcare industry, but billing a patient or processing the claims manually can be a nightmare for employees. RPA is the ideal solution to perform the billing process and also to gather, process, and evaluate the data, when it comes to claims. Also, it’s important to mention that software robots can do all of the above with zero risk of errors.
4. Better compliance
Healthcare organizations have to be very careful when it comes to respecting compliance standards. RPA can make regulatory reporting more efficient, as it can reduce the time spent on gathering, compiling and analyzing information.
5. Better patient care
Patient care is the main focus of the healthcare sector, so, by reducing repetitive, mundane tasks, robotic process automation can offer a streamlined experience. When it comes to this industry, as we have mentioned at the beginning of this article, every second matters.
The benefits of a well-planned automation strategy could be achived only with the support of the right RPA implementation partner, who can understand the company’s needs in terms of digital transformation and come up with the best solutions. See what are our recommendations from our in-depth articles about steps to successful RPA implementation and how to start your RPA journey in 5 easy steps.
However, if you already have implemented RPA and want to take automation a step further – consider hyperautomation. It refers to a higher level of automation, based on a combination of technologies like Robotic Process Automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and Natural Language Processing (NLP).
As always, we’d love to hear from you – whether you have questions about RPA, hyperautomation, the tangible benefits that they could bring you – reach out and a member of our team will provide you with the information you’re looking for.