Despite all the advancements in technology, the healthcare sector continues to be heavily dependent on people. About 90 percent of providers still leverage paper and manual processes for payment collections. Such an approach yields slower and less successful results, so optimizing operations could save much time while improving health system sustainability.
Technologies and digital tools like artificial intelligence and robotic process automation in healthcare can help hospitals minimize excess administrative overhead, streamline operations, and improve outcomes for the organization overall. Knowing how to deploy and make the most of these technologies is the key.
Providing healthcare automation services for many years, we know that implementing popular tools just for the sake of a trend won’t bring any positive outcomes. So, we’ve prepared a guide to help you apply the winning approach to robotic process automation (RPA) that scales and thrives.
What can be automated?
The artificial intelligence (AI) market in healthcare reached $10.4 billion in 2021. The combination of AI and RPA simplifies various labor-intensive and mundane tasks in care-providing organizations, demonstrating higher operational quality and efficiency. When done right, AI and automation in healthcare can lower the probability of human errors by 99 percent. Moreover, they can free up over 6700 staff hours that could be redirected to more complicated and important tasks.
So, what are the best use cases for RPA?
- Document management
RPA software utilizes rules and AI algorithms to sort and structure clinical documentation into various categories. Also, intelligent platforms allow you to find and extract the necessary data from documents with extreme precision.
- Claim processing and billing
These tasks are monotonous, laborious, and prone to human error, which can cause hurdles during processing and lead to high claim rejection levels. Healthcare automation solutions create a failproof system and provide smooth end-to-end functionality by optimizing data gathering from numerous sources across various systems. They help organizations reduce claim denials by 80 percent and save over $1 million per year.
- Medical records administration
Automation of medical document management and EHR system optimization helped our partner reach 90 percent accuracy in records while ensuring data integrity and timely services. Additionally, the industry can save more than a quarter of US healthcare administrative spending, which amounted to $950 billion in 2019.
- Supply chain and inventory
Intelligent software allows you to keep track of the inventory needed for hospitals and receive notifications about changes in supply and demand. With robotic process automation in healthcare, your clinic will always have a desirable provision of medical equipment thanks to an optimized management process.
- Medical appointment scheduling
Think about all the hard work associated with handling patient clinic visits: collecting patient personal data, diagnostic details, policy numbers, laboratory results, and more. RPA for healthcare has the potential to solve that by streamlining the whole process, including matching the patients with specialists based on their availability.
Your assistants can schedule reminders and inform you about appointment changes or cancellations immediately. Considering that the US healthcare system pays $150 billion yearly because of missed appointments, we see RPA as a feasible option.
- HIPAA and data compliance management
A new rule for price transparency legislation will increase the stakes in the coming years. Non-compliance with this single regulation may cost you $5,500 per day or over $2 million per year.
Many healthcare providers find it challenging to store and secure information with the growing reliance on numerous applications. Healthcare automation solutions facilitate compliance checks and offer role-based control, so only authorized persons will have access to confidential information. By doing so, you will prevent data leakages and reduce considerable compliant risk.
Constraints of implementation
RPA projects face diverse bottlenecks, and up to 50 percent of them fail. It’s an excellent solution for mundane and recurrent tasks, but it won’t fix an operation that is initially broken. This is a common reason robotic process automation in healthcare industry leads to project failure.
Organizations that don’t review and optimize operations before automating them risk increasing problems within those processes. This means magnifying errors, vulnerabilities, and everything that was wrong with the process initially. So, you should first analyze them and eliminate all inefficiencies.
Identifying the right process is also vital. Functions that require advanced and critical thinking would invariably fail. When assessing tasks for RPA, we advise choosing rule-based and predictable flows that your workforce should do routinely.
Success factors of healthcare automation solutions
As hospitals apply more bots, their management and maintenance become more complex and costly. This can happen if you’re not governing it right. Automation in the healthcare industry demands proper documentation, oversight, and management, not just developing and throwing bots into production. An effective RPA governance framework, knowledge, and support help avoid such scenarios.
2. Security is a must
In a strictly regulated and high-risk sector like healthcare, you should give priority to information security when selecting or building an RPA solution. The cost of a data breach in a medical organization is estimated at $7.13 million and it is the highest across every other major industry. So, engage your IT specialists early in the process to eliminate security risks upfront.
3. Involve your staff in modernization
Robotic process automation in healthcare is more than mere technology implementation. At its core, it’s a business initiative that affects everyone in your organization. So, you should address the human side of the change to prepare staff for new technology. Communicate the change to your employees and explain that intelligent software won’t replace them. Explain that such solutions will take their routine tasks and allow them to spend more time with patients. Also, ensure they have the necessary knowledge and skillset to use new tools.
How to approach RPA effectively
Below, we provide some rules on how to implement RPA for healthcare, so you can avoid common pitfalls and enjoy all the benefits of this tech solution.
- Identify pain points. Are there areas within your organization that you want to become more efficient? Here is a quick checklist of how to choose the process most suitable for automation. The workflow:
- Has a fixed input/output
- Has a high possibility of errors
- Utilizes several sources for data
- Takes considerable time
We also advise you to set goals you want to accomplish with the RPA software and determine the desired ROI versus the cost to build the solution. Medical companies that begin their automation journey are not as effective because they don’t review and assess processes upfront.
- Select a healthcare-specific vendor. Partner with a healthcare-focused provider who understands the industry and its workflows and can help discover inefficiencies specific to the sector. When choosing a vendor, look through its client portfolio to check whether they have experience implementing similar RPA projects.
- Test technology. Perform thorough testing to check performance in all possible scenarios and detect bugs that must be fixed immediately. After you automate the process and run it, evaluate its results and get detailed feedback from users and stakeholders.
- Educate staff. Starting an RPA project requires commitment and buy-in from leadership planning. We recommend educating employees early on the proper technology usage and its benefits. As an executive, you should collect feedback from staff using new software solutions and consistently communicate the goals of technology adoption within the organization.
- Measure RPA performance. Assess deployment success and monitor key performance indicators to track the health of the new RPA system. By doing so, you will be able to better plan your automation journey toward organization-wide adoption.
The bottom line
Robotic process automation in healthcare is a long-term consideration for any service provider, and the outcomes are genuinely transformational. A more streamlined healthcare system empowers improved more accessible patient care while saving costs and cutting administrative waste.
TEAM International helped clients decrease human error probability by 99 percent and reduce the processing time by 70 percent through RPA. We know that you are more likely to reap the maximum benefit of healthcare automation solutions by following a strategic approach with strong project ownership. Let’s team up to cure your business inefficiencies.