RPA: The New Healthcare Tech Hero
With automation, healthcare companies are now transforming patient care and employee experience by freeing their workforce of disparate and complex processes
The healthcare industry is under constant pressure to provide better patient care in a cost-effective manner. Health providers are wrestling and negotiating heavily to create a system geared towards one massive goal: to extend high-quality, affordable healthcare to the broadest population possible. Further, governments and healthcare stakeholders are also attempting to create a robust and accessible healthcare system. To do so, however, providers and payers alike have to overcome numerous challenges including management of unstructured data, redundant operations, finance functions and so on. Operating in this space becomes even more complicated when one considers the amount of time invested in the management of the entire infrastructure that supports the healthcare system: HR departments, IT departments, and supply chains.
To help overcome these operational pain points, more and more healthcare providers are embracing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to drive enhanced efficiency and growth. RPA is a technology that produces more time for professionals to perform the tasks they are uniquely qualified to do and innately better at, because it can carry out the important routine work that tends to be less fulfilling for human professionals. With automation, healthcare companies are now transforming patient care and employee experience by freeing their workforce of disparate and complex processes.
Let us take a look at three key challenges tackled by RPA for healthcare professionals.
Dealing with unstructured documents
The healthcare sector is no stranger to complex documentation. With lengthy clinical packets running as long as 30 to 50 pages, healthcare professionals struggle to easily find and extract relevant data from these often unstructured files. This results in higher operational time, increased costs and lower resource efficiency. By bringing in RPA, professionals can automate all the document handling scenarios. For instance, they will be able to set up quick audit logic for claim edits, scan and validate documents to auto-load patient data into electronic records and so on, freeing up time for clinical staff to be put to more strategic use. This would also ensure accuracy in documentation resulting in cost and time savings.
Take the example of Max Healthcare wherein the hospital chain was facing challenges in accuracy, turnaround time and consistency as it dealt with huge volumes of patient transactions everyday. By implementing RPA, the organization was not only able to save the turnaround time by at least 50%, but also resulted in massive cost savings. With a minimal investment across three processes, it reduced errors and recovered pending payments, managing to save as much as Rs 1 crore over a period of 12 months.
Management of day-to-day processes
Organizations today rely heavily on softwares such as Microsoft Office for everyday work and spend a lot of time implementing their day-to-day work processes such as claim processing, member enrollment, etc and creating numerous reports on the same. While the use of technology supports them in saving time and maintaining accuracy, automation takes it a step further, simplifying development and maintenance of these monotonous operations. This results in a leaner, more efficient, and less risky process; thereby, enabling the employees to save time and utilize it to provide better patient care.
In the process to extract insights from patient charts for risk management, Health Fidelity was struggling with internal bottlenecks and delays due to poor or incomplete patient data. To overcome these challenges, the organization introduced automation. Creating an automated ingestion path helped enhance their data services’ ability to pull clinical information from a wider variety of locations much faster, helping advance their clients’ risk adjustment performance. In fact, the organization was able to double its customer base without adding new developers and today, are able to extract an average of 200 member documents per day, much more than what they could manually.
Handling email-based processes
Healthcare professionals use a variety of email tools to support workflows. However, customizing and management of these tools require considerable time investment. RPA platforms can facilitate the automation of any email-related process and features activities that are specific to particular tools. These repetitive and rule-based tasks once automated will ensure accuracy while freeing the professionals to better concentrate on patient care.
There are certain tasks that an organization wants performed by a human and that a human carries out best. However, when it comes to speed and accuracy in executing redundant tasks, software robots provide a better alternative. We live in an era where ML, document understanding, and other AI components are enhancing almost every aspect of our lives. Healthcare stakeholders are also examining how they can enhance distinct human functions through harnessing cutting-edge digital technologies. In this, RPA is emerging as an obvious choice. Healthcare organizations – whether private sector or public sector – are exploring immediately the variety of tasks and processes that they can automate including, but not limited to, centralized billing, customer services, day-to-day processes and so on. With an estimated overall 60% of tasks that can be automated, introducing RPA is in the best interest of their organizations, the human employees, and the customers – patients that lie at the center of the healthcare industry.
Authored by Manish Bharti, President, UiPath India and SAARC
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