In 2019, McKinsey identified Robotic Process Automation as one of the technological innovations that will transform healthcare and generate an annual value from $350 billion to $410 billion by 2025.
The authors of a study published in JMIR Research Protocols in 2019 strongly asserted that ‘the future health sector will inevitably involve automation of routine tasks.’
In 2020, as the worldwide situation is increasingly evolving with businesses adjusting to a pandemic, RPA is rapidly being implemented to accelerate healthcare operations, helping organisations and professionals deal with COVID-19.
Numerous administrative activities have to be carried out by healthcare providers that includes billing, claims, patient onboarding, monitoring, data collection and much more. However, these tasks have often been handled by the healthcare staff manually, rendering the whole process cumbersome and tedious.
Adjusting to rapidly evolving healthcare laws and regulations is another common challenge faced by the healthcare industry. Non-compliance can result in penalties which can impact the healthcare provider ‘s reputation.
This is where Robotic Process Automation comes into the picture. RPA can bring about radical changes in the functioning of the healthcare sector. Scheduling, physician entry, laboratory test-review activities, personal health information, electronic medical records, remote test ordering and medication repetition, clinical decision-support systems, telehealth and telemedicine systems are only a few of the broad variety of RPA application areas in the healthcare sector.
Healthcare providers are under immense pressure to incorporate emerging technology to increase the quality of care, provide personalised healthcare while reducing costs. RPA can reshape the healthcare industry by minimising costs, reducing the likelihood of mistakes, and enhancing operational efficiency.
The U.S. government has partnered with UiPath to implement the use of 500 bots for coronavirus-related data analysis. Therefore, it is not just hospitals that are leveraging RPA during this pandemic.
It is clear that automation has arrived, and technologies such as RPA will change the way the healthcare system operates and impact people’s lives for the better.
Scope and Benefits of RPA in Healthcare
Several study studies have shown that more than 50% of the interactions will be automated by RPA in the coming decade.This also implies that healthcare and other providers that do not keep up with the changes in the business environment will ultimately face financial loss. Their customer loyalty will drop, the customer experience will decline, and they will suffer from competitive advantage.
Mentioned below are some of the advantages of leveraging RPA in the healthcare industry:
- Streamlined front-office support: Software robots can respond efficiently and quickly to patient requests, thereby enabling the patient flow to benefit the patient and the clinic alike.
- Improved data protection: Data transfers are always confidential in automated processes, limiting any human errors by design.
- Superior system compatibility: Automation software does not interfere with healthcare legacy systems and applications which implies that it can operate successfully without the need for additional expenditures in changing the system.
- Cost Efficient: The expense of a software robot is a fraction of that of a human employee. RPA can offer substantial savings that can be reinvested for routine activities that are prone to mistakes, thus providing the possibility for improved patient care.
At Tevince, we work to raise awareness on the significant developments in Robotic Process Automation. To this end, we have a couple of articles that delve deep and talk about the real world use cases of RPA in Manufacturing, Insurance and BPO.
In this article, we will talk at length about the several use cases of smart automation in the healthcare sector.
- Simplifying Appointment Scheduling:
These days patients often schedule appointments online. For the registration process, healthcare organizations have to gather patient information, diagnosis, and insurance data. Additionally, patient appointments also need to be coordinated with the schedules of various physicians and their availability in hospitals.
In addition, if any doctor is unable to attend to their patients, then the hospital staff needs to notify the patients in advance. Therefore, scheduling patient appointments can be a complex task.
All issues related with scheduling patient appointments can be resolved effectively by implementing RPA in healthcare. RPA bots can simplify data collection and analysis for patients. They can schedule patient appointments optimally according to diagnosis, location, availability of doctors, and other parameters. Also, in case doctors are not available for appointments, RPA bots can also alert patients.
- Accounts Settlements:
Healthcare facilities have to log, calculate, and evaluate bills accrued during each patient’s diagnosis and treatment. Processing of such data manually takes time and causes several errors. For accurate measurement of-patient’s bills, it is also necessary to maintain records of the many tests, prescriptions, doctor fees, wardroom costs, and other facilities. Thus, for the hospital personnel, the whole process becomes very difficult.
Automation can simplify the billing process in healthcare. After the structure is programmed in the bot, it will be able to generate automatic bills in line with the services provided to the patients. Accuracy will improve, and human errors will be significantly reduced. In addition, healthcare providers will be able to eliminate payment delays and financial loopholes and speed up account settlements effortlessly.
- Streamlining Claims Management:
Almost 294.6 million Americans have health insurance coverage, according to a study. Managing insurance claims entails processes such as data entry, collection, assessment, and dealing with appeals.
If done manually or using a generic software, the entire process can prove to be inefficient and error-prone. Outdated practises for claims management have a major effect on the cash flow. In addition, approximately 30-40% of health insurance requests can be rejected due to non-compliance with regulations. Ensuring regulatory compliance for insurance claims is another task altogether.
Implementing RPA in healthcare systems can streamline the process of handling insurance claims. RPA bots can speed up data processing and prevent errors. These bots can also detect compliance-related exceptions and avoid regulatory non-compliance.
RPA bots can automatically populate the insurance claims fields and apply the required regulatory laws to them. The claim filing can be started once the claim document is prepared. Therefore, smart automation can reduce errors and streamline claims management.
- Discharge Instructions:
Once a patient is discharged from the hospital after treatment, they are supposed to follow post-medication and healthcare guidelines. However, it is possible that the patient might not be able to follow the post-hospitalization medications and regimes responsibly.
By leveraging RPA in healthcare, bots can help patients with the exact discharge and post medication instructions. In order to remind the patient of the schedule, appointments, and tests, RPA bots can also be configured to deliver a notification at the correct time. Additionally, patients can also contact physicians for more assistance using these bots.
- Recording Audit Procedures:
Another critical process without which healthcare providers can eventually become financially distressed is auditing. The audits are also essential for ensuring patient safety as well as consistently delivering high-quality services.
RPA can emerge as a game changer for recording auditing procedures. It can take care of multiple auditing process tasks at once. In addition, it can help generate actionable reports with greater precision, which, apart from fulfilling the audit goals, are a must-have for regulatory enforcement.
- Healthcare Cycle:
Hospitals and healthcare providers collect significant amounts of patient data such as demographic records, diagnosis, and treatment periods, etc. Since all the information is stored in a common database, it can be tedious and difficult to extract and refine such data for analysis. In addition, with newer patients and diseases, the amount of data keeps increasing every day. Therefore, healthcare providers have to continually extract and optimise data.
RPA software can effortlessly record and monitor increasingly large amounts of data. With the adoption of RPA, hospitals and clinics can refine and extract their data to produce analytics in assistance with other digital systems. Such analytics can provide in-depth insights into various types of treatments. Healthcare providers can deliver reliable diagnosis and establish well-tailored therapies by making use of the insights. Through this technique, healthcare providers can effectively control and interpret vast quantities of information and spend more of their time treating and supporting patients.
Deloitte suggests that “a successful RPA integration could lead to accomplishing more tasks with fewer people. The remaining employees could focus on healthcare-related tasks such as patient care, the previously stated hospital triage, and research in clinical facilities.”
Furthermore, it also claims that between 51% to 60% of hospitals could see negative margins by 2025 if they are unable to achieve productivity growth.
RPA in healthcare complements the existing systems, workflows, processes, and procedures. This means that going forward, healthcare institutions have to make compulsory room for RPA inclusion. Smart automation will operate separately, solving daily issues, reducing time-consuming activities, and improving the quality of patient care.
At Tevince, we can help you develop a long-term RPA strategy to match evolving processes with advanced technology and automation. Contact us for successful RPA deployment and transform your organisation for the better.