Important Key Benefits of Robotic Process Automation in Healthcare

Numerous industries, including healthcare, are being transformed through RPA (Robotic Process Automation). Healthcare has been slower than other sectors to adopt RPA, primarily because vendors frequently abuse automation and RPA-required jobs have not been given priority.

RPA supports technical developments by enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of processes. Text messages alerting patients of impending appointments are a frequent application of healthcare automation. By querying a database, automation can also alert medical professionals to known drug interactions and contraindications.

The most significant advantages of RPA in healthcare are covered in this article.

How does RPA apply to healthcare?

Knowing the difference between real RPA and simple marketing is crucial. Although vendors frequently assert that their goods and services include some RPA, this isn’t necessarily the true.  RPA, for instance, isn’t a product that needs a staff member to start a sequence for it to function. These kinds of operations include:

  • Adding a patient to a list

  • Checking them in and out

  • Requiring patients to use a new website or gateway

A system that operates in the background without requiring continual supervision is another indication of true RPA. An automatic solution is one that would continue to function even if no one on the staff knew it was on. Furthermore, automatic solutions are often those that can carry out a task or at the very least finish a sequence.

In conclusion, a truly automatic solution should be able to begin, run, and finish without any help from a human.

When should automation be used?

It might be difficult to decide which tasks in healthcare organizations should be automated first because they frequently do numerous tasks that could be automated. A lengthy process that only occurs sometimes is frequently a good candidate for automation.

For instance, administrators frequently observe staff members utilizing the queue to make appointments, but it’s not unusual for them to completely avoid using it because it takes effort to maintain. Nevertheless, keep in mind that accuracy is usually more crucial than speed when performing tasks.

Additionally, you might want to think about automating a procedure if the work needed to accomplish it outweighs the advantages it offers. Because many processes in the healthcare sector are time-sensitive, this calculation is commonplace in that sector. Professionals frequently choose to forego jobs that don’t yield benefits that outweigh the time required to do them. For instance, because it is challenging to evaluate the benefits of this procedure, many firms do not standardize appointment kinds.

An established best practice may occasionally gain from automation if a new technology or solution makes the practice better. To increase productivity and the patient experience, administrators, and schedulers in healthcare companies, for instance, frequently modify their workflows. These workflows can be automated without affecting the processes they create. Instead, while still offering the advantages of automation, automated solutions should combine the best practices of the manual process.

Benefits of RPA in Healthcare

By providing efficiencies that would be unattainable with human operations, automation is reimagining the healthcare industry. Patients obtain better care as a result of professionals being freed up from less work with people. Some specific advantages of automation in healthcare are listed below.

1. Scheduling Made Simple

Due to the high likelihood of scheduling conflicts and the numerous rules that must be taken into account in order to match the correct patient with the proper provider and location, manually arranging appointments has proven to be challenging. Using appointment scheduling software, healthcare firms may automate this process and plan and cancel appointments much more effectively.

To make sure the software will properly and efficiently manage the needs of your clinic and patients, there are some crucial factors to take into account. This involves integrating with your EHR/PM platform to determine the scheduling rules so that schedulers and patients may book appointments with ease.

Similar to this, appointment reminder software can improve the patient experience by timely reminding patients to help reduce no-shows. To make sure that patients arrive at appointments on time or even early so they can complete the required documentation, this software can send as many reminders as a clinic considers appropriate.

2. Cutting Costs

Most healthcare executives implement automation technologies primarily to reduce costs. They achieve this goal in several ways, such as with less overtime, greater efficiency, and fewer mistakes. Automation enables professionals to complete more tasks during their regular shifts, which lowers their total stress. Because of the increase in efficiency, healthcare facilities no longer require as much overtime from their workers. Additionally, it enables employees to concentrate on patient care, which reduces compensation for medical mistakes.

Because schedulers can now automate rules that were previously only manageable with binders, sticky notes, and Excel spreadsheets, best-in-class scheduling software can help lower training or onboarding costs, especially in speciality groups. Another method to lower patient acquisition costs is by giving patients a simple online scheduling option on your website.

3. Easy Data Transfer and Access

Many facilities are automating patient data access and transfer. These automated solutions make it simple for facilities to communicate patient data with other facilities and departments. Once collected, the data is immediately added to a database by these automated solutions. This advantage of automation is especially helpful because data exchange is now a very difficult problem in the healthcare sector.

When a patient’s diagnosis or treatment requires several departments, data transfers might cause bottlenecks in the treatment workflow. Every device in a facility can be linked to the same network thanks to automation, making data from one device available from another. Time is saved by lowering administrative burden thanks to this capacity.

With any information, but especially with personally identifiable information and patient data, infosecurity and cybersecurity are essential. Therefore, to maintain compliance with HIPAA and TCPA security standards, you’ll want to make sure your technology partners and solutions have the appropriate security certifications.

4. Fewer Mistakes

By reducing the human element in a process, automation helps to lower the possibility of error, leading to more effective therapy. Automation can benefit technologies used by healthcare providers to diagnose and treat patients, but it can also benefit administrative tasks.

Data sharing among many systems raises the likelihood of this happening by giving more knowledge about these processes. Administrators, for instance, can use information from a variety of sources to shorten wait times for procedures or other appointments. The enhanced dependability of automation can also be used by healthcare facilities to provide their services to a bigger population or assist a patient in finding an alternative location to obtain care sooner.

5. Managing Emergencies and Changing Conditions

Machine learning (ML) is being used by healthcare organizations to modify staffing levels in response to rapid increases in patient volume, particularly in emergency rooms. Wait times for ambulatory services can be decreased by this automated capability. For instance, by examining past data from various sources, firms can better anticipate the periods they need to expand staff in preparation for a forthcoming flu season.

Most recently, practices have turned to automation to react more swiftly to the changes brought on by the Covid-19 epidemic, such as modifications to social distance and building occupancy limits. Another example of how automation can assist healthcare facilities deal with changes in local regulations and even handle emergencies or office closures more effectively is messaging platforms that enable patients and employees to interact.

6. Higher Patient Satisfactions

The quality of care a patient receives at a facility is one of several variables that affect patient satisfaction in a healthcare system. For patients to remain satisfied, booking, arriving for, and finishing visits should be simple. The overall appointment time, including wait time the day of the visit and the time it takes to schedule an appointment, is a significant contributor to patient satisfaction.

Organizations can enhance patient experience and happiness in a number of ways by automating healthcare operations. For instance, they may put software in place that texts patients to reschedule appointments if they can no longer make them or would be late.

Additionally, using a computer or mobile device at any time—even after business hours—patients can make their own appointments thanks to sophisticated scheduling software. Depending on the clinician they need to see and the sort of appointment they require, this kind of self-scheduling software allows patients to choose the time window that is most suitable for them.

7. Improved privacy

As previously said, in order to protect patients’ Protected Health Information (PHI) and Personally Identifiable Information (PII), healthcare businesses must make sure they adhere to HIPAA standards. By setting up usage permissions, case management data automation solutions assist in ensuring HIPAA compliance. This feature makes sure that only individuals with permission can access PHI.

In order to prevent PHI from getting into the wrong hands, Relatient solutions provide HIPAA-compliant chat messaging that uses a special patient-specific link and authorisation.

8. Patient Scheduling More Quickly

Patients can make appointments online much more quickly and easily than in the past by phoning the office directly thanks to automated scheduling tools from companies like Relatient. These technologies enable patients to rapidly schedule their own appointments from any device with internet connectivity and a web browser, 24/7.

Patients can choose the appointment’s purpose, kind, and duration as well as other information using these automated online scheduling tools. In order to identify the best providers, patients can also use customisable filters. When patients book appointments on their own, practices can use the same automated workflows and rules they’d use to book appointments over the phone, enabling them to maintain control and guarantee the correct provider and appointment type are booked.

Will Healthcare Automation Lead to a Job Shortage?

Concerns regarding a personnel reduction are frequently generated by the idea of automating processes. A completely automated system, however, enables employees to concentrate on therapeutically pertinent duties as opposed to administrative tasks, which frequently lie outside of their area of expertise. Therefore, automation does not result in job losses in a sector as notoriously understaffed as healthcare. Actually, research repeatedly demonstrates that completely automated solutions raise staff satisfaction.

The implementation of an automated system should include staff training as a key component. This training should not only introduce the new technology but also describe how it would simplify the lives of patients and staff. All of these actions aid employees in quickly adjusting to their new schedules.

Conclusion

Healthcare automation is on the rise, but it’s still crucial to distinguish between real automation and vendor claims. Healthcare tasks can be automated in many ways, therefore it’s important to give priority to those that will gain the most from automation. These advantages include reduced expenses, improved patient happiness, and empowered personnel who are more productive. However, staff reductions as a result of automated healthcare solutions are uncommon.