Defining RPA in Healthcare
Robotic process automation, or RPA, is a technology that allows programmed “bots” to perform business processes that are typically repetitive and tedious for an employee. RPA saves companies time and money and eliminates human error. Companies using RPA in healthcare are increasing their efficiency and improving patient and employee satisfaction through intelligent automation.
Why the Healthcare Industry Needs RPA
60% of all manual healthcare operations can be automated. If RPA is implemented, the resources that go towards these manual tasks are no longer needed, meaning the cost of healthcare can be reduced. This is a critical priority in the healthcare industry. Along with that, healthcare is currently one of the most inefficient industries because it faces challenges that other industries don’t. Some of these challenges include strict regulations concerning patient data and a high amount of regulations in financial services used to pay for healthcare.
How do Regulations Affect the Healthcare Industry?
They make the level of inefficiencies and manual processes in healthcare higher. A solution that rids these inefficiencies will contribute to better healthcare delivery, that will help the industry, and the general public.
Without RPA, doctors spend 40% of their time working on administrative tasks. These tasks can be incredibly tedious and burdensome, making employees less satisfied in their jobs. Not only are these tasks causing dissatisfaction to those that have to do them, but it affects the patient’s satisfaction as well because they require a substantial amount of resource allocation.
When the resources are spent on tedious tasks, like paperwork, scheduling, and data entry, those resources can’t be given directly to the patients. Patients’ satisfaction, care, and the outcome can be improved by reducing time-to-treatment. Automating these processes completes them at a fraction of the cost and time that was previously required. Doing this is essential in growing the industry to be more efficient and successful.
How RPA Can be Used in Healthcare
RPA robots can mimic almost any predictable human interaction. This can allow them to log in to applications, move files, fill in forms, provide speedy requests to patient requests, and most importantly, unlike humans: do so without error. Because all of these processes are programmed, without error in the program, there won’t be an error in any of the robots’ processes. Likewise, with the automated data transfers being encrypted, RPA improves patient confidentiality tremendously. Here are some examples of ways the healthcare industry can use RPA:
RPA Use Cases In Healthcare
- Patient scheduling: When appointments are scheduled through an automated system instead of an employee, it eliminates the resource allocation and improves the patient experience because it is quicker. Automated reminders increase the likelihood that the patient shows up to the appointment as well
- Claim management: Billing is a manual and repetitive task in the claim management process. The imputing, processing, and evaluation of documents and data take time and can be subject to human error but can all be done with intelligent automation
- Improving the recovery process: Patients are typically given a post-medication and healthcare regimen that is easy to ignore. Robots can be programmed to deliver the exact guidelines, send notifications of follow-up appointments and tests, and create continuous communication between the doctor and the patient for a successful recovery plan.
- Regulatory compliance and audit process: RPA enables healthcare providers to track, trace, document, and organize every process. While the bots cannot complete the audit, they can provide helpful information for the audit. These processes enhance data confidentiality as well.
- Data entry, mitigation, and extraction: With the healthcare industry still reliant on paper documents that require digital transformation, there is much room for creating a more efficient system. The process of extracting data and entering those into digital systems can be automated by RPA bots. Not only does this increase efficiency, but it can be used for other purposes such as medical research.
These are just five examples of RPA use cases in healthcare but there are many other processes that can be automated.
- Cost: Using RPA in healthcare could save $13.3 Billion, according to a study done by the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare.
- Human Error: RPA eliminates human error because programmed rules are applied to every action the bots complete.
- Compatibility: RPA systems are non-intrusive and are compatible with almost all existing healthcare systems, meaning they are easy to start implementing.
- Patient Experience: A higher quality of customer service will ensure a better patient experience. Automated appointments, or aftercare reminders ensure a more productive and efficient experience.
- Employee Satisfaction: Without being assigned the tedious tasks that employees currently have to perform, employee satisfaction will increase, and employee turnover will decrease.
Robotic process automation is quickly growing in the healthcare industry, and with good reason! Using RPA solves a number of problems, from saving money, to ensuring satisfaction between employees and patients. Productivity can be raised significantly without having to hire extra employees. Along with that, these bots can work uninterrupted 24/7/365. With RPA, employees can let the bots perform their tedious tasks while they spend more time seeing patients.