Robotics Process Automation (RPA) Used in Health Care
By: Atchaya Nataraj| TOC August finalist
Robotics Process Automation (RPA) is used to automate processes and can also deliver a wealth of data in a continuous feedback loop that can be used for performance improvement and optimization. RPA systems can collect data on how the process is working and use that information to improve the program with every cycle. With a growing number of people entering the healthcare system in the years to come, RPA is an essential tool to healthcare providers in better streamlining processes, saving on labor costs, gaining higher efficiency, increasing the quality of patient care and the amount of time spent with patients.
- Rising costs: Macroeconomic factors like aging populations and insufficient public funding are challenging both receivers and providers of healthcare. It is essential for health care systems to work towards more streamlined processes to save money and cut health care costs.
- Changing demographics: Healthcare is an evolving field with the number of patients increasing every year. There are major concerns that staffing levels will not be able to keep up with this increase in patients.
- Lack of efficiency and customer experience: As demand increases for clinicians, there is global wide decline of number of graduates emerging from medical school. This all attributes to lack of quality care for patients and doctors being overwhelmed with too many patients.
- Labour intensive challenges like inefficient and reliance on manual labour of employees.
- Transferring the medical files and financial documents into digital database by hand was time intensive and involve human error.
- Inventory management Due to inefficient inventory tracking system unable to access inventory item & services in the time frame needed.
- Optimizing appointment scheduling
- Executing billing and claims processing.
As patient numbers grow, healthcare providers are challenged with managing levels of inventory, supporting digitization of patient files, optimizing appointment scheduling, and executing billing and claims processing. To help overcome these operational pain points, more healthcare providers are embracing RPA to alleviate these challenges and drive enhanced efficiency and growth.
Healthcare is predicted to have a 36% automation potential. This means more than a third of healthcare tasks especially managerial, back-office functions could be automated, allowing healthcare providers to offer more direct, value-based patient care at lower costs and increased efficiency.
The hospital turned to RPA in order to regain control of its operational processes and signicantly improve the patient experience. Through RPA digitization, the hospital was able to eliminate a signicant number of internal functional silos and provided its patients with increased transparency. If the hospital was using software robots for roughly 80% of claims and billing, thereby reducing processing costs from $4 to $1 per claim.
Patients welcomed the change. More than 75% of them (across all age groups) wanted to use innovative and functional digital services. The increasingly digitized infrastructure supported by RPA was a success. Patients were able to access their medical histories, billing information, and appointment scheduling and reminders from a unied online platform, which resulted in optimized appointment turnout and more timely payments. While RPA provided operational improvements for the hospital, the patients were the ones who most signicantly benetted.
Criteria Choosen to Collect Data
According to a report by Healthcare Leaders, three out of four hospitals and health systems CEOs cite reduction of overall cost and increasing efficiency as two of their top financial priorities. The healthcare industry is continually looking for improving efficiency, cutting costs and automation of manual tasks can be an important part of the overall strategy for performance improvement.
The benefits of RPA :
- Decreased operational costs
- Increased cycle times
- Increased regulatory compliance as steps are monitored and documented
- Increased efficiencies as robots work round the clock and are not fatigued
- Better productivity as robots carry out repetitive tasks faster
- Improved accuracy as human errors are reduced
- Improved customer satisfaction as decreased errors build deeper customer relationships, retaining them and helping acquire newer ones by positive word of mouth spread
- IT support and management is better as it is easier to scale robotic software
- Logistical upside which minimizes or eliminates complications with offshore labor
- RPA and business processors – presentation layer automation software which mimics the steps of rule based non subjective processes
Analysis of Collected Data
- Manpower Savings: Machines can save a lot of time. Using automation can substitute manually intensive and repetitive tasks that were performed by humans. It will not expel employees completely but would promote them into advanced roles that they are more suitable for.
- Elimination of Waste / Save Environment: In maintaining the records at a hospital, there may be manual entries that are made into registers, sheets as well as entries made in the electronically maintained databases. RPA adoption will help to cut down the usage of stationery and help organizations rely less on paper. This will cut down the wastage and save the environment
- Higher Throughput: With the help of automation, healthcare personnel will be better equipped to deal with the growing volume of patients that are difficult to deal with when managed entirely by humans. A larger number of patients will be looked after by a smaller number of medical personnel thereby allowing the hospital staff to cater to other important areas. This will allow them to scale up.
- Improved Quality and Consistency: Robots are not fatigued or bored of doing laborious repetitive work round the clock. They can provide consistency in care activities. A hospital in Texas discovered that greater automation in the areas of medical records, order entry, claim processing and decision support was linked with a reduction in complications and costs.
- Membership Management: Another area where time can be saved is that of managing memberships of a hospital. For example, setting up accounts, verifying eligibility, processing enrollments, managing benefits, billing and customer service are all a part of the daily processes. These can take a lot of time if performed manually leading to huge waiting time for patients leading to irritation and declining customer satisfaction. If these processes are automated, work will be swifter, waiting time will be reduced and there will be plenty of pleased clients.
- Claims Administration: A good amount of time is spent daily in dealing with the claims of patients, be it inputting and processing, adjusting or dealing with appeals. If all these time consuming tasks were shifted to machines, you would surely notice that your team is accomplishing a lot more. One of the biggest areas where robotic process automation is taking over is the healthcare industry.
- Care Management: After the completion of every cycle, the installed systems can gather data on the progress of the process and this information can help in improving the process. Over time, gradual improvement can be noticed and the process can be made more efficient, accurate and can ease the workload of the team.
When identifying the areas where automation can be applied, we should start with a repetitive rule based high volume process. The result of shifting these routine and repetitive tasks from humans to software robots is much more than just cost savings.
Healthcare leaders are increasingly realizing the value-added proposition that RPA has to offer.
Freeing up workers from boring, laborious daily tasks can allow them to devote their energy to more critical activities thereby transforming business activities and improving customer experience.
RPA is offering great benefit to health care professionals and administrators everywhere in helping them perform their tasks at a higher capacity with less legwork. While the technology is reducing overhead costs and boosting ROI for hospitals and clinics, its true value lies in the ability to improve patient care and treatment. RPA is an essential tool for healthcare providers that allows them to offload manual processes and support its human workforce. It enables them to provide immediate productivity gains, achieve near zero error rates, reduce operational costs and greatly increase the quality of patient care.
https://blog.appliedai.com/healthcare-ai/ https://www.unlockinsights.com/blog/use-cases-rpa-healthcare-industry/ http://blog.kryonsystems.com/rpa/why-rpa-is-good-for-your-health https://www.wipro.com/healthcare/