Automation has been revolutionizing how different business processes function. Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) have been spearheading the transition toward automated work processes. Although many sectors have adopted automation and are reaping its benefits, the healthcare sector is one of the slowest to adopt automation.
The disruptions caused in the healthcare sector because of the pandemic forced healthcare professionals to embrace technology. Technology made inroads in different areas of healthcare such as teleconsulting, telemedicine, and more
Automation in healthcare results in the actualization of efficiencies and synergies across the entire value chain of activities healthcare provides. This not only streamlines the processes but also enhances the patient experience. Healthcare providers include service providers such as daycare providers, clinics, full-fledged hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, etc. Automation of the healthcare sector implies enhancing the efficacy of each of these related service providers.
What is Healthcare Automation?
Healthcare automation is deploying software, robotics, and wearable technologies to enhance efficiency and accuracy in day-to-day medical activities. Automation entails revamping the healthcare sector by integrating technology.
Why the Healthcare Sector needs Automation?
The healthcare services include a host of services that start from when a patient approaches a healthcare center, through different stages of the treatment including various administrative tasks like billing, claims settlement, etc. Hence, healthcare professionals spend more time on routine tasks instead of personal interactions with the patient. Automating processes will free the staff from such tasks and they can focus on human-facing aspects thereby offering a personalized patient experience.
Technologies used for Healthcare Automation:
Automation technologies can take healthcare services to the next level. Innovative technologies not only enhance the efficiency of the healthcare services provided but also offer a great patient experience.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
RPA bots can automate almost all activities in the value chain, from front-office operations to maintenance operations, interactions with patients, and payment services.
Tasks such as scanning paper documents, converting photographed images to text, extracting data and transferring it to EHR file structures, and more can be automated to function independently without human intervention.
The staff is relieved of such tasks and can focus on the needs of the patient.
Some Use Cases of RPA in Healthcare
RPA bots streamline appointment scheduling of patients by considering multiple factors such as diagnosis, location, doctor availability, and more.
RPA bots speed up accounts settlement by calculating the bill amount considering different costs such as doctor’s fees, costs of tests, etc. Patients are notified automatically once the final bill is made.
Bots speed up data processing and minimize errors for insurance claims settlement.
RPA software can be used to provide discharge guidelines to patients. It can also send reminders to patients about prescription pickups, medical tests, etc.
Data recorded by bots can be analyzed by AI to provide accurate diagnoses and better-quality treatments.
While RPA can streamline several processes, it lacks the ability to manipulate unstructured data. This is where Intelligent automation or hyper-automation has a role to play. Intelligent automation is leveraging AI along with RPA to provide better outcomes.
Machine Learning (ML)
ML is a type of AI that is used extensively in healthcare automation. Several ML applications automate precision medicine. ML helps forecast the most effective treatment techniques based on the patient’s profile and treatment framework. Besides these, there are several other processes that ML can enhance based on its self-learning ability.
Natural Language Processing (NLP)
NLP is used in the healthcare sector for text examination, speech recognition, and translation. NLP is also leveraged to differentiate or organize clinical paperwork for more refined methods to achieve superior outcomes for patients and healthcare professionals.
Artificial Intelligence is used extensively to enhance the efficiency of administrative applications. Some areas of application of AI include RCM (Revenue Cycle Management), clinical paperwork, categorizing reports, etc.
Benefits of Automation in Healthcare:
1. Minimizes Costs
One of the key concern areas of the healthcare sector is the high costs. Automation is effective in reducing costs because it minimizes errors, enhances productivity, and reduces overtime. With automation, healthcare professionals can accomplish more in less time.
2. Streamlines Appointment Scheduling
Manual scheduling is time-consuming and complicated because several factors need to be considered. Appointment scheduling is automated by integrating the automation software with EHR (Electronic Health Record). Automating the process enhances the efficiency of scheduling/cancellations of appointments.
3. Improves Data Management
One of the key elements of the healthcare sector is data management. EHR machines facilitate seamless concurrent and relevant data retrieval. AI and ML leverage data for making predictions that help clinicians provide better treatment.
4. Facilitates Better Collaboration
In manual systems, one of the main difficulties is effective collaboration between different departments and institutions. Automation of data transfer coupled with instant updates of patient data makes it easy for various entities to access information thereby facilitating hassle-free collaboration. This reduces delays and enhances the quality of services provided.
5. Makes Healthcare Services Agile
Healthcare service providers need to cope with sudden changes in patient volumes. Staffing levels need to be adjusted to meet these changing needs. Machine Learning helps to predict volume changes based on past trends. This makes it easy to match the staffing needs according to the demands.
6. Speeds up Administrative Tasks and Minimizes Errors
Automated systems minimize errors in administrative processes. Besides a central repository of data from different sources minimizes lead times for scheduling appointments or surgical procedures. AI speeds up the bill generation process and reduces delays in providing invoices to patients. Automation also enables healthcare professionals to offer services to more patients. Besides, it makes it easier to offer alternative locations for faster care.
7. Enhances Quality of Services
Automation also offers tools that help in precise diagnosis and better treatment. It also facilitates preventive care by detecting deviations from the healthcare plans of patients. Assessing such deviations helps healthcare professionals intervene well in time and provide the required treatment.
Automated healthcare systems are faster and they enable healthcare professionals to offer faster and more precise treatments.
8. Streamlines Healthcare Workflows
Healthcare services involve a myriad of workflows pertaining to several routine tasks that are critical for both patients and service providers. Workflow management entails managing each of these tasks and coordinating between them. Managing various workflows manually can be tedious and time-consuming. Automation streamlines and centralizes workflows thereby reducing bottlenecks and enhancing the patient experience.
All these benefits not only reduce the efforts of healthcare professionals but innovative technologies also improve patient care. Better quality of medical services enhances the patient experience, which is the ultimate goal of healthcare providers.
As more healthcare service providers are realizing the benefits offered by automation, investments in this sector are increasing. Data reveals that the healthcare automation market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.4%. (Source: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2022/06/23/2468360/0/en/The-Healthcare-Automation-Market-Is-Projected-To-Accelerate-At-A-Healthy-CAGR-Of-8-4-To-Top-A-Market-Valuation-Of-US-88-9-Bn-By-The-End-Of-2028.html)
There is a plethora of automation software available in the market for different sectors. They differ in features, costs, and technologies used. Choosing the best one can be a daunting task. You will need the guidance of an expert to select the right platform. Consult the automation professionals at Auxiliobits to help you find the best automation platform for your services.
Our professionals have years of experience in the field of automation and are knowledgeable about the types of platforms suited for different sectors. We recommend a platform that is budget-friendly and meets the specific needs of your organization.
Healthcare is one area where humane, empathetic interaction is required to give the patient comfort and confidence. However, if healthcare professionals are busy with sundry tasks, they will have very little time to focus on giving personal care to patients. Leaving mechanized tasks to machines and adopting a humane approach to patient care can transform the quality of healthcare services provided. Automation enhances the efficiency of healthcare services, the quality of healthcare delivery, and better healthcare facilities.