Robotic Process Automation, also called RPA, is understood at varying levels across professionals. You are not alone if you have a general idea of what it is but not comfortable enough to explore it for your practice...yet. In short, Robotic Process Automation technology performs and replaces repetitive tasks that humans often find mundane and distracting from more meaningful work. These are not tangible robots, but are like invisible puzzle pieces that sit on top of existing software and processes and take care of tasks normally repetitively updated by humans (valuable teammates).
Why RPA in Healthcare?
According to an article published by the National Institute of Health (NIH) from Future Healthcare Journal, “compared to other forms of AI, (RPA bots) are inexpensive, easy to program and transparent in their actions.” What this means for healthcare centers is the cost associated with major software program overhauls or updates are not incurred and training is minimal for staff. Likewise, the bot is built for simplicity and ease of use, so there are no major disruptions if a change is needed in the bots’ activities, or in the visibility into the activities of the bots.
Value Based Care
Patient-centered care and value based care are top areas of focus for healthcare. At first glance, one may think, the more automated healthcare becomes, the further away from the patient experience one is. Unpack that concept. If healthcare professionals are spending less time keying in information into an electronic health record or searching for pertinent information while with a patient, wouldn’t that professional have more time to focus on the patient in front of her? RPA can provide that. An RPA bot can flag key information for a provider. RPA can transfer pertinent patient provided information, from a scanned form or portal, directly into an electronic health record. There are numerous possibilities for use cases. We have not even begun to discuss the impact on speed of workflow and more consistent or improved accuracy of care. Oh, and by the way, RPA bots are HIPAA compliant.
The Patient Experience
Most workers have repetitive tasks that are just considered to be part of the job. What if those went away and workers had more time to do meaningful aspects of their jobs? Consider the patient experience. If patients spend less time repeating information and the workflow becomes more flawless, the patient experience improves. What if a patient is high risk for developing cancer based on a myriad of health conditions and family history not obvious at first glance, but proper review of patient history was reviewed by a bot and identified consistently for every patient meeting specific criteria?
The best thing about RPA is that it is simple, affordable and is an outstanding economic opportunity. Josh Gluck, Vice President of Global Healthcare Technology at Strategy at Pure Storage, writes in HealthTech ”as Medicare reimbursements decline and payroll costs rise, putting AI to use in the automation of basic tasks and processes can result in improved quality of service, a smoother customer care experience, more effective project implementations and lower costs.” You may already be aware of challenges you need resolved to speed workflows or improve accuracy, or you may not sure where to start. Now is a good time to contact an expert in healthcare and RPA to help you build out the ROI for your specialized area of patient care.
Davenport, Thomas, and Ravi Kalakota. “The potential for artificial intelligence in healthcare.” Future healthcare journal vol. 6,2 (2019): 94-98. doi:10.7861/futurehosp.6-2-94
Gluck, Josh, “How automation in healthcare is boosting the bottom line.” Health Tech Journal (2018). https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2018/06/how-automation-can-translate-better-patient-care-and-boost-bottom-line