Popping the Automation pill : RPA in healthcare
RPA has emerged as an integral building block for any industry looking to digitize its processes – an innovative powerful technology that is indisputable in terms of saving time, cost, and resources.
The current scenario shows BFSI and BPOs forming a large chunk of RPA users, leaving healthcare far behind. Healthcare organizations constantly face challenges in sourcing and integrating information from various internal and external sources – such as clinical applications, lab systems, insurance portals, and many other disparate systems. Why then, are healthcare providers unsure about switching to RPA? As with any new technology, there are misconceptions that arise due to the lack of knowledge about its usage and the bouquet of benefits a business can derive by switching to RPA. In this article, we aim to shed light on the applications and benefits automation brings to the table.
Our previous articles on the subject of RPA elucidate the applications and subsequently the benefits of its usage in various industries. However, when it comes to the healthcare industry, things become a little complicated. The healthcare industry is a large playing field with a number of players that contribute overall to the value chain, this renders it highly complex but also increases the scope of the industry in general. Apart from eliminating paperwork or reducing processing time, RPA enables Healthcare providers with some very interesting industry-specific applications that have proven to make a world of difference in overall output.
Listed below are some healthcare-specific processes that can be streamlined by using RPA –
- Compliance – The Healthcare industry is an everchanging one – undergoing constant modifications with technology upgrades and fluctuations in government regulations and mandates. To emerge unscathed, switching to RPA is the only option. With RPA, healthcare providers are able to digitize new information and ensure that it is readily available and is easily accessed by doctors, administrative staff, and patients. As for existing records, RPA coupled with AI can be programmed to automate the transfer of data between paper files and legacy systems to the new system.
- Patient registration – Registration and updating records of patients is another main pain point for healthcare providers. Setting up accounts, verifying histories, processing enrolments, managing benefits, billing, and customer service are all very time-consuming if performed manually. This contributes highly to the overall dissatisfaction of patients and declining new patient registration. Once automated these processes will be quicker, waiting time will be reduced and customer delight is assured.
- Scheduling and managing doctor appointments – Appointment cancellations and no-shows are a significant drain on health providers, however, it is also part and parcel of being a service provider. In legacy systems, RPA can be used to automate scheduling and send appointment reminders to patients, doctors will be able to maximize the number of patients they see each day, increasing productivity and saving millions. Automation of appointment scheduling not only benefits the hospital but also positively impacts patients who will now be able to schedule appointments sooner. This will also foster increased levels of customer service to the patient through transparency and ease of access to their medical histories.
- Accounts payable & receivable – RPA can prove to be instrumental in achieving higher efficiency in Accounts Payable & receivable, by orchestrating processes and eliminating errors. With RPA in place, Healthcare providers can transform their current processes by eliminating all the manual repeatable tasks to achieve up-to-date and accurate records. The efficiency of RPA in data migration or the digitization of paper records will allow healthcare providers to easily access a patient’s medical information and history consulted during the course of treatment.
- Elimination of Waste – Hospitals tend to generate a lot of paper wastage in maintaining records, these may be in the form of manual entries in 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.
- Customer satisfaction – Once RPA is properly integrated, the entire time-consuming and repetitive process of integrating information, such as appointment scheduling, data digitization, and inventory tracking will become simpler, leaving the medical staff and admin staff with more time to focus on providing the best healthcare facilities to the patients. In addition, patients will benefit from having a shorter wait time for appointments and will have the ability to easily access their health records and bills online.
- Claims processing and reconciliation – Billing and claims processing are of particular importance for the healthcare sector, however, when this tedious task is carried out traditionally, it renders the process slow, costly, highly prone to errors, and focused on business hours only. Introducing RPA into the mix eliminates all the problems associated with claims processing – and works brilliantly with legacy systems as it functions on a ‘presentation’ layer uploading new data as well as the reconciliation of existing records.
The above-mentioned benefits illustrate the importance of RPA plays in a continuously evolving industry like Healthcare. Frequent policy changes, political & societal shifts, technological innovations coupled with the need for great customer service are all very important aspects of healthcare that can be easily managed by automation. RPA is simply the grease that keeps the gears rolling.
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