Healthcare providers around the world perform numerous activities like admitting patients, gathering patient reports, billing, managing claims, assigning medical professionals, and more. It has been the norm to manage or monitor these tasks either with readymade software or manually. Now neither method is ideal; carrying out these tasks and keeping track of them, in addition to core tasks, can be cumbersome and time-consuming, not to mention, giving rise to errors. What's more, healthcare institutions have to comply with numerous regulations, which keep changing frequently – especially during this pandemic time. This means that they have to always be vigilant and stay on top of the latest changes, and ensure compliance. Not complying with the regulations can result in heavy fines or even shutting down of the said institution – adversely affecting its reputation.
Introducing robotic process automation (RPA) can revolutionize the healthcare sector, just as it has in several industries like retail, manufacturing, telecom, and others. RPA technology can be used to automate a high volume of rule-based tasks; these bots are capable of storing vast amounts of data and manipulating it. They can also manage transactions, activate responses, communicate with other digital systems, and more. With RPA, we can expect precise results that are free of errors.
Today, patients have the facility of scheduling appointments online, and they enter their personal info including diagnosis, insurance details, and so on during registration. The next step is scheduling appointments based on this information – and it can be monotonous and time-consuming.
Furthermore, the appointments have to be scheduled keeping in mind the availability and schedules of the various doctors. If a patient needs to consult a heart specialist, then the appointment needs to be fixed by checking the cardiologist's hospital timings, and free time. Again, the doctor may have to rush to attend to an emergency case, and the appointment may need to be rescheduled – so the patient has to be informed in advance to avoid inconvenience to them. Now you can see why it is so complicated!
With RPA however, these concerns can be handled much better. RPA bots can be used for automating the collection and processing of patient information, scheduling appointments as per diagnosis, doctor's availability, and so on. Patient data can be scanned to generate reports which are then sent to the referral management personnel to schedule the appointment. RPA bots can also be configured to send notifications to patients if the doctor becomes unavailable for the appointment for some reason. It could be that a particular surgery took longer than the doctor expected – RPA software can track the doctor's schedule and send requisite alerts.
Hospitals have to keep track of and calculate all the bills a patient accumulates during their treatments. Again, manual processing of this voluminous data can be very daunting, and numerous errors may occur. The institutions also need to keep records of all tests, doctor's fees, prescriptions, room rent, nursing charges, food, and so on, which comprise the total bill of any patient. This can burden hospital staff endlessly. With robotic process automation, patient bills can be calculated with accuracy, after collecting all the costs involved from various departments as mentioned above. The software can be configured to send notifications to patients about their bill amount, receive payments, send receipts, etc. healthcare providers can significantly reduce delays and inaccuracies in calculating the bill, and settling the accounts.
Nearly everyone has at least some amount of medical insurance; making claims is a complex procedure that involves entering data, processing and evaluating it, handling appeals, and so on. When executed manually or via off-the-shelf software, inefficiencies and inaccuracies can creep in. Claims procedures, if not updated, can even negatively affect the cash flow; quite a few claims get rejected as regulations are not complied with. Ensuring that insurance claims comply with regulations is another herculean task. With RPA implemented, management of insurance claims can be eased and streamlined. RPA bots can quicken the pace of processing data for claims, and that too without errors. They can even identify exceptions related to compliance and ensure that regulations are complied with. Hence, robotic process automation in healthcare can simplify the complex activity of managing claims processes.
When a patient is discharged after treatment, they receive prescriptions and guidelines regarding diet, physiotherapy and other matters to be followed. It is humanly impossible for healthcare institutions to monitor whether patients actually follow discharge instructions - things like whether they are sticking to their diet, taking medications on time, and so on. By implementing RPA, this issue can be tackled more effectively, with bots sending reminders about picking up meds, alerts for upcoming appointments, diagnostic tests, and more. The software can also be used to notify healthcare providers if patients need more help with their health conditions. Healthcare providers can deliver a more satisfying patient experience, better care, and ensure more positive outcomes.
There are numerous tasks involved in evaluating risks for an audit procedure. For generating reports, these processes have to be recorded along with their results. The reports are sent to the relevant personnel for assessment and approval. Audits are conducted for several objectives – service quality, patient safety, and the like. Healthcare audit reports are also mandatory for compliance with regulations. Manual collection and assessment of multiple reports from various audits, and working with numerous departments and staff can be tedious, and the mistakes in the reports can lead to non-compliance with rules and regulations. Healthcare providers can optimize audit procedures by leveraging RPA. The bots can be used to collect data and create reports during audits, and these reports can be automatically sent to the relevant staff for appraisal and okaying. With RPA bots, healthcare providers can keep track of the status of the reports and identify the personnel who have not approved the reports, and send them reminders. Healthcare institutions can ensure responsibility for the various auditing procedures. Personnel who approve reports without complying with regulations can also be easily identified.
Every healthcare provider and institution gathers huge volumes of patient information, which is stored in a common database. To extract and optimize this information and analyze it effectively can be daunting, especially with data volumes increasing each day. The employees often have to pull out data and optimize it continuously.
RPA bots can be used to gather and keep track of these increasing data volumes efficiently. Healthcare providers can pull data, optimize it and produce analytics by leveraging other software, and this can offer valuable insights into different treatment types, diagnosis methods, and more.
Healthcare providers can leverage these insights to deliver exact diagnoses and design personalized treatment plans. They can easily and efficiently monitor large data volumes and perform analysis, and focus more on providing personal attention to patients.
Handling and coordinating healthcare, remote monitoring, management of case and utilization, and population wellness, are some of the critical workflows involved in operating a healthcare institution. Each of these workflows comprises routine activities necessary for both patients and care providers. Manual management of these workflows can lead to inefficiencies.
Robotic process automation in healthcare can be used to consolidate and simplify disparate workflows. Delegating these activities to RPA bots can help save expenses and make the workflows more efficient. This will free up healthcare professionals from mundane tasks and help them focus on patient care.
As seen above, there are several distinct advantages of implementing RPA in healthcare practices. However, there is one disadvantage of implementing RPA in healthcare – it is only capable of processing data that is structured, and has a rule-based approach. But it is expected that with the emergence of intelligent process automation, RPA will become well, more intelligent; with machine learning and cognitive technologies, RPA will be able to process unstructured data in the near future, to drive smarter decision making.
Flatworld Solutions (FWS) is a highly capable partner that is at the forefront of implementing RPA technology along with a wide spectrium of data science technologies to aid companies across sectors. We will always use the latest best practices and workflows to ensure that you get the most out of your RPA implementation.
If you are looking for accurate and cost-effective RPA services, get in touch with us now.