Introduction

In recent years, the robotic-process-automation (RPA) industry has grown rapidly globally as companies transition to automated technologies to make the most of their limited resources, improve efficiency, accuracy, and speed. The Healthcare industry is no exception, and it possesses great potential for transformation with RPA. Healthcare is an evolving and growth-oriented field, and with the growth of patients, providers are experiencing a significant increase in the need for more accurate and efficient back-office processes. In addition to treating ill patients, the care providers should also follow protocol and perform administrative tasks for every case. A large portion of healthcare professionals’ time is spent on administrative tasks, so there is relatively little time left for them to spend with patients. In such a scenario, automating the mundane but necessary administrative task can help healthcare practitioners save vital time and allow them to address the issues of more number of patients. This is where Robotic Process Automation or RPA can assist with administrative procedures such as digitizing patient files, billing, claim processing, optimizing appointment scheduling, and others to increase efficiency as well as streamline the processes. 

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

In simple terms, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) refers to technology that employs computer software empowered with bots to automate every aspect of business processes by mimicking human actions. RPA is mainly designed to handle repetitive, predictable and high-volume tasks by capturing data, processing a transaction, manipulating data, interpreting responses and communicating with other devices in an organized and systematic manner. 

You can program RPA to automate anything from sending an email with an automated response to deploying thousands of bots to automate ERP system jobs. But RPA implementation is challenging. In fact, if not done properly, businesses encounter challenges such as ‘automation anxiety, fragmented outcomes, the inability to achieve global consistency, managing the fast pace of transformation, as well as defining new responsibilities and accountability. Finding ways to overcome these challenges is key to RPA success. With experienced RPA resources and an effective RPA deployment approach derived from industry expertise, businesses can deploy successful RPA implementation by considering the following steps: 

Project preparation

The key to successful RPA implementation is selecting the right set of processes to automate. The critical step is to conduct a thorough analysis of all operations within and across various departments so that you can determine which processes are the best candidates for automation, develop a project timeline, and designate ample time for setting expectations. Through detailed preparation, businesses can prevent automation anxiety and address potential risks, barriers, and concerns early in the process.

Analyze

In the analysis stage, a core team is responsible for analyzing the information gathered in the previous stage in great detail. Identify and prioritize all the potential processes for automation that is expected to have a significant impact on the business. This approach enables organizations to better understand the parameters for selecting processes suitable for RPA deployment and identify processes that can be supported by artificial intelligence.

RPA designing

A key to enabling successful RPA solutions is to create a detailed process to identify the exact process and steps that can be automated, conduct gap analyses to identify process leakages, develop a business case, and detailed project plan with clearly called-out responsibilities.

Execute

Through the use of best practices such as planning and documenting implementation roadmaps, creating a project plan that includes cross-functional dependencies, creating templates for documenting automation opportunities and creating acceptance plans for the RPA solution deployed, with the inclusion of developers, technical architects, testers, will accelerate software delivery and increase collaboration amongst development, assurance, and operations teams. In doing so, you will better understand the automation technology and determine what other areas of their business this technology can promote efficiencies.

Measuring the performance

Last but not least, define key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you identify how successful was your RPA implementation. Despite the fact that these metrics can vary from organization to organization, they often include: 

  • Analyzing the impact of RPA on back-office processes. 
  • Analyzing the time, it takes for RPA to perform a task versus the time it takes for human workers to do the same functions. 
  • Optimal accuracy for the output should be 100 percent. 
  • Reviewing RPA compliance reports, i.e., the efficiency of compliance. 

Let us explore some practical use cases of Robotic Process Automation in the healthcare industry and understand how this next-generation emerging technology can deliver the maximum value to this sector. 

The Healthcare sector is a complex field with a number of different departments across the value chain. RPA brings numerous benefits to the healthcare industry. Investing in RPA will benefit all parties, including payers, providers, insurers, purchasers, and producers. As a result of RPA, less time is spent on manual tasks, and staff members can focus more on providing better patient care while staying HIPAA compliant and reducing costs.

Data entry and migration

The healthcare industry is rapidly modernizing as a result of technology, as well as government mandates and regulations. Providers are digitizing patient records so they can be stored electronically and accessed online by other doctors and patients, rather than relying on paper charts. This process of transferring data from paper files and legacy systems to the new system can be automated using RPA in order to speed up the process and reduce the reliance on employees. Digitalization of patients medical records will facilitate stronger customer service for patients through improved transparency and easier access to medical histories.

Administrative functions of patient care

When dealing with health concerns and symptoms, patients are eager to interact with the provider. However, there are not enough healthcare resources. RPA bots provide quick responses to patient requests, quickly interact with patients by asking relevant questions about their history and current condition before directing them to the most appropriate and effective treatment centers, allowing employees to focus more time on treating patients and coordinating patient flow. Additionally, RPA robots can automate the collection and processing of patient data and schedule appointments according to patient diagnosis, doctor availability, location, and current standards. Furthermore, routine patient encounters can be automated, enabling greater efficiency and optimizing the end-to-end process.

Pre authorization

The purpose of pre-authorization is primarily to prevent excessive medical treatment. There is a requirement in almost all high-end medical insurances and a few other medical insurance policies for specific special treatments to be authorized in advance by the insurance company, as well as for the insured to obtain some freedom right approved in advance by the insurance company.

The pre-authorization process is an integral part of the claim management process. It is essential to consider the implications for medical necessity and cost of care. Errors in the pre-authorization process may result in denying a claim. RPA bots can automate manual entry, monitoring, and verification of data with great accuracy

Invoice processing

Invoice processing entails processing a variety of invoices with different data types and data fields from various sources and vendors. RPA can be an excellent custom-made solution for error-free handling of tasks like invoice processing. No matter what format the invoices are in, RPA bots can scan them and convert them into an image that can be searched. Furthermore, Invoices can be verified and approved using RPA solutions with automated checks, eliminating the need for any user intervention and delivering high efficacy and efficiency to healthcare organizations.

Resource utilization

Optimizing resources is becoming an increasingly important concern. In cases where the patient surge in inpatient care results in the shortage of hospital resources such as staff, rooms and beds, PPE, operating space, ventilators, etc. Technology such as digital sensors coupled with robotic process automation (RPA) has made it possible for providers to track scarce medical equipment assets such as ventilators, defibrillators, and various types of medical pumps. A cloud-based control panel performs tracking and reporting the locations of these scarce assets, which visually displays all tracked assets with colored circles to show status alerts.

Added-value of discharge instructions

Post-treatment, when a patient is discharged from the hospital, they are expected to follow post-treatment medication and healthcare regimens. Many patients, however, tend to ignore post-hospitalization recommendations. RPA solution can help in optimizing post-treatment surveillance and a well-organized recovery process. The use of RPA bots can deliver precise discharge and post-medication instructions. Additionally, RPA bots can be programmed to send timely notifications to patients regarding appointments, schedules, and tests. Furthermore, bots can facilitate continuous communication between a doctor and a patient requiring post-hospitalization medical assistance in conjunction with the recovery plan.

Other promising RPA use cases in the healthcare sector also include efficient medical coding, doctor-to-patient communication enhanced by auto-replies and reminders, Revenue Cycle Management (RCM), Claims Processing, Document Management, Patient appointment Scheduling, Supply Chain Management, Regulatory Compliance, Improvement inpatient experience, centralized electronic medical record management, and inventory tracking.

Conclusion

Healthcare providers are expected to provide more to patients as the world becomes more consumer-oriented. Whether this means providing a digital front door to services, offering tailored correspondents, or just taking advantage of clinician interactions, patients want access to information at their fingertips and services on demand. The use of robotic process automation in healthcare offers a quick solution. As the healthcare industry faces new demands due to changing times, RPA bots can provide a much needed helping hand. 

It is vital that you choose the right partner for RPA implementation if you want to leverage the capabilities of RPA in your healthcare organization. One such technological partner is Sparity, an enterprise RPA provider that customizes RPA implementations to meet your organization’s unique needs. 

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