Every day hospitals and medical offices are inundated with patients requiring immediate medical attention. As a result, healthcare employees have become overburdened with administrative tasks concerning insurance claims, patient record & data management, insurance claims, appointment scheduling, and post-discharge instructions.
Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is an advanced digital technology capable of mimicking & replacing human interaction among multiple computer systems & applications by facilitating tasks related to third-party communications, data management, interface usage, form execution, and file transfer.
In this blog, we discuss the application of RPA to the healthcare industry, and how it can be used as an optimal business management tool for medical practitioners.
What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?
Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, refers to the development & use of customized software robots to automate rule-based workplace tasks that are repetitive, time-consuming, and high-volume.
Using digital robots to automate human tasks results in:
- Increased productivity with employees better able to focus on more strategic tasks;
- Increased efficiency as robots perform tasks faster and at higher volumes than humans;
- Minimal human error since workplace actions are executed by a robot instead of a person;
- Reduced costs with the price of RPA software is merely a fraction of what healthcare providers pay employees for conducting the same activities slower and less efficiently; and
- Increased employee morale who are no longer required to labor over tedious and monotonous tasks.
Gartner estimates that by 2024, organizations will lower operational costs by 30% by combining automation with operational processes. Additionally, markets and markets say that the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Market is estimated to reach USD 2,467.0 million by 2022, at a CAGR of 30.14%.
How RPA Can Benefit the Healthcare Industry
Studies estimate that the Healthcare industry collectively spends a stunning $2.1 billion each year on manual tasks, including those related to data management alone.
By using RPA to automate office processes, like data management, time-consuming employee tasks are instead completed by robots in a more efficient, reliable manner, and with reduced human error. This enables doctors, nurses, and healthcare staff better able to focus on patient care rather than paperwork.
As many healthcare office processes are rule-based, time-consuming, and high-volume, they are perfectly suited for RPA, including the following:
1. Patient Records & Data
A survey conducted in 2021 found that 67% of healthcare organizations heavily rely on paper documents, which includes patient records & data management a prime candidate for digital transformation.
Computer networks & systems in the healthcare industry process massive amounts of patient information and health data from various internal and external sources, including third-party portals, insurance companies, and health record databases. Burdening useful resources with the paperwork associated with managing data can not only hamper productivity but is unnecessary.
For example, RPA can be used to directly process patient records throughout a patient’s care and save all data relevant to him or her. Hospital staff are then able to extract all pertinent information and enter it into digital systems within a matter of minutes rather than hours, thereby improving efficiency. Automation can also be used to generate reports and offer insights to track the health conditions of patients and develop a customized treatment plan for individual patients.
As a result, RPA can process patient records & data with greater accuracy, at a faster pace, with enhanced security, and more consistently.
Medical billing and settlement of health payments processing are not only highly-repetitive and time-consuming but also error-prone when inputting, processing, and evaluations are done manually.
RPA can be used to develop a robot that automates the invoicing and billing processes in line with services offered as follows:
First, an RPA bot recognizes payment details using optical character recognition (OCR), then it logs into the accounting system and inputs data into the relevant system’s fields. Once the invoice is created and registered into the system, the bot emails it to a patient. If there’s a delay in payment, the bot can send a customized reminder to the patient and create an attendance report with the current payment status for a finance manager.
By using RPA to streamline the settlement of health payments, processing invoices and managing bills are completed faster, with greater accuracy, and in a manner that reduces inaccuracies.
3. Claims Management
Claims management responsibilities of healthcare providers includes processes such as data input, processing, evaluation, and dealing with appeals. The entire process, when handled manually or using a generic software often proves to be highly inefficient and error-prone. The complexities of processing medical claims alone has created an industry now worth roughly $4.6 billion. More than 30-40% of health insurance claims are denied because of non-compliance of regulations.
RPA can be used to effectively manage claims processing, reimbursements, referrals, and settlements with insurance providers. Bots can automatically populate insurance claims fields, prepare the claim, and finally claim filing.
Based on present use cases, it takes 12 seconds for an RPA solution to check the status of a health insurance claim compared to 85 seconds for a human, meaning that one robot could do the work of 9 full time employees without error.
4. Scheduling and Managing appointments
Appointment scheduling and management is a repetitive and time-consuming task faced by healthcare support staff daily. Whenever a patient wants to book an appointment, personnel is required to communicate directly with that patient to determine physician availability, change appointment times or locations, call for reminders, inform patients of cancelations, and to reschedule bookings.
RPA can instead be used to interact with patients by phone or email directly and enable them to manage appointments without interaction from medical staff. RPA bots offer appointment slots to a patient according to their needs and schedule according to doctor availability. Once the patient has booked an appointment, the bot schedules it in the database and removes that appointment slot. Bots can manage large volume of appointments and send reminders faster and with better accuracy.
5. Post-Treatment Care
Typically, after patients are discharged from a hospital, they are expected to follow strict healthcare instructions, whether it be for medication, physical therapy, or meal plans. However, it’s often likely for the patient to forget or otherwise fail to comply with the post-discharge regimens properly.
Here, RPA can be used to manage post-discharge care and allow patients to confidently recover, after leaving a health facility. For example, RPA may be used to send reminders to patients about important actions such as taking medication, doing exercise, or following a meal plan. It can also assist patients when measuring vital signs, such as blood pressure, and then inform healthcare professionals of any problems or issues.
SVAM, International Inc. – Leader in RPA Technologies
By automating routine tasks in the healthcare industry, robots can be used as a digital workforce to fill in forms, manage reports, communicate with patients, and transfer patient records & data across various systems and interfaces.
SVAM, a global leader in RPA technologies, can help you discover the power of RPA automation by assessing your company’s readiness, developing a prototype, and finally deploying an RPA robot customized to your internal system.
Implementing RPA makes healthcare IT systems more efficient, reduces costs, minimizes human error, and in a manner that providers a higher quality patient experience overall.