Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in Healthcare Industry – Areas of Application

by | Published on Dec 2, 2022 | Business Process Outsourcing, RPA

This is an update to the blog – How Can RPA in Healthcare Help Improve Operational Efficiency?

Regarded as one of the most adopted technologies today, robotic process automation – a driver of efficiency – has been making a significant impact in the healthcare industry. Healthcare professionals typically carry out numerous administrative tasks manually – that are quite tedious. While ensuring the correctness of these activities, ensuring to follow the rapidly evolving healthcare laws and regulations is another challenge. The evolution of robotic process automation (RPA) has brought about a radical change in the healthcare industry. In simple terms, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) involves the use of innovative technology to simplify high-volume, repetitive tasks and improve workflow. Key technology apps like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning incorporated by a robotic process automation company can help automate and streamline operations and deliver a better patient experience. Implementation of RPA in the healthcare industry can help in providing personalized care while reducing the overall costs and improving the quality of care. This also ensures maximum compliance with the laws and regulations while reducing errors/mistakes.

Top Applications of RPA in Healthcare

Reports from Gartner suggest that 20 percent of all patient interactions will involve some form of AI enablement. RPA is one such emerging technology that is helping healthcare organizations. It is estimated that 50 percent of the US healthcare service providers will invest in RPA in the next three years. Integration of RPA with AI (Artificial Intelligence) creates cognitive automation that performs human-like tasks through bots. In order to get a better insight into why the healthcare industry should implement intelligent automation, let us discuss some of the top applications of RPA in healthcare –

  • Electronic Records and Data Sharing – In the healthcare industry, data comes from different sources whether it is from physicians, third party portals, insurance companies, appointment scheduling systems or health record databases. RPA can play a key role in reducing health resources dedicated to menial administration tasks, by efficiently processing patient records. It is estimated that the healthcare industry collectively spends $2.1 billion on poorly executed and error-prone manual data management. Therefore, RPA is a perfect solution to increase the efficiency and accuracy of data management in healthcare. In addition, the technology can play a role in ensuring that electronic data sharing in healthcare adheres to privacy protocols, by regulating permission and access rights. RPA introduces fast detection and response times to cyber-attacks, preventing data loss or corruption. This strengthened cyber security enabled by RPA will be beneficial to healthcare providers, particularly those who have suffered from security breaches in the past.
  • Managing and Scheduling Appointments – Closely linked to electronic records, appointment scheduling is a time-consuming task. Automating the appointment scheduling process makes the process quick and smooth without human intervention. For instance, RPA can greatly enhance efficiency by scanning incoming data and setting up appointments based on relevant details like symptoms or suspected diagnosis, physician’s availability, location and convenient time. Any specific changes in the schedule due to the unavailability of the physician can also be timely informed to avoid confusion and hassle. Sending timely reminders to the patients and reminding them of the appointment schedule can increase patient satisfaction. In addition, this would help healthcare professionals get relieved from laborious scheduling tasks.
  • Billing, Payments and Claims Management – RPA technology can be leveraged to streamline the settlement of health payments, amalgamating various costs such as tests, medicines, food and doctor fees into a simplified payment. This accurate and simple bill processing can save time and prevent billing inaccuracies. Furthermore, RPA can be programmed to send personalized reminders to patients if there is a delay or issue in payment. Also, RPA can be used to process time-consuming health claims. For instance, it takes 12 seconds for an RPA solution to check the status of a health insurance claim when compared to 85 seconds if performed manually. This means that one software bot could do the work of 9 full-time employees without error.
  • Document Digitization Process – With natural language processing (NLP), optical character recognition (OCR) and other data labeling processes, RPA can use intelligent document processing (IDP) to prepare and ingest documents. Patient pertaining repositories can be easily prepared and stored that contains the information from various sources including their health records and insurance claims.
  • Account Settlement – Healthcare service delivery involves managing multiple accounts of the same patient in the form of consultation, tests, medicines, etc. Managing and calculating them manually can cause errors while increasing the wait time. By implementing RPA, all these accounts can be brought in place and correct calculation can be performed with just a few clicks. Automatically sending notifications to the patient prevents them from waiting in queues for account settlement.
  • Workflow Management – Dealing with regular workflow in any healthcare organization involves multiple processes. This includes – patient treatment, inventory management, follow-ups, resource utilization, and much more. Managing all of these tasks manually is a time-consuming task. Automating these basic workflows will lead to better utilization of resources with specific focus on critical activities. RPA can directly capture this data at the time of the patient’s registration and save everything relevant to that particular patient. The hospital staff will also be able to extract the relevant data quickly thereby improving the efficiency of the workflow. Automation in healthcare will also offer reports and insights, which can be used to track the health conditions of patients, and their treatment. This will also allow for the customization of a treatment plan for individual patients.
  • Data Analytics and Diagnostics – Healthcare providers collect huge amounts of data from patients on a day-to-day basis. RPA technology can be used to analyze this data, generating valuable insights and analytics, individually personalized to each patient. These insights can be used to aid healthcare professionals and improve patient experience with more accurate diagnosis and treatment. In addition, RPA can be integrated into rapidly growing telehealth services to carry out online screening processes and aid the diagnostics process.
  • Post Treatment Care – RPA can be used to manage post-discharge care. This allows patients to recover quickly after leaving a health facility. Usually, whenever a patient is discharged from the hospital post-treatment, they are expected to follow certain post-medication and healthcare regimes. However, often, the patient may not follow the post-hospitalization medication responsibly. With RPA in healthcare, the bots can deliver the exact discharge and post medication guidelines. The bots can also be programmed to send a notification at the right time to inform the patient of the schedule, appointments, and tests. Additionally, using these bots, patients can contact doctors for further assistance. In this way, RPA acts as a form of communication between the patient and the physician.
  • Insurance Claim Management – It is estimated that almost 91.2 percent or 294.6 million Americans have health insurance coverage or policies. The claims management of these policies becomes the responsibility of the healthcare provider, which includes processes such as data input, processing, evaluation, and dealing with appeals. This claims process, if handled manually or using generic software can often cause errors. In addition, more than 30-40 percent of health insurance claims get denied due to non-compliance with regulations. Therefore, proper technical support ensures better error-free execution and compliance management. Intelligent automation can help reduce errors and speed up the process. Software bots can automatically settle insurance claims fields and apply the relevant regulatory laws on the same. Once the claim document is prepared, the claim filing can be started. In short, error-free document submission makes it easier for the healthcare provider to speed up the claims management process.
  • Audit Procedures – Auditing is a crucial task in the healthcare industry. Whether it involves checking the efficiency of patient services or the quality of safety procedures (offered on the premises), all these essential aspects are audited based on specific objectives. Reports are generated, and the compliance structure is assessed. This is because errors in the system can lead to compliance issues. Automation in healthcare can be utilized to streamline the auditing process. While the bots can’t execute the complete audit procedure, they can help in the recording of data and report generation. Based on these reports, the hospital staff can take appropriate measures. This automation also helps in detecting the source of non-compliance with the help of the tracking functionality.
  • Tracking Assets – Tracking assets like ventilators, defibrillators and medical pumps has become a pertinent issue for hospitals. RPA technology combined with digital sensors and cloud-based control panels can: ensure assets are easily located by staff; check whether the equipment inventories are accurate and up to date, and monitor the condition of assets to ensure they are replaced when faulty.

Automation is the need of the hour. The healthcare industry is struggling in terms of scarcity of specialized resources and patient data management. However, when it comes to healthcare organizations, they should neither delay nor compromise on implementing the automation process. Automation in the healthcare industry can speed up processes, free staff from tedious manual processes, and allow them to focus on handling complex tasks. It helps streamline healthcare operations as they can easily gather data and analyze it to make informed decisions.

Partnering with a business process outsourcing company can help implement the RPA solutions efficiently and swiftly.

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