Top 5 applications of RPA in Healthcare

Dileep Gupta August 16, 2022

Automation is the most talked about and adopted technology in today’s era. The benefits are immense. Considering the kind of services the healthcare industry provides, it was earlier assumed that the scope of automation is very low. The reason is the high level of skill sets required for the job, scarcity of resources, and exponentially increasing demand for health workers, especially with the onset of the pandemic. 

The automation process is generally considered for the industries that can displace the low-skilled workers. However, the healthcare industry is seen as an opportunity to handle pressures by implementing RPA in healthcare processes. A report published before the pandemic stated that RPA in the healthcare industry will generate an annual value of $350 billion to $410 billion by the year 2025.

Scope and Benefits of RPA in Healthcare

Numerous administrative activities were carried out by healthcare professionals manually that are quite cumbersome and tedious. While ensuring the correctness of the work, ensuring to follow the rapidly evolving healthcare laws and regulations was another challenge. 

With the evolution of RPA (robotic process automation), there came a radical change in the healthcare industry. By implementing RPA, you can provide 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, in turn, increasing operational efficiency.

The healthcare industry operates in real-time with no windows for delay and mistakes. Automation is applied to tasks that use structured data and logic where the decisions are made on a predefined set of rules. With capabilities like natural language processing (NLP) and optical character recognition (OCR), the unstructured data sets can be structured and used for automation.

Integration of RPA with AI (Artificial Intelligence) creates cognitive automation that performs human-like tasks through bots. 

Having understood how RPA is disrupting the healthcare industry, what is the scope?

Scope

The emerging advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Intelligent Automation (IA), and Machine Learning (ML) have brought significant shifts in the patient experience. Leveraging automation in healthcare can drastically bring down the back-office operational time. Let us take a look at some of the examples of healthcare automation solutions.

Patient Experience

It is presumed that for every medical problem, a visit to a specialist and regular follow-up visits are a must as the patient prefers to interact with a person to discuss their health issues and symptoms. 

However, with the use of AI-powered platforms, possible treatments with a personal touch can be used in between the scheduled visit to the clinics. This enables healthcare providers with enhanced efficiency.  Another example to understand how patient experience can be enhanced is by automating the vaccination schedule up to a certain age. The software can be employed to calculate the vaccination schedule, followed by sending reminders to parents before the scheduled vaccination date.

Medical Transcription

With NLP, the machines can effectively be trained to transcribe and edit the reports dictated by medical specialists and other healthcare practitioners. Machine learning algorithms can convert speech into text for report generation.

Clinical Decision Support

To diagnose a clinical condition and arrive at a decision requires analysis of various reports, past history, and many more factors. With the integration of AI and Intelligent Automation, these can be done automatically without missing any data point, even by mistake. This will help the specialist treat their patients with a better-personalized treatment in a holistic manner.

Optimizing Staff Utilization

With the requirement for specialized staff, the healthcare industry has always faced challenges in terms of staff shortage. Utilizing the manpower with the right optimization for the primary job, healthcare automation solutions can bring big relief.

Inventory Management

To provide a top-notch patient experience, it is imperative to ensure that the medicine inventory is effectively monitored and stock levels are maintained in the hospital. Automation in healthcare can be employed to track the inventory. This can further be integrated with vendors to automate the maintenance and requirement process.

[Read more: How to use RPA in finance? Use cases & real-world examples]

Benefits 

According to Gartner, 20% of all patient interactions will involve some form of AI enablement and RPA is one such emerging technology that is helping healthcare organizations. It also states that 50% of the US healthcare service providers will invest in RPA in the next three years. Some of the benefits that the industry can reap from automation in healthcare are listed below.

Personalized User Experience

This is the experience that is considered to be part and parcel of every service industry including healthcare. Automation here can eliminate the time-consuming administrative task by taking it over from humans. The robots can complete the task in 2 minutes which a human being accomplishes in 10 minutes. This leads to satisfied patients as they receive information instantly and accurately providing them the feeling of being valued.

Increased Appointment Turnout

Appointment scheduling can be automated without the intervention of the hospital administrative staff. This will not only eliminate the need for resources but will help in improving customer experience since the appointments can be arranged at a much faster pace. 

By sending reminders through RPA bots, it is less likely for the patient to forget about the appointment which will increase the appointment turnout. The patient admission and discharge process can also be optimized by providing higher levels of customer service.

Eliminating Human Errors

The basic purpose of automation is to perform mundane tasks without errors while following every step of the process and compliance guidelines. Implementing RPA will be of great benefit, specifically in administrative tasks.

Better Employee Satisfaction

RPA helps human employees by relieving them of repetitive, boring tasks, and enhancing their capabilities of better customer service. This frees up their time to get involved in strategic and intelligence-based roles thus enhancing their consistent growth and learning. The growth opportunities and the feeling of adding value to the company automatically increase employee satisfaction levels.

Reduced Cost

It is a myth that technology services are pricey. RPA for healthcare offers substantial savings by performing the tasks more efficiently without errors in lesser time. This in turn adds to saving on human resources costs while eliminating the repeated tasks because of errors and misses on compliance thus increasing improved patient care. According to CQAH’s study, the healthcare industry can save up to $13.3 billion in a revenue cycle by automating the processes.

Better Data Protection

Data transfer is more secured in automated processes. Considering that the humans handle the reports section, there is a possibility that another employee or an unauthorized person gets access to the reports. Even if this is not intentional, the paper records are easy to access. On the other hand, automated processes limit the access only to the authorized person making it secure.

Also, storing the data electronically, extracting the same, and migrating it for various purposes like research or second opinion, can be done securely and quickly with the help of the implementation of RPA in the health industry.

Top 5 Applications of RPA in Healthcare

To get a better insight into why the healthcare industry should implement intelligent automation, let us look into some of the top RPA in healthcare use cases.

Managing & Scheduling Appointments

Automating the appointment scheduling process makes the process quick and smooth without human intervention. Sending timely reminders to the patients and reminding them of the appointment makes the customer feel valued and important. Any changes in the schedule because of the unavailability of the doctor can also be timely informed to avoid confusion and hassle.

Account Settlement

Healthcare delivery requires managing multiple accounts of the same patient in the form of consultation, tests, medicines, etc. Managing and calculating them manually is prone to making errors while increasing the wait time. With the implementation of RPA, bringing all the accounts in one place and performing the correct calculation can be done with just a few clicks. Automatically sending notifications to the patient prevents them from waiting in queues for account settlement. 

Document Digitization Process

With NLP, 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 their health records to insurance claims. 

Insurance Claim Management

RPA makes the complex insurance claim process a cakewalk. By automating it, you not only ensure the process is complete in less time but ensure that all the required compliances are met. Needless to say that automation makes the whole process smooth and error-free.

Workflow Management

Dealing with regular workflow at any healthcare organization involves multiple processes including but not limited to patient treatment, inventory management, follow-ups, resource utilization, and much more. Managing all of them manually is surely a time-consuming, error-prone, and inefficient approach. Automating these basic workflows will lead to better utilization of resources with a higher focus on critical activities.

Real-world Examples of Companies Using RPA in Healthcare

Let’s have a look at some of the real-world examples of RPA in healthcare:

Major US Healthcare coverage administrator automates appeal processing

To appeal a decision or to submit a complaint, a US healthcare coverage administrator initially followed the process of receiving such requests through email, fax, phone, and web forms. The data was required to be entered manually into the system to start the appeal process which was erroneous and time-consuming. These of course came with a cost of redundancy.

By adopting RPA solutions, correct data was extracted from various sources automatically. With ML and AI, the data could be classified into categories and was queued for further processing. This helped in reducing manual work by 85%, increased accuracy to 99%, and reduced the processing time by five times.

A cloud-based healthcare company automates business process through RPA

Collective Health is a cloud-based health solution company based in the US that offers collective health benefits, better manages cash flows and provides financial reports to self-insured employers and their employees through RPA. 

Things to Consider While Implementing RPA in Healthcare

Every healthcare organization needs a robust RPA system to keep up with the latest technology and business requirements. While keeping the vision of the need for automation, it is important to consider a few points while implementing the same.

Implementation Cost and ROI Opportunities

Implementation of any new technology is normally weighed with the cost-saving that it will bring. Most of the healthcare organizations that implement RPA, normally achieve the payback in time as small as 12 months.

RPA project Failure Rate 

Ensure to take a granular approach to automation by partnering with an experienced and reliable RPA solution provider. Consider the limitations of your IT infrastructure, discuss the requirements elaborately to automate the required process, and take a progressive approach to a complete automation solution.

Desired Intelligence Level

Most of the available data in the health sector falls under the category of unstructured data in the form of text, pdf, videos, images, hand-written notes, etc. While planning your pilot RPA project, ensure to discuss the healthcare AI integration opportunities as the project’s success primarily relies on computer vision, AI, and NLP.

How can Appinventiv Help?

The healthcare industry is struggling in terms of scarcity of specialized resources and patient data management. Partnering with a healthcare app development company can help you implement the RPA solutions efficiently and swiftly.

Appinventiv can help you develop a robust RPA solution for your healthcare business. With a team of consummate professionals, we take pride in taking up projects of all shapes and sizes. Primarily being an AI and healthcare development company, we have catered to companies with diversified portfolios.

For instance, we have built a revolutionary solution for YouCOMM, transforming their in-hospital patient communication by providing real-time access to medical help. With a customizable patient message system, patients can easily notify staff of their needs through voice commands, and the use of head gestures.

Another application was developed for Soniphi, which was based on a resonant frequency-based personal wellness system. We helped bring human bio-acoustic science to mobile devices to witness the relationship between a voiceprint and the physiology, personality, structure, and function of the human body.

We are eager to serve the product that suits your requirements by disrupting modern technology. Share your requirements with our experts.

Final Thoughts!

Automation is the need of the hour!. Specifically, when it comes to caregiving services, the organization should neither delay nor compromise on implementing the automation process. The healthcare industry has been struggling and wishes to focus on providing care services with focus. By negating the administrative tasks with an application of RPA in healthcare, this is quite achievable.

FAQs

Q. Can RPA be implemented without disrupting the current workflow and processes?

A. RPA for the healthcare industry complements the existing workflows, processes, and procedures that will help implement the RPA without compromising the current system. The future of the healthcare industry cannot be imagined without the implementation of RPA as this helps reduce time-consuming activities, thus helping in improving the quality of patient care.

Q. What is the drawback of RPA implementation in healthcare?

A. The major drawback is that RPA can process only the structured data, whereas, 90% of the data of the healthcare industry is unstructured. The advent of Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) will help in overcoming this drawback.

Q. How do you calculate RPA solution ROI?

A. The ROI is calculated considering the following 

  • Number of processes that are to be automated
  • Number of resources required to automate the process
  • Time required to complete the task
  • Cost of deployment of these resources
THE AUTHOR
Dileep Gupta
DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER
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