In recent times, there has been an upward trend in the adoption of RPA. What is RPA? RPA or robotic process automation is nothing but a kind of technology that has the ability to mimic human behavior. Industries like education, banking, and healthcare have integrated RPA technology to digitize and automate their operations. The primary reason why RPA has gained so much traction is the convenience it offers to employees. With RPA, repetitive manual functions can be automated, thereby enabling employees to focus on core functions. The ease and convenience of this technology has resulted in the rapid adoption of robotic process automation in the healthcare industry.
RPA in the Healthcare Industry
What is healthcare robotic process automation? In simple terms, healthcare RPA refers to the use of robotics, AI, and computer programs to automate mundane tasks previously done by medical professionals. Such tasks include data entry, billing, appointment booking, and more. Over the last few months, due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the hospital industry across the world has come under huge pressure. An increasing number of patients and lack of resources has resulted in the complete breakdown of the hospital machinery in several countries. As such, there is an even greater need for RPA today than during pre-COVID times. With RPA, hospitals can free up their resources which can be then dedicated in the fight against coronavirus.
RPA Applications in Healthcare
But how can you actually use RPA in the healthcare sector with maximum efficiency? There are multiple RPA applications in healthcare. Here are a few:
What is a healthcare cycle? The healthcare cycle can be defined as the entire end-to-end lifecycle of a patient, starting from the time a patient seeks treatment and continuing even after the patient leaves the medical centre. The healthcare cycle would include data like customer details, medical history, past visits, doctor consultations, and more. Robotic process automation collects and stores all this data in one place. Once this information becomes available in one place, employees of the hospital, irrespective of branch or location can access it. This is important in providing customers with a customized health plan. For example, if a patient with a history of diabetes visits a hospital, the medical team can suggest appropriate blood tests and suggest them to a diabetologist.
Appointment scheduling is an important, yet mundane and repetitive part of hospital functions. Generally done by medical staff, scheduling can take up a lot of time which could otherwise have been devoted to more important activities. Healthcare robotic process automation can help in appointment scheduling by understanding patient requirements and assigning them to the relevant workflow. All a patient would need to do would be to fill up a form stating details like their location and symptoms. RPA bots can process this information and direct the same to the appropriate workflow, based on location, branch of medicine, etc. The appointment can then be automatically scheduled, be it a visitation or a health test.
One of the primary benefits of RPA in the healthcare industry is the operational efficiency it can provide. Hospitals generally deal with complex interrelated functions. The resultant silos can put a huge strain on operational efficiency. Robotic process automation can streamline complicated functions and garner control of hospital operations. As mentioned earlier, RPA allows the automation of mundane functions which often reduce operational efficiency. In addition, robotic process automation can also reduce wastage and expenses. This is done by tracking high-demand medicines, test kits, etc, and predicting future demand for the same. This helps in optimizing the inventory by keeping a minimal stock of low-demand medical equipment.
RPA applications in healthcare are not only confined to the healthcare industry. The insurance industry often uses RPA to optimize their activities. This is especially in the case of health plans. Insurance companies suggest health plans to patients based on their illness, age, morbidity rate, etc. With the help of robotic process automation, insurance agents can access customer data which can then be used to personalize health plans as per the individual needs of the patients. Additionally, RPA also allows insurance agents to stay in track of the health of the patient, which is necessary for modifying and adjusting premiums and claim amounts.
Benefits of RPA in Healthcare
RPA has multiple applications in healthcare and is one of the most beneficial new-age technologies that can optimize functionalities. Some of the primary benefits of RPA include:
RPA implementation allows hospitals to lower expenses. By using bots for repetitive tasks instead of humans, medical centres can lower costs and reduce the probability of errors.
Whether you run a hospital, a restaurant, or a grocery store, you must keep the customer happy. When patients visit a hospital, they expect fast and efficient service, apart from an accurate diagnosis. RPA creates a database of customer data. This can be accessed by medical staff to provide fast service without any unnecessary delays.
Technological advancements like RPA allow doctors to provide a more effective diagnosis. Doctors get access to patient information like medical history, medications, past surgeries, and allergies. Based on this, doctors can take a more informed decision regarding the patient’s illness and subsequent treatment plan.
Hospitals, especially big ones with multiple branches across cities, require a common and effective mode of interdepartmental communication. Through robotic process automation, appropriate branches and departments can be informed about any actions that they must take, like getting a ward ready for an incoming patient, stocking up on medicines, obtaining an adequate amount of A+ blood, etc.
The healthcare industry is one of those sectors that require continuous technological advancements. Hospitals that have implemented robotic process automation have noticed a marked improvement in the care that they can provide to patients as well as a reduction in operational costs. RPA has revolutionized healthcare by improving diagnostics, enabling more rapid movement of patients through the health cycle, and providing patients with better care at lower costs.