Why RPA Is Essential for the Healthcare Industry

  • September 21, 2022
  • Elisa Silverglade
  • 8 min read

Robotic process automation, or RPA, is an excellent means of streamlining workflows in various businesses, and RPA in healthcare industry is no exception. Healthcare organizations in the U.S. and worldwide currently struggle with high costs, stringent regulations, and near-insurmountable workloads. 

The healthcare industry faces the difficulty of consistent reporting and arduous paperwork to bridge the gaps. These challenges directly impact the urgency and quality of healthcare, and in turn, patients can encounter bad experiences while employees continue to put in more effort, potentially leading to errors. The success of health organizations depends on the availability of accurate and timely data, making streamlining through automation much more important.

The healthcare industry already uses many repetitive processes, such as patient onboarding, follow-ups, updating medical records, claims processing, prescription management, report generation, and medical billing. These are everyday tasks across all healthcare facilities, making the sector a good platform for RPA. 

With RPA, organizations can boost engagement, employee satisfaction, and productivity. Robotic process automation can help execute repetitive tasks faster and more accurately so they will become more profitable, responsive, and flexible. 

These benefits explain the consistent growth of the global IT automation sector, and this technology has remarkable potential to help organizations in the healthcare industry save time and money using RPA tools.

This guide will walk you through the essential information about this emerging technology. It introduces to you what RPA is in healthcare and its role in that industry. Organizations looking to integrate this technology into their systems can learn about its various uses and the benefits of working with a reputable RPA company.

What Is RPA in Healthcare?

Robotic process automation is a business process computerization technology that allows organizations to incorporate human elements within digital systems for enhanced accuracy and timeliness. 

RPA in healthcare is considerably more sophisticated than robot maids or dog droids. They consist of pre-programmed agents or intelligent bots for insurance, patient engagement, and accounting. Robotic process automation is quite different from your ordinary IT solution.

In an industry that is synonymous with many compliance requirements, protocols, and rules, such as healthcare, this technology excels in streamlining processes. RPA leverages bots to perform high-volume, repetitive tasks. These bots feature algorithmic capabilities, making them ideal for accomplishing tedious back-office or scenario-based tasks in digital healthcare environments.

The bots can feed off structured data variables stored in databases, including patient demographics, addresses, names, and financial information. This will ideally free healthcare workers’ time, enabling them to focus on diagnostic work and enhance doctor-patient engagements. The technology is fairly unintrusive and will leverage your organization’s existing infrastructure without interfering with your internal setups.

Common Use Cases of RPA in the Healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry is home to highly sensitive doctor-client interactions and diagnostic processes, but the quality and efficiency of services depend on many other administrative and repetitive tasks. RPA comes in handy in providing task automation across organizations.

This automation can range from front office tasks to patient interaction, bill payment, and other operational processes. RPA can competently mimic nearly all predictable human interactions, such as filling forms, logging into systems, and moving files. The uses for RPA in the healthcare industry include:

Administrative Data Entry

Any healthcare environment has a lot of administrative data. Keying in all of that data generally doesn’t require special skills and can be very repetitive and time-consuming. No productive enterprise would continue with that tedious manual process if technology could handle it more efficiently.

Solution: Speech recognition, natural language processing (NLP), and image recognition, among other forms of technology, can collect various administrative data. RPA bots can then convert the structured data and send it to the database. 

Billing and Claim Processing

Billing and insurance claim processes are among healthcare facilities’ most repetitive and prone to errors. An error will disrupt the activities flow and lead to losses. Billing, payments, and claim processing are very time-consuming tasks as well.

Solution: A multipurpose bot can handle these functions and save time and money. RPA bots use optic character recognition capabilities to recognize payment or claim details. They then access your accounting system and feed the correct information into the proper fields. Your system creates and registers the invoice, and then the bots will email it to the patient. Bots can also send customized reminders in case of payment delays.

Patient Processing 

Managing patients from admission to discharge is no minor undertaking. Patients must follow post-medication instructions upon discharge, but many will miss or forget important dates for specific meds or procedures, which may take time to communicate.

Solution: RPA bots can improve the communication of patient discharge instructions and boost patient experience by prompting your systems to email patients vital information. The bots can also send timely reminders or notifications based on the recovery plan to inform patients of appointments, procedures, necessary tests, and schedules.

Managing and Scheduling Appointments 

Managing and scheduling patient appointments in healthcare facilities has been a manual process for a long time, with more than 80% of patient appointment processes handled manually before the pandemic. This created a long gap between the initial referral and the appointment. Managing hundreds of appointments manually is prone to create other challenges, including matching patients to doctors appropriately and rescheduling in case of a cancellation or an update.

Solution: RPA bots can automatically manage patient appointments, accurately scheduling, canceling, or updating appointments as needed. The bots will offer an appointment slot to a patient based on the patient’s condition and the doctor’s availability. The bot will then mark the space as unavailable and notifies the patient of the appointment via email.

Infection Control 

Another important way to use RPA is infection control. Medical environments are prone to infections, and the most significant risk factors for rampant infections are low hygiene standards.

Solution: It is difficult to prevent infections when you rely on a human workforce for all processes, but automation significantly reduces that risk. RPA bots can help manage triage tasks, screening and tracking protocols, and patient flow. Intuitive bots can also monitor patient care plans or alert medical staff on various patient data thresholds.

Compliance Management 

There are several legislative acts and standards in the healthcare industry and for organizations to stay in business, managing patient health information is one of the standards to which they must comply. 

Solution: RPA tools in the healthcare industry have hard-coded role-based access controls. This feature can effectively help your organization prevent intentional or unintentional data breaches. It can also help maintain detailed activity logs, enabling faster and more accurate security audits.

The roles of RPA in the healthcare industry vary widely, but each serves the purpose of effectively streamlining processes for accuracy and efficiency. There are countless benefits of using RPA in healthcare for this reason.

Benefits of RPA In Healthcare Organizations

Using RPA to automate repetitive, tedious, and time-consuming tasks has several benefits. Market professionals estimate that at least 50% of healthcare facilities in the U.S. will invest in RPA bots within the next couple of years.

Some of the benefits include:

-Reduced Administration Costs

The most significant advantage of using bots is cutting costs. Labor costs in healthcare facilities take up to 60% of all expenses. Using RPA can reduce labor costs considerably while also improving service delivery.

-Save Time

A lot of time goes into patient processing. Handling appointment requests, pre-arrival, arrival, billing, and discharge comes with a lot of tedious data entry and often takes a lot of time when handled manually. Automating your systems with RPA will help you accomplish these tasks up to 60% faster.

-Improved Productivity and Quality Service Provision

Bots can handle repetitive tasks so your healthcare staff can concentrate on more critical patient-centric work. 

-Improved Compliance

RPA bots can reliably adhere to predefined rules without compromise. They will ensure that each medical or appliance production method meets all the necessary predefined conditions, thereby improving compliance.

-Improved Accuracy

The need for accuracy in healthcare is not debatable. Automating repetitive tasks can remarkably help reduce human error, and RPA bots guarantee output consistency and enable organizations to maintain the highest standards.

-Improved Data Security

You can successfully process sensitive data with RPA. Only authorized personnel can access sensitive patient data with bots, such as lab test reports. This benefit ensures that you prevent intentional or unintentional violations of medical records compliance standards.

All of these benefits allow your healthcare facility to function more smoothly, efficiently, and with greater accuracy while allowing your healthcare workers to focus their attention where it matters most – the patients.

Work with a Reputable RPA Company Such as Techromatic for Your RPA Needs

RPA is still not as popular as it should be, but it is undoubtedly one of the fastest-growing technological industries. It is the future of healthcare and other industries. Not every RPA company will deliver on its promises, though. Do your due diligence to ensure you’re working with a reputable RPA company when you decide to automate.

The factors you should consider when choosing an RPA developer are the cost of the technology, responsiveness, reliability, and transparency, among others. You need a company that gives value for the money by unleashing your healthcare staff’s potential, improving your compliance standards, and boosting your process accuracy.

Techromatic, in collaboration with Automation Anywhere, is your ideal choice to help streamline your processes. We can help bring RPA to your healthcare facility, so contact us today for more information.