Published: April 21, 2021 – Author: Scott Teeple
The healthcare industry is made up of workers in all kinds of roles..
..working towards the same goal: improving patient experiences to help them live happier, healthier lives. However, many healthcare professionals find that time-consuming, monotonous tasks like data entry and reporting prevent them from using their knowledge and expertise to make the biggest impact.
We sat down with a group of automation leaders in the healthcare industry to discuss how automation can transform healthcare and enable workers to provide better service and experiences to patients. Read on to learn about the eight insights we uncovered about the ways automation can help healthcare professionals make the most of their work.
Work at full capacity
Insight: Healthcare professionals often go through rigorous training and schooling to learn the skills they need to best serve patients. Once they get into the field, though, many find that their knowledge takes a backseat to more operational tasks that must be done to keep their business running.
Actions: Automation covers many day-to-day operations so healthcare professionals can wield their expertise and work at the top of their license. Including automation in your organizational change management plan can boost ROI and lead to better experiences for workers and patients, alike.
Just remember: it’s important to explain what automation is and how it complements, not replaces, your employees’ work so you get buy-in from your team.
Optimize data collection and reporting
Insight: Healthcare professionals are tasked with collecting, organizing, and making sense of massive amounts of data. Countless hours are spent combing through reports to identify issues and gaps in service, taking up valuable time and resources for workers.
Action: Instead of painstakingly going through massive reports by hand, automation can analyze data quickly and identify any exceptions that require action by a human employee. By implementing automation with the capability to identify these issues, your team can address problems efficiently and save additional time and money while working through them.
Standardize work processes
Insight: Hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other healthcare organizations are usually filled with lots of workers all working towards a common mission. However, having multiple employees means each one can have a different process for achieving the same end goal. While your employees most likely always find a way to get their job done, they probably aren’t sharing their insights to make the process more efficient across the whole organization.
Action: Process insights are key to an effective automation program. By understanding how your team can get from point A to point B the fastest, you can use automation to streamline and standardize your processes to ensure consistency and boost efficiency.
Reduce security and compliance risks
Insight: The healthcare industry is highly regulated and leaders must take steps to ensure their data is secure and their processes meet industry quality standards. Chances are your team is already hard at work monitoring your organization and swiftly addressing any issues that arise.
Action: Automation programs like computerized system validation meet the same quality standards as your current IT systems and can be leveraged to support existing quality control efforts. It’s important that you don’t abandon your current IT systems, though. Instead, think of automation as a guardrail to keep processes compliant, regulate opportunities for risk, and prevent deviations from secure processes.
Innovate at scale
Insights: You may have heard the saying, “If you dream it, it can be done.” Well, that mindset can be applied to healthcare with the innovation afforded by an automation program. With automation, the world is your oyster, giving you the tools to think outside the box and rethink the way you work.
Action: Today’s technology landscape can hinder progress — current systems and the heavy costs associated with change limit innovation in the healthcare industry. Automation offers a low-cost, highly effective solution for augmenting or even enhancing your processes to create real change and better address business needs without significantly increasing the already huge technology debt. Automations have proven same-year ROI to quickly cover the costs to implement, so don’t delay.
Audit with accuracy
Insight: Healthcare professionals handle large amounts of data and a misstep can be costly. Reviewing and auditing work, especially patient charts, is a time-consuming, but necessary, process.
Action: Automation makes it possible to audit 100% of you and your team’s work quickly and efficiently, as opposed to the traditional process which involves reviewing only a sample size usually days after the work is completed. By implementing an automated audit process, healthcare teams can save valuable time and money while conducting more accurate audits.
Maintain and scale automation
Insight: The benefits of an automation program are numerous, especially for the healthcare industry. It can be developed and deployed quickly so organizations can see results fast, but it is important to not overlook the management and cost of maintaining your automation.
Action: Like any machine or technology, Intelligent Automation requires monitoring and maintenance to continuously run at peak performance. As you plan your automation strategy, outlining an operations and support plan is crucial for implementing automation at scale and ensuring it is supporting, not taking away from, your current processes.
Have a contingency plan
Insight: Automation is everywhere — we even have autopilots that fly our planes. However, you probably wouldn’t get on a plane that doesn’t still have a trained pilot in the cockpit. Similarly, you still need skilled workers to support the business process as you implement and operate your automation program.
Action: Having a solid business continuity and disaster recovery plan is a must to ensure your organization can continue to operate even if your automation goes down. Bots don’t take a vacation, but they do get sick. Having a plan in place for when this happens can save your team precious time and money — and a few headaches!
Scott, Agilify’s Chief Technology Officer, is a proven technology innovator with expertise in information technology and business operations, including Cognitive, RPA, and RDA.