Today I’d like to reflect on the immense benefits that RPA brings to the health sector: something that every tax-payer should know about. People always ask what is RPA, and in what way can it benefit the healthcare sector? Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is software that carries out simple or complex, routine, repetitive, and voluminous tasks normally performed by humans, but faster and error free. It can work with existing systems if it is properly configured. Healthcare facilities that are using this software enjoy benefits such as improved productivity and improved customer experience.
Tasks Carried Out by RPA
Since its inception, this software has carried out several activities in different organizations such as:
- Making calculations
- Copying and pasting information
- Improving data by removing that which is useless
- Extracting documents and routing them to the appropriate users
- Extracting information from documents
All these tasks can be done comfortably by human beings but humans are slow and they tend to make errors. Nevertheless, automating the processes brings efficiency and accuracy and leaves humans to carry out other tasks. In healthcare, it means that humans can focus more on patient care and research.
Benefits of Robotic Process Automation
The use of RPA in a healthcare organization has several advantages such as:
- Increased speed and reduced errors when serving patients, hence improved patient satisfaction.
- Increased quality of the data and information extracted from that data.
- Simplified auditing process since RPA software always keeps a copy of all the tasks it has done, and less auditing time and costs.
- Reduced employee costs.
- Focus of employees on critical tasks within the organization leading to improved productivity and satisfaction of the workers.
- Focus on patient care and improved patient experience.
RPA is Improving Healthcare Operations
The healthcare sector is embracing the use of RPA in its operations. In the healthcare facilities, there is a repetition of activities such as calculations, billing, processing of insurance claims, processing of customer information, extracting documents and sending them to the appropriate users, managing contracts, etc. Some of the ways in which RPA is being used to improve operations in the healthcare industry are discussed below.
1. Insurance Enrollment and Claims Processing
The number of people who need health insurance keeps growing year after year. Workers at the insurance companies have to deal with substantial paper work and repetitive tasks of gathering information for the enrollment of new members. This is tedious and prone to errors. Those who have introduced RPA into their operations have benefited from a smoother, faster and much reduced level of errors. This has positively affected the customer experience.
Insurance companies also process large volumes of claims. RPA increases the speed and accuracy of claims processing.
2. Enhanced Patient Data Processing and Extraction of Information
Employees in clinics, hospitals and other health facilities collect a lot of data concerning different patients. This data includes personal information, insurance cover, the disease they suffer from and the treatment given to them. This data keeps increasing as new patients arrive at the facility with various health conditions. Such information is stored in a comprehensive database, making its retrieval and optimization quite hectic.
With the help of other digital systems, RPA can effectively process, store and manage large volumes of data. Using RPA also makes it easy for them to retrieve the correct files and send them to the right users. It also helps health professionals to access and use correct information in offering better diagnoses and treatments to new patients. Quick retrieval of data saves the healthcare providers a lot of time, and they can use it to attend and offer better assistance to their patients.
3. Discharge Instructions Follow-up
On discharge, patients are given instructions. Following up on the implementation of these instructions is quite difficult for the healthcare services providers who do it manually. For instance, it is tough to ensure that a patient attends all the appointments and takes the prescribed medicine after being discharged. RPA makes this easier. When the process is automated, the RPA system can send reminders to the patients about their scheduled appointments and prescription pick-ups. They can also give information in case the patient needs more help with their condition. This automation results in better healthcare services, improved customer experience, and reduced readmissions.
4. Simplifying the Audit Process
When it comes to auditing, adequate and correct information is required.Auditing takes place periodically, and it is crucial for regulatory compliance. Retrieving and optimizing the needed information can be quite difficult and slow if done manually. Automation speeds up retrieval of information, saving time and energy for the auditors, reducing audit costs. RPA can record information, store data and give accurate reports during audits.
5. Management of Contracts
In healthcare facilities, hiring new service providers or renewing the contracts of the existing ones or managing relationships takes effort. The process is prone to errors and is time-consuming since it involves dealing with a lot of information and details. Using RPA software together with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) makes the process accurate, simpler and faster.
6. Appointment Scheduling Is Simplified
Patients’ appointments should be in line with the availability of doctors and patients tend to miss appointments. Scheduling appointments can be automated using RPA to send reminders patients which improves their experiences.
7. Revenue Cycle Management (RCM)
RCM helps healthcare facilities to maintain long-term profitability and growth. The cycles need to be improved by reducing the time between treatment and receipt of revenue. RPA can accelerate the processing of transactions, medical billing, the claims procedure, and the processing of received claims, remove claim errors, and reduce claim denials and claim resolution timelines.
Healthcare Facilities Should Use RPA
These are some of the many benefits of RPA in healthcare. Insurance companies can handle millions of members and their claims easily while healthcare facilities can save costs and the time of processing data. Although this software makes the work easier and more efficient in healthcare facilities, it comes at the costs of purchase and installation, staff training, effects of malware and job loss for some employees. The benefits of RPA far outweigh the costs and in the long run the healthcare industry benefits substantially.