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Business process automation in healthcare 2.0

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Vivek Malhotra, MD, RST Solutions analyses why Business Process Automation is a necessity in the healthcare sector

This pandemic has changed how people around the world live, work, and engage with each other. The Healthcare sector has become the biggest priority for India. The pressing need for resources, information, cost optimisation, and supply chain efficiencies in the sector calls for a major technology overhaul. Therefore, embracing new-age digital technologies is key for healthcare providers in addressing the immediate concerns and driving the long-term goals.

Automation has enabled many industries to revolutionize their operations. It has the same, or even more potential for the healthcare sector. Introduction of Business Process Automation can streamline the healthcare system for simplicity, increased service quality, and manage costs. Healthcare process automation consists of integrating applications, restructuring labour resources, and using software applications throughout the healthcare value chain.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI) Machine Learning (ML) tools, Private/Public Cloud, Data Analytics, and Integration can help healthcare providers to implement and achieve greater operational efficiency. Here are a few ways automation can help the healthcare industry: –

  1. Patient support through voice-bots

The first step on a patient’s healthcare journey is to provide his/her basic details, health conditions, and symptoms. Using these details, a nurse or doctor counsels the patient and plans the next step. Given that most outdoor patient departments are working remotely due to Covid-19 protocols, voice and chatbots can easily be implemented to take most of this workload. These bots can respond according to a predetermined set of answers.

  1. Maintain EHR systems

The biggest risk that hospitals bear with the lack of automation is how vulnerable patients’ Electronic Health Records (EHR) are. There are growing cases of human errors when hospital staff enters incorrect information into EHR systems, leading to the risks of misdiagnosis and mishandling of data. Automation software can help automatically and safely transfer test results into an EHR system over the cloud network. This helps medical practitioners understand a patient’s condition and offer accurate treatment.

  1. Patient admission and discharge

One of the key elements of all hospital workflows is the approval step. Everything needs to be signed off on by a doctor or administrator. However, in a traditional manual and paper-based workflow, approvals can be hard to get. With an automated workflow, approval steps are done in real-time. A doctor can use a mobile app to quickly offer approvals for any request, such as a patient discharge. Automated approvals are not only easier to do, they are harder to forge and give clear timestamped documentation.

  1. Insurance claim management

Automation helps optimise information collected from various sources across multiple systems for claims processing, with high accuracy. From filing the claims, filtering the data, and paying the claimants, the automated claims process reduces transaction times from an average of 12 minutes to just two minutes.

  1. Inventory and supply chain management

Automation can help supply chain managers track the inventory required in a hospital, such as gloves, needles, syringes, medicines, or PPE kits by notifying changes in demand and supply patterns. Other key benefits of adopting automation processes include simplifying patient appointment scheduling, automated billing procedures, improved account settlements, better help desk response times, etc.

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