How the healthcare sector is leveraging RPA to improve efficiency and patient care

Robotic process automation is rapidly changing the game for enterprises and non-profits in the healthcare sector.

How the healthcare sector is leveraging RPA to improve efficiency and patient care

All industries experienced a rapid digital transformation following the events of 2020, though perhaps none more than healthcare.

In the midst of a global health crisis, healthcare and non-profit organisations found innovative ways to meet social distancing requirements and address public panic – with the majority leveraging technology to help them achieve it.

After accelerating their digital journey by potentially 10 years, those organisations are now reaping the benefits of new digital capabilities and asking “What’s next?” as they continue on the path of transformation.

So what is next?

A recent study by McKinsey found that “Jobs in work arenas with higher levels of physical proximity are likely to see greater transformation after the pandemic, triggering knock-on effects in other work arenas as business models shift in response.” With medical care topping the list of jobs with the greatest physical contact, no other industry is as prime to rethink its delivery of services and day-to-day operations.

In the continual drive to deliver better patient care, organisations are now looking to advances in automation to take on more of the administrative burden so health professionals can focus on their customers and patients.

Robotic process automation is a key component of this and is rapidly changing the game for enterprises and non-profits in the healthcare sector.

What is robotic process automation?

Robotic process automation is the handing over of repetitive, mundane tasks from humans to robots.

A bot is specifically engineered to manage routine processes in a way that ensures:
   •  zero human error
   •  absolute consistency
   •  ultra speed and efficiency

Importantly, robots take on the highly administrative and profit-crushing tasks that eat away at skilled workers’ time.

Skilled workers then have more time to do what humans do best: make connections with customers, be creative, collaborate with peers, and so much more.

In 2019, the global robotic process automation market was valued at USD 1.4 billion – a figure that’s expected to grow by 40.6% every year between 2020 and 2027.

We see healthcare as a key industry in this growth, as robotic process automation continues to prove its value by enabling greater efficiency, cost savings, and patient care.

Why robotic process automation in the healthcare sector?

Consider all the manual, repetitive tasks your workforce needs to do every day. Now imagine a low cost, uber-efficient “second workforce” behind the scenes taking on all of those tasks and giving back valuable time to your people.

Here are 5 key areas where robotic process automation will add significant value to healthcare and non-profit organisations:

1. Patient scheduling

Appointment no-shows cost providers in the global healthcare sector billions of dollars each year ($150 billion in the US alone!).

RPA bots can drastically reduce this figure with smart scheduling of appointments, automated appointment reminders, easy self-service re-scheduling, and more.

2. Managing staff and payments

There are various employee awards to contend with in the healthcare sector, which can get increasingly confusing if you’re managing large teams of contractors.

RPA bots are capable of collating data from timesheets, schedules, or other platforms to determine pay amounts in line with workers’ contracts and other terms.

3. Invoicing and billing

According to a KPMG study, as much as 40% of healthcare claims don’t comply with official requirements. RPA bots are capable of checking the validity of claims before they are put through – saving countless dollars in unnecessary payments.

For example, a leading healthcare technology company used robotic process automation to manage claim status investigations. Traditionally staff had to navigate, search for, and collect data from disparate sources to identify the status of a claim. Now their bot manages the whole process for them – even communicating anomalies or unresolved actions to staff when further action is needed.

Providers under the NDIS scheme also face time-consuming challenges in managing customer billing compliance with NDIS requirements (such as travel or transport). A bot can be engineered to intelligently capture billing data, apply rules, and generate invoices – saving field workers and administrative staff countless hours in a day.

In the not-for-profit sector, robotic process automation can take the pain out of strict accounting requirements, donation monitoring, reporting, and more.

4. Regulatory compliance

Organisations in the healthcare sector deal with highly sensitive data, and must follow strict procedures to protect the privacy of their patients. Regulation constantly changes too, making it difficult to keep pace with new laws where a failure to comply attracts serious penalties.

RPA bots remove the potential for human error and can be updated continually to align with the latest regulatory requirements.

A leading healthcare service provider used robotic process automation to speed responses to customer requests by compiling and delivering data on the status of a case right to staff fingertips. This allowed the company to meet agreed timeframes which was also a compliance factor.

5. Administrative tasks

RPA bots are capable of saving healthcare organisations billions of dollars each year in error-prone manual tasks, as well as menial time-consuming administrative activities ranging from provider management to document triage, sales data, and contract management.

Addressing the barriers to robotic process automation

As with any change to business practices, there are perceived concerns about the cost to implement robotic process automation and the time it takes to develop and deploy it.

At Converga, our robotic process automation solution has been engineered to ensure:
   •  low cost barrier to entry
   •  scale on demand
   •  rapid onboarding

Our RPA-as-a-Service model essentially allows you to start small (i.e.: with one business process), and grow as you see the return on investment and identify additional processes for automation.

The RPA-as-a-Service model also allows us to deliver your solution in a fraction of the time. Instead of waiting months, we can complete the process in less than 8 weeks.

There is no need to disturb other business systems, which we find is a huge relief for IT teams who worry about potential down time and the difficulties of implementing new capabilities.

What’s next?

Back in 2018, Deloitte’s Global RPA Survey found more than 50% of respondents in all industries have already started their automation journey. Particularly in a post-COVID world with strong digital foundations already laid, this percentage is set to increase dramatically in 2021 and beyond.

As RPA gains increasing traction in the healthcare and non-profit sectors, business leaders must look to their own operational efficiencies and seek improvements if they wish to remain competitive. This extends to NDIS providers, where choice is now in the hands of the customer and a positive, stress-free experience is key to sustainability.

If you are contemplating robotic process automation for your business, start by evaluating your organisation’s most repetitive and time consuming tasks.

With a clear vision of what you wish to achieve, we can assist in developing a bot that takes the hack work away from your staff so they can get back to supporting your customers.

To start a conversation about robotic process automation for your organisation, simply contact us.