Use cases and best practices of RPA implementation in healthcare

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The world might be fighting against a pandemic caused by a novel virus, but that is not the only health-related issue there is. The healthcare institutions still have their patients with chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart conditions. They still need to treat those with depleting organs and life-threatening infections other than COVID-19. There is anyway a global shortage of healthcare workers for treating the corona virus patients. Not only are the care providers supposed to tend to the ailing patients, they also have to follow the protocol and perform the due administrative tasks for every case. If we factor the non-coronavirus patients in, this shortage may soon become a problem bigger than the pandemic itself.  

With a significant chunk of the healthcare professionals’ time being spent on the administrative tasks, there is relatively less time left for them to attend to the patients. In such a scenario, automating the mundane but necessary paperwork can help save life-critical time of the healthcare practitioners and allow them to address the issues of more number of patients. Robotic Process Automation or RPA in healthcare shows great promise in terms of improving the efficiency of the systems as well as streamlining the processes. It can not only lower the overall costs and speed up the care delivery services, but also brings greater flexibility and help gain critical insights from the medical history of a patient, thus allowing the healthcare practitioners to prescribe the best course of treatment. 

As the hospitals flood with the incoming patients and the care providers struggle to balance their time between caring for the patients and maintaining the documentation, RPA software solutions can prove to be a boon in the time of crisis. Several industries are embracing the technology for its immense value of speed and efficiency. Consequently, the global RPA market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 33.6% over the next seven years, reaching the total worth of USD 10.7 billion. As per another report, there is a 36% scope of automation in the healthcare industry processes, which means that if automation takes over that percentage of tasks, the quality of care can be improved tremendously. Let us look at some of the practical use case of Robotic Process Automation in the healthcare industry and understand how the sector can realize the maximum value out of this next-gen emerging technology. 

Practical use cases of RPA in healthcare 

Some of the main use cases where Robotic Process Automation can be employed in healthcare are: 

  1. Automation of appointment scheduling process: There are numerous complex back-office processes involved in scheduling an appointment, thus making the process labor-intensive. In addition to collecting the basic information such as the patient’s personal information, medical history, and insurance policy number, the staff is supposed to align the patient’s schedule with the doctor and inform the patient beforehand in case of a sudden change of plans. Having an RPA bot in place can free the staff from these repetitive activities and center their focus on more critical aspects. The RPA software can automatically obtain, feed, and process the information for the patients and schedule the appointment based on both patient’s and doctor’s availability. 
  2. Claims processing and management: Processing claims is one of the most error-prone and time-consuming activities due to the involvement of high volumes of data inputs required to be performed manually. By leveraging RPA, healthcare institutions can improve the efficiency of the process as well as the speed and accuracy. Further, RPA can be used to enhance the regulatory compliance and the risk mitigation activities as it is able to flag the potential billing risks automatically based on the aggregated data. 
  3. Healthcare workflow management: Healthcare management and coordination, case management, remote monitoring, population wellness, medicine prescription and allocation, patient admission and discharge, medical documentation, and several other such processes are involved in the day-to-day workflow of a healthcare institution. With the help of RPA, all of these processes can be streamlined, optimized, and accelerated. As these labor-intensive activities are taken over by the Robotic Process Automation software, the staff and practitioners can focus their attention on the patients who need centered assistance. 

Implementing RPA in healthcare the right way 

Robotic Process Automation software or bots enable the healthcare industry to automate the repetitive, mundane, labor-intensive, and time-consuming activities by automating data processing through mimicking human actions. As the technology works with the user interface layer of an application, it does not require any modifications to the core IT systems of the healthcare system, which could be highly expensive to do. Therefore, this next-gen technology helps control the operational costs and improve process efficiency, while taking over the essential but tiresome processes. 

McKinsey reports a 30-200% revenue growth in the first year of RPA implementation. However, to make the most out of the RPA implementation, it is important to take care of a few things. It is essential to devise a carefully-strategized and well-thought plan for implementing RPA in the healthcare system. The plan should clearly state the reason of RPA adoption as well as the expected outcomes of the implementation. RPA being non-cognitive software can only work with structured data. Therefore, the processes on which the algorithm would be applied should be selected after thorough consideration and they should not involve variables or unstructured data components. Finally, perform end-to-end test automation of the processes to reduce the cost of quality while ensuring the desired output & ROI. 

How can we help 

Cigniti’s experts collaborate with your team to identify the best RPA candidates based on the process characteristics & define the RPA governance framework for the engagement. We assess the extent of automation activities & existing documents in place, define RPA metrics, measures, benchmarks, and baselines and suggest any changes required, define the process validation checklist & the automation type, and define & develop a comprehensive BOT framework. Our dedicated innovation practice team has RPA experts who use both rule-based & knowledge-based process automation to facilitate rapid delivery of the next wave of productivity improvement for business processes. Schedule a discussion with us to obtain the next wave of rapid productivity improvement using RPA.  

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