Almost 10 years ago the World Health Organization (WHO) predicted that the world would experience a healthcare worker shortage of nearly 13 million professionals by the middle of the 2030s. This prediction would mean that in-person medical appointments would be hard to come by and could only be afforded by wealthy people. As we’ve already seen with the pandemic, things are already taking a turn in that direction.

Many doctors have switched to virtual doctor’s appointments and remote patient monitoring (RPM) systems so that healthcare systems aren’t as bogged down with less important tasks, but the nearly 6000% growth in virtual visits has now put an even greater strain on medical professionals that enter manual data into health records, process manual claims and interact with patients through online medical portals.

As more and more businesses switch to intelligent process automation (IPA) solutions to overcome their repetitive labor needs, it seems that the healthcare industry could have its inefficiencies cured by some simple IPA adoption.

Read on to learn more!

IPA in the Medical Field

Intelligent process automation is nothing like the little robots you see on college campuses that can deliver students their food. In this case, we’re talking about pre-programmed bots that live inside insurance, accounting, laboratory, and different forms of patient or customer engagement systems.

These IPA bots run off of structured data that is stored in databases. Some of the data could the demographics, names, addresses, financial information, and medical histories of patients. The bots execute mundane, repetitive tasks just as a real human worker would.

Simply put, IPA solutions that are adopted in the healthcare industry can be described as a piece of software that works with other applications and complete repetitive tasks by themselves.

This means that real healthcare workers would have more time for diagnostic work and interacting with patients. Additionally, intelligent software bots can process transactions, move data around, give pre-programmed responses, and communicate with other internal and external IT systems that they’re linked to.

why intelligent process automation in healthcare is crucial for intelligent automation

How IPA Works in the Background

To get a better understanding of IPA in the healthcare industry, let’s talk about what kind of technologies are at the center of intelligent process automation and how the bots work.

  • Technology stack: Intelligent process automation is reliant on common programming languages and frameworks like Python and Java, as well as relational databases or front-end technology like JavaScript.
  • Business logic: Before IPA is adopted and deployed as a medical solution, a business analyst will weigh the pros and cons of a healthcare organization’s workflows while also receiving feedback from the company’s stakeholders. Based on all the information that’s collected, inefficient processes and opportunities for automation will be identified. Once this is complete, process developers will document and program the rules and instructions for the IPA bots to follow.
  • Components: IPA healthcare solutions have multiple layers in their systems like recorders, extensions, bots, a control unit, and a development studio. The recorders are bots that watch human workers interact with application UI elements and other kinds of data. They remember the properties of objects and mimic the user’s actions like saving certain data or copying data in the system. The development studio is where the automated workflows are first designed. Using extensions, IPA bots can extract and move data around that comes from other systems. The control unit acts as an admin panel for setting up, completing, and managing all of your IPA bots.

How IPA Can Be Used in Healthcare

  • Claims processing: Processing claims in the healthcare industry has been known to have a lot of errors. It usually takes a healthcare worker 80-90 seconds just to check the status of a claim. When you calculate all the claims that are waiting in the queue, you’ll quickly realize why US patients and healthcare workers pay nearly $500 billion in billing and insurance-related costs every year. By using intelligent process automation for healthcare claims and administration workflows, an organization can reduce the 90 seconds it takes to check a claim status to just 3 seconds. IPA can also be used to notify the organization’s manager about pending and incomplete claims.
  • Payment processing: Intelligent process automation solutions in healthcare billing usually work together with claims management and other medical coding systems. To get reimbursement from insurance companies, healthcare workers have to source all kinds of data like drug and disease codes and other parts of a patient’s medical history from disparate technology systems. IPA medical tools can also improve pricing transparency between providers and patients. It usually takes a revenue cycle employee 5-7 minutes to find out how much a patient will have to pay for their services before they even get the care they requested. With IPA bots, you can now produce 50-70% of estimates without human intervention.
  • Appointment scheduling: Before the pandemic, nearly 90% of appointments were booked manually by the patient and a healthcare worker. This extended the time between the referral and the visit time by up to 2 months. Every year, missed appointments cost healthcare providers a whopping $150 billion. By using IPA medical bots inside of appointment scheduling and patient engagement software, healthcare organizations can eliminate the need for data entry and improve the rates of missed appointments.
  • Compliance management: It’s important that healthcare organizations stay up-to-date with new medical acts and standards that regulate a patient’s health information. After all, this can make or break your reputation and the amount of profit you receive. HIPAA violations currently range from $1000 for mild incidents all the way to $100,000 for serious breaches. Compliance checks and role-based access controls can be coded into IPA medical solutions logic. This means that you’ll be able to prevent intentional and unintentional breaches and maintain a detailed log for quick, secure security audits.

Some other uses of IPA in healthcare include efficient medical coding, improved communication between patients and doctors through automatic replies and reminders, centralized electronic medical record management, and inventory tracking.

why intelligent process automation in healthcare is crucial for intelligent automation

Benefits of Intelligent Process Automation in the Healthcare Industry

Intelligent process automation is a great solution for healthcare organizations that are looking to help more patients and improve patient outcomes without the need for large amounts of spending or extra work on the healthcare workers’ part. Here’s a summary of the benefits of RPA in the healthcare industry:

  • With IPA solutions, medical organizations can create processes without increasing labor costs, which account for 60% of hospital operating expenses
  • By assigning mundane, repetitive tasks to IPA bots, healthcare organizations can reduce human errors that are so common with manual data entry
  • IPA bots are low cost and easy to implement, requiring no extensive software customization
  • Intelligent process automation healthcare tools improve knowledge sharing and collaboration between organizations involved in medical care delivery
  • By leveraging IPA in healthcare, medical organizations could perform labor-intensive tasks 60% faster while reducing the associated costs by up to 80%

Consider These Things When Implementing IPA

IPA is one of the fastest growing technologies around the world, but only 5% of US healthcare organizations are using IPA bots to automate their mundane, repetitive tasks to boost efficiency. However, Gartner claims that IPA adopters in the healthcare industry could jump to nearly 50% in the next three years and nearly 20% of doctor-to-patient interactions will involve some kind of artificial intelligence.

Although it’s still in its early adoption phase in the healthcare industry, intelligent process automation helps medical organizations improve their care delivery and improve the patient experience while keeping administrative costs low.

If you’re thinking about automating some of your healthcare processes, contact Digital Workforce Solutions now!

why intelligent process automation in healthcare is crucial for intelligent automation

Published On: September 29th, 2022 / Categories: Automation, Optimization /

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