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Blog | Jun 14, 2024

Is Hospital Automation Necessary?

Hospital Automation
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Hospitals and healthcare face mounting challenges with skills and staffing shortages, an increasing number of patients and multiple systems that require manual data entry. To improve patient experience, hospital staff require more time to dedicate to valuable interactions. But to achieve this, hospitals need to reduce the low-value but necessary tasks taking up all their time. That’s where hospital automation can help.

What Is Hospital Automation?

Let’s start with, “What is automation?” Intelligent automation (IA) combines the task-automating capabilities of robotic process automation (RPA) with the process-orchestrating work of business process management (BPM) and the cognitive features of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to automate and streamline end-to-end business processes.

Hospital automation is associated with healthcare automation. It reduces the burden on healthcare through digital workers. IA deploys digital workers to complete time-consuming, manual tasks. They’re available 24/7 and free up your staff from tasks such as data entry and appointment scheduling so they can instead focus on more engaging activities, like enhancing patient care.

IA also gives you real-time insights into how your processes are performing so you can continuously improve them and ensure transparency in your hospital operations. This can improve compliance and consistency.

How Can You Automate Workflows in Hospitals?

IA connects disparate systems securely and efficiently, bringing together important patient data into one unified platform. This allows the relevant clinical staff to view critical data quickly with the assurance that it’s accurate and up to date.

To start with IA, find those places where bottlenecks are slowing down your hospital operations and keeping your patients from getting the best possible care. Start with low-value, repetitive tasks. You can expand your IA initiative as you gain more benefits until you orchestrate work end-to-end across departments. Let’s look at the steps involved to achieve a reliable and scalable automation solution.

8 steps for implementing hospital automation

  1. Identify areas within your hospital processes that could most benefit from automation (e.g., appointment scheduling, billing, patient monitoring, etc.)
  2. Define clear objectives for what you want to accomplish with your hospital automation, such as enhanced patient care, regulatory compliance or improving operational efficiency.
  3. Engage key stakeholders such as hospital administrators, department heads, frontline staff, IT professionals, clinicians, nurses, etc., in the decision-making process.
  4. Find the IA/RPA tools suitable for your workflow needs. Consider scalability, compatibility with your existing systems, ease of integration, security features, vendor support and total cost of ownership (TCO).
  5. Test your chosen tools for effectiveness by simulating real-world hospital settings. Define specific use cases or scenarios to test the functionality, performance and usability of the automation technology.
  6. Establish an implementation plan that includes timelines, milestones, roles and responsibilities, and collaborate with your IT team to ensure the automation tools will work with your existing databases and workflows.
  7. Once you implement the solution, monitor the performance and impact of IA on your hospital processes, including key performance indicators (KPIs) such as efficiency gains, cost savings, error rates and patient outcomes.
  8. Regularly review and update your automated workflows, continuously looking for new ways to improve what you have.

What Can You Automate in a Hospital?

There are plenty of healthcare IA/RPA use cases, but let’s drill into ones specific to hospital functions.

Referral management

Healthcare referral management automation addresses patient wait times and coordination between different hospital departments. IA can automatically validate non-clinical data, prioritize referrals based on relevance and significantly reduce the time it takes for a patient to see a healthcare professional. It’s designed to reduce backlogs and streamline the referral process while maintaining compliance, security and accuracy.

Record updates

Paper-based recordkeeping that relies on manual data entry and form filling causes too many bottlenecks in the industry, which often results in human errors and missed or out-of-date information. This can directly affect the patient. By automating medical records, you can use IA tools to create, manage and distribute medical documents to the right people. This can include automating electronic health records (EHRs), clinical decision support systems, and billing and coding documents.

Appointment scheduling

An IA platform can allow patients to schedule their own appointments online. It automatically syncs with hospital calendars to reduce administrative burdens. It can then send automated alerts to remind patients of upcoming appointments, medication schedules or follow-up visits. All of this ensures the patient gets adequate and timely help, and that your hospital staff can dedicate their time and resources to the most valuable clinical work.

Inventory management

IA can help track and manage the hospital’s medical supplies, medication and equipment to ensure you maintain optimized inventory levels. This will reduce waste and ensure you have the necessary resources available to you.

Data collection

Medical staff spend a lot of time dealing with data, from collecting it to accessing and managing it in real time. Automation can make this process much easier. It starts with setting up electronic medical records (EMR), which simplifies the entire process of creating and accessing records. IA software can help by automating data collection, which means fewer mistakes and no more hunting for records. Plus, all that data is securely stored in one spot. IA centralizes data storage and can integrate it with tests, reports and patient information.

Revenue cycle management

Intelligent automation can help hospitals automate their revenue cycle. It does this by streamlining tasks like collecting data, following up on payments, checking insurance claims and getting payments faster. Plus, it cuts down on administrative costs. It helps hospitals keep track of payments, collections and patient reimbursements easily and accurately.

Why Do Hospitals Need to Introduce Automation?

Healthcare automation can help relieve a lot of stresses we’re currently seeing in hospitals across the globe. It streamlines repetitive, low-value tasks so your clinical and administrative staff can focus on creating a better patient experience. With the right implementation strategy and planning, IA can transform how your hospital operates.

Want to learn more? Find out what automation technology trends are changing healthcare today, and what we expect to see in the next few years.

Learn more about our IA & RPA Healthcare Solutions 

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