Blog | Oct 17, 2022

Intelligent Automation Breathes New Life into Healthcare Organizations

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The future of intelligent healthcare

The landscape of patient care has entered a paradigm shift over the last three years, and healthcare professionals and patients are focusing on ways to provide better patient care and experiences.

At a recent webinar hosted by SS&C Blue Prism, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on how intelligent automation is breathing new life into healthcare organizations.

View the webinar on-demand to learn how.  

Together with Alexis Stewart, director of strategic programs, Mercy Radiology Group, and Sharyn Catt, managing director & founder of Virtual Blue, we discussed how healthcare organizations are on a mission to digitally transform and create a value-based healthcare system for public healthcare.

Having all worked with leading healthcare organizations across the regions, we’ve witnessed the challenges the healthcare sector is experiencing in providing a better patient experience including the rising costs of delivering care, an aging population that’s increasing demand and an intense skills shortage. Improving patient outcomes is a top priority for all healthcare providers: to improve patient care, clinicians must spend less time on paperwork and more time with patients. 

5 business priorities driving value for healthcare providers

  1. Financial Sustainability — Healthcare organizations must have a financially sustainable business model which optimizes revenue cycle processes. Delays and inaccuracies lead to higher labor costs and bottom-line deductions.
  2. Patient Experience — How to successfully manage a patient’s experience from intake to discharge before they even walk in? It can be done! For example, at Mount Sinai Health in the U.S., SS&C Blue Prism has implemented digital workers (software robots) for pre-arrivals/pre-appointment required documentation. We also helped Mount Sinai Health create a public web-based interface to allow patients to enter their data and facilitate the smooth pre-arrivals check-in/in-take process.
  3. Population Health Management — In the U.S., there are close to 700 electronic healthcare record software providers. Amazingly, 20 percent of these software providers have found errors in their healthcare electronic records, which has impacted the quality of care received. Healthcare providers continue to struggle with tracking a patient healthcare journey. There are, however, ways to improve systems and processes with healthcare automation projects.
  4. Operational Efficiency — Delivering smarter, faster and more efficient service relies on integrated, not siloed, IT systems. Look at how to transform legacy systems and enable data interoperability.
  5. Workforce Empowerment — Intelligent automation (IA) isn’t about headcount reduction or job losses. In the healthcare sector — where the focus is on patient experience — time with patients is critical. IA helps mitigate the risk of healthcare providers'/clinicians’ burnout, improving patient care.

Examples of intelligent automation in action

Kings Facilities Management (KFM)

KFM, a U.K. organization that’s part of King’s College Hospital and the NHS Trust, manages the logistics and supply chain for ordering and receiving medical supplies. KFM uses IA to proactively track deliveries, monitor receipts of supplies and notify suppliers automatically of status updates. A simplified day-to-day supply chain process was implemented, reducing delivery time from eight days to three days. This IA project helps the healthcare provider save up to 365,000 pounds annually from being charged for an overpriced negotiated rate.

East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust, ESNEFT

ESNEFT is one of the largest trusts in the U.K. ESNEFT provides hospital care and community health services for areas in or around Essex and Suffolk. According to NHS England, almost eight million patient appointments a year are missed. Having deployed a ground-breaking IA program to fully automate the GP referral processes, ESNEFT set its sights on delivering better patient experiences. Each missed appointment means scarce resources are under-utilized and care is delayed for patients in need. SS&C Blue Prism’s digital workers proactively identified and eliminated 1,356 missed appointments in the first eight weeks of operation, reassigning otherwise open appointment slots to other patients seeking medical consultation.

Mass General Brigham

Mass General Brigham is a large health system with close to 80,000 employees in the U.S. and 13 hospitals. Mass General has deployed IA across 35 processes in ten different functional areas and saves up to $10 million annually while freeing healthcare professionals to handle high-value patient care.

Taking an end-to-end approach

SS&C Blue Prism starts with an end-to-end journey approach to IA in healthcare, one that supports advanced automation programs that align with the patient journey.

Understanding the patient journey is key to creating an experience that’s not a one-off occurrence but a collection of events. Optimizing the patient journey is key to building a solution that addresses healthcare challenges. For example, in the Mount Sinai Health use case, a public web page is one way to build a user interface and application where patients and staff can collectively interact. This greatly improves the patient experience. In healthcare, unified operations are critical to continuously monitor, orchestrate and optimize work.

The pandemic has accelerated the path to automation in healthcare. The creation of the “digital front door” to engage patients at every touchpoint and deliver a personalized experience is one of the drivers for automation. Accelerated deployment of telehealth, chatbot assessments and remote health monitoring are also driving IA adoption. Digital labor provides healthcare organizations with an infinitely scalable workforce to help healthcare professionals cope with burnout.

Creating a value-based healthcare organization

Joining me on the virtual stage in the panel discussion, Alexis shared how Mercy Radiology Group, a New Zealand-based healthcare organization, offers a broad range of state-of-the-art diagnostic and interventional radiological services at 13 different clinics. On its mission to become New Zealand’s leading bionic radiology provider, they’ve continued to look for business efficiencies. When the healthcare provider noticed delays in appointment bookings and invoicing, they deployed an
SS&C Blue Prism digital workforce.

Although referrers and patients at Mercy can book an appointment online, administering this task was still being done manually by staff. To free up their staff for more value-based work, digital workers helped them to manage requests and the process of transferring information from their online booking system into their RIS system.

Digital workers have quickly gotten up to speed and currently handle around 220-280 bookings per week with 90 percent of appointments requiring no human intervention. Overall, this represents a significant time saving for Mercy staff who can now dedicate more time to helping patients — improving their care and outcomes.

In another case shared by Sharyn, founder of Virtual Blue, automating the e-referrals from different healthcare professionals via public hospitals supports the administrative staff. Another automation is completing eligibility checks to see if the patients qualify for free healthcare, and if not the staff are able to send out an invoice for the healthcare service if one is not eligible. Sharyn added that automation is supported through reports and feedback delivered promptly to the assigned referring doctors post their visit.

Alexis further elaborated on Mercy’s experience of using clinical algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) to embrace technology. Sharyn concluded by sharing tips on how to embark on an intelligent automation journey that drives better patient outcomes.

To learn more, tune into the webinar “Intelligent Automation Breathes New Life into Healthcare Organizations.” Watch On-Demand.