Intelligent Automation and Process Mining in Healthcare
The international healthcare industry has shouldered its fair share of pandemic-induced burdens over the past two years. And the sector was already facing some huge challenges, such as lengthening waiting lists, growing skills shortages, aging populations requiring more care, rising prices, aging IT infrastructures, etc.
Amidst the challenges, international collaboration was a beacon of hope. Scientific invention has arguably never played a greater part in coming up with innovative treatments, and worldwide cooperation proved its worth when developing the COVID-19 vaccine program.
Another positive challenge for healthcare came in figuring out how to implement powerful technology to improve processes within the sector, which required breaking down barriers between primary and secondary care providers, social care, and community health programs. Fortunately, this move toward proactive healthcare systems prevents ill health, rather than reacting to it with remedial treatments as a last resort.
What Is Process Mining in Healthcare?
Many providers are still at the beginning of this technological journey, and the concept of wide-scale cross-sector digital transformation can be daunting. Some healthcare providers have begun with process mining, defined by Gartner as “a technique designed to discover, monitor, and improve real processes… by extracting readily available knowledge from the event logs of information systems.”
Essentially, instead of trying to monitor how business processes are running using reports and dashboards, process mining can provide healthcare organizations with a detailed view of their people and systems. With this deeper understanding, they can improve processes for speed and efficiency.
How is process mining used in healthcare?
There is no shortage of data in the healthcare sector, from patient health records to monitoring information, and from appointment booking systems to payment schemes. The challenge comes in organizing the wealth of data to create a real-world picture of a hospital or healthcare ecosystem.
With a system such as SS&C Blue Prism Process Intelligence, powered by ABBYY Timeline, process footprints created in almost any IT application, including EHR, ERP and LIMS, can be quickly extracted, combined and automatically reconstructed in digital form.
This means organizations can visualize processes, such as patient sign-ins, initial evaluation and diagnosis, treatment, medication management, continued care, billing, and more. They can identify bottlenecks, often caused by manual inputs, and introduce improvements.
Process mining also enables providers to uncover why some processes take longer than others. Additionally, they can analyze the time between two care events to compare different departments, regions or even individual employees. From a cost management point of view, providers can identify incident types that add time and cost to the patient care process and take action accordingly.
Discovering Opportunities for Automation with Process Mining
One way process mining can provide great value to healthcare providers is by identifying opportunities to automate manual processes.
By eliminating the error-prone, labor-intensive tasks associated with every patient journey — checking in, evaluating and diagnosing issues, documenting orders, processing insurance claims, scheduling follow-up visits — intelligent automation enables healthcare providers to realize faster, more accurate outcomes.
SS&C Blue Prism Process Intelligence offers seamless integration between process mining, task mining and intelligent automation. It streamlines the customer journey, so organizations can go straight from process mining to SS&C Blue Prism Capture, then bring it all into SS&C Blue Prism Design Studio.
How Healthcare Employees Benefit from Process Mining
The visibility healthcare providers gain through process discovery and mapping allows them to compare people, processes and systems against best practices. Full transparency and actionable insights make it easy to optimize processes, so healthcare organizations can make critical decisions faster and improve results more easily.
Then, instead of having highly trained staff work tirelessly to move data from one system to another, digital workers can. They can access the same applications and systems as humans, which means they’re able to take on those laborious data handling and migration tasks, ultimately, freeing up health professionals to handle the jobs that add real value to the patient experience. Providers can be sure that patient data is being handled sensitively, without error and in the most efficient way possible.
Five opportunities for process mining in healthcare
SS&C Blue Prism Process Intelligence, powered by ABBYY Timeline, enables hospitals, clinics and other healthcare providers to discover, understand and manage business process execution more effectively. It does this with end-to-end process visualization, customer journey visibility, intelligent document processing, greater efficiency, compliance risk management, continuous improvement, and cost reduction. Healthcare providers are using process mining to improve processes across a wide range of applications, including those outlined below.
1. Billing and revenue cycle management
Since the year 2000, more than $576 billion in hospital bills have gone uncompensated, according to the American Hospital Financial Association. This is partly due to the complexity of billing and collection processes, which requires a huge amount of time to recover payments using manual methods.
Using data that is already contained within healthcare systems, providers can build end-to-end digital models of their day-to-day processes and uncover opportunities for improvement. Ways to improve include automating debt collection, reducing bad debts, or carrying out continuous monitoring of patient treatments to reduce complaints and maximize revenues.
2. Emergency Departments
The average time taken to process a patient who arrives in the emergency department is three hours, which can be a stressful experience for everyone concerned. Each patient must be triaged, admitted if care needs to be given, assigned to the relevant healthcare professional, scheduled for X-rays or scans, and either given a hospital bed or discharged.
Providers can use process mining to build a comprehensive, realistic model of processes that includes variations and exceptions. This means providers can predict and prepare for busy times, reduce door-to-doctor time and eliminate the need to re-enter patient data for different processes.
3. Care Delivery
As the world becomes more consumer-orientated, patients expect more from their healthcare providers. Whether this means enabling a digital front door to services, offering more tailored correspondence, or just getting more out of their interactions with clinicians, patients want information at their fingertips and services on demand.
With process mining, providers can visualize patient experience from beginning to end, then introduce new or improved channels. These could include self-service portals or self-check-in kiosks, or better referrals, claims and diagnostics processes expedited by digital workers.
4. Patient Pathways
Standard patient pathways, whether through treatment programs or particular conditions, can be seen to be too rigid and formulaic, meeting administrative and operational needs rather than patients’ personal biological requirements. With process mining, providers can examine data sources to identify and explore common variants in how pathways are followed.
For example, providers can see where there have been side effects to a treatment plan according to age, gender or other variable, which will help to prevent the same problems happening in the future. Process mining can also be used to check that all of the steps built into a patient pathway have been followed, and what the consequences of missed stages in a pathway can be.
5. Integrated Care
Population health management and integrated care are increasing in international significance, and for good reason. The pandemic has demonstrated the importance of working together with other public services and sharing responsibility for people’s welfare and health outcomes.
Technology is widely seen as playing a critical role in the development of integrated care systems, helping to bring together disparate systems, processes and people. Process mining enables all parties in an integrated care system to identify where these are working well together, or where improvements need to be made.
Using intelligent automation, healthcare organizations have access to a software platform that can automate any business process, interacting with line-of-business applications run by all parties.
Accelerate Healthcare Automation with Process Mining
Enabling digital services, building the foundations for integrated care and ensuring financial sustainability are all central pillars to the modern healthcare system. And, as the industry continues to evolve, enhancing how patients experience care both individually and as a population is of utmost importance.
Without process mining, healthcare providers have innumerable sources of data and reports to help understand where improvements hide. It takes time and resources to analyze such vast stores of information — which are both in short supply in the healthcare business.
Process mining provides a fast track to improvement, informed by actual day-to-day information from IT systems used to run the organization and from other third parties that the provider is collaborating with as part of an integrated care system. In the meantime, it enables providers to tackle inefficiencies in everything from revenue protection to resource planning.
Find out more about process mining in healthcare, including extensive use cases and information about SS&C Blue Prism Process Intelligence powered by ABBYY Timeline.