Unlike some of the other industries we’ve focused on, healthcare isn’t exactly one of those fields that’s “ripe for robotic process automation.” Most major hospitals and healthcare providers these days are transitioning to massive record management systems and ditching their legacy systems entirely. But don’t be so quick to dismiss robotic process automation (RPA) from its place in healthcare.
You’ve got to think beyond the obvious when considering how automation can make a difference in the business of healthcare. While it can help navigate patient record systems if that’s what you need, also consider some of the following uses:
Data migration: Depending on the software chosen for a hospital or clinic network’s integrated charting tech, you may need some extra “hands” transferring the data from the legacy system to the new one. If you have the huge task of digitizing and uploading patient records from paper in order to bring everything up to date, that’s all the more reason to explore RPA. With proper scanning equipment, RPA can read and accurately sort documents however you desire. And remember, you don’t have to be updating everything at once – RPA works in the background and can retrieve files whenever you need.
Lab work: Whenever a patient needs blood work done or a scan performed, it’s the job of the clinical lab technicians. The only part of their behind-the-scenes work that ends up on a patient’s chart is their results, but there is a great deal of lab work that can be automated. This applies beyond healthcare into academic and research labs as well, but because of the sheer volume of tests run in a hospital, it’s worth looking into RPA.
The business side: As much as healthcare is about helping people who are sick, it’s also a colossal employee structure. And those employees (doctors, nurses, lab technicians, custodians, etc.) all have to be paid and taken care of. Human resources and finance & accounting in any business have processes that are straightforward and rule-based, such as employee on-boarding/off-boarding, invoicing, and payroll. These could be given to RPA robots to carry out instead of taking valuable employee time. Even if some automation is already in place, keep in mind that RPA can work across systems and software.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, the number of patients being treated at clinics is likely to rise in the U.S. Even if these visits are just regular check-ups, it means that doctors and nurses have to be even more efficient than they are now. Perhaps RPA can smooth out some of those routine processes and make everyone’s work a little easier.