How RPA is closing the gap between healthcare and technology – Med-Tech Innovation
Chris Duddridge, Area Vice President and General Manager UKI, UiPath, discusses the multiple ways automation is required to support the coronavirus response and the role technology needs to play in improving the health sector.
For the health sector, things have changed drastically in the past few months. In this time of heightened stress and anxiety, it is important that doctors and nurses have free time for patients wherever possible – not just now, but also in the future. Necessity is the birth of invention, as they say, and it has now opened the doors to health care for the tech industry wider than ever.
Given the pressures the global pandemic has put on healthcare systems, healthcare is now more closely interwoven with the technology sector than ever before. This is because the technology offers tremendous opportunities to simplify operations, free up frontline staff to improve patient care, and take the burden off hospitals and medical facilities as they continue to process large amounts of more routine patient data in addition to COVID-19-specific information.
This is where RPA – Robotic Process Automation – can be particularly helpful. RPA dramatically reduces the time required for repetitive and routine activities – from scheduling appointments, creating and reviewing patient accounts, to managing files, and inventory and test management.
Medical staff spend almost half of their time solving backlogs and doing administrative tasks on (often archaic) computer systems and other applications. RPA has been proven to pull the system administrators out of our doctors and nurses and release them as nurses. RPA also supports healthcare by leveraging the vast amount of data to improve the quality of information and make better medical decisions.
The Opportunities for RPA in Healthcare
The health sector, especially the NHS, has been demanding technological development for years – but this development has been held back by a variety of factors, including implementation costs, existing infrastructure and legacy systems. However, such a move could mean the difference between healthcare keeping pace with demographic shifts in the UK and moving up to being a provider for the technological age – or failing altogether.
After years of pressure and warnings that the healthcare system is becoming less and less able to cope with even routine demands, the recent staff shortage related to COVID-19 is now a major challenge for our healthcare system. Perhaps these warnings and considerations sparked the recent digital and automation technology adoption boom observed by analysts in a myriad of industries – from healthcare to insurance – as companies grapple with the challenges of COVID-19 and lockdown . This is because RPA can help increase operational growth and create a positive patient experience by increasing control and removing redundancies.
The results of RPA in healthcare
Recently, there have been and are several use cases where RPA has and does play a key role in improving patient care and improving surgeries.
Mater Hospital, Ireland
An automation project with the major Dublin hospital has provided medical staff with their own software robot to free nurses who deal with infection control, including COVID-19. These robots now do much of the administrative tasks related to patient tests and reports that nurses previously had to do, which means they can spend around 50% more time on the front lines with patients battling the coronavirus. The robots have also sped up the testing process for the virus, so patients can be informed of their diagnosis much faster, which will help fight the spread.
Cleveland Clinic, USA
Testing patients for COVID-19 in America has accelerated dramatically due to the protocol that requires a patient to be registered and test kits properly labeled. To meet the enormous demand, the Cleveland Clinic deployed a robot that can analyze and register patient data and correctly identify the required test kit. This process is completed in about 15 seconds.
Swiftqueue, the cloud-based healthcare planning platform, uses an unattended automation solution to connect the patient loyalty system to the multiple data storage systems that each hospital uses. Implemented in Ireland, the UK, the US and Canada, the platform is increasingly used to schedule patients for multiple outpatient and diagnostic clinic appointments. This means enormous savings in many countries where hospital appointments are still arranged by post and patients are only able to reschedule over the phone. In Ireland, for example, hospitals spend EUR 2.25 for each appointment, while a digitized approach is only EUR 0.45.
Another critical aspect of this UiPath and Swiftqeue partnership is that once the pandemic subsides, software robots will greatly reduce the time it takes for hospitals in the UK and Ireland to process a large backlog of patient appointments not related to COVID-19 Control is.
Other examples of customers using automation to respond to drastic shifts in demand – with COVID-19 being the catalyst – are also being observed.
The future of RPA in healthcare
As patient numbers rise – and with the lockdown, as healthcare providers try to get back to normal – these organizations will continue to face challenges with managing inventory, helping digitization of patient records, and scheduling that To optimize the processing of applications or the processing of claims. The health care sector is predicted to have a potential for automation of 36%, which means that more than a third of health tasks – especially management and back office functions – could be automated so that health care providers can offer more direct, value-based patient care at lower cost and increased efficiency .
Automation offers great potential for improving the quality of health and patient care. Any task or process that is repetitive, time-consuming, requires little decision-making, or does not have human interaction suitable for automation. In short, many of the tasks that family doctor offices, hospitals, and walk-in centers do on a daily basis can be automated to free up resources for the delivery of frontline health services.
Now, more than ever, we need to redouble our efforts to support the people and services who give so much back to all of us. We are so grateful that we have health systems across the UK and Ireland. Your preservation and support is of the utmost importance to all of us. I firmly believe that RPA and automation are doing their part to restore the balance between nursing and administrative work, and I am confident that we will continue to increase our contribution as more health services partner with UiPath to find out where we are to be able to help .