Back in 2015 Everest Group reported potential cost reductions using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) of 35-65% and investment recovery is as little as 6-9 months. Roll forward to today and we are seeing real world examples in health that are exceeding even these expectations. RPA isn’t a new paradigm and contrary to some views regarding job losses, it is actually making existing workforces more productive, while improving job satisfaction.
At the forefront of this success story is Darren Atkins (Deputy Director of ICT) and his team at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT). Having embraced RPA initially to solve a business payment processing challenge, the service has gone on to give employees back over 2000 hours productivity time in just one month.
ESNEFT’s virtual robots have helped Darren and his team tackle wasted outpatient appointments - Did Not Attend (DNA) situations have an estimated cost in Colchester of £160 per appointment. DNA’s - in the hundreds every week - wastes not only money but a lot of staff time rescheduling these appointments. Applying RPA to automate the process of notifying and rescheduling outpatient appointments saved more than £48,000 in its first week with an expected annual saving of £2.1 million in the first year. Full story here.
This is just one of many use cases that are being tackled to give back time, drive efficiency and improve patient outcomes in the health service. Intelligent Automation vendor Thoughtonomy®, has recently released a Healthcare Automation eBook that provides an excellent introduction into intelligent process automation for health care professionals, and examples of seven use cases where quantifiable and qualitative benefits can be achieved.
1. This informative eBook expands on the following examples:Forms, admissions, transfers and discharge
The eBook features insurance forms as the example which has greater application in the U.S. but is still applicable in the U.K. At PSTG, we are seeing demand for streamlining the administrative process for staff and clinicians across the patient admission and discharge journey. Often these are repetitive tasks that once automated would give back time to be invested in better patient care.
2. Patient Referrals
Referring patients between hospitals and healthcare providers is a time consuming and costly process. Patient care is also affected by the time it can take to process referrals across multiple departments and systems. Intelligent Automation examples demonstrate an 80% reduction in the time it can take to process patient referrals giving back time to both frontline and back office staff.
3. Information Sharing and Supplier Integration
Healthcare providers working with government agencies, suppliers and partners have a need to accurately and securely share information across systems. When dealing with emergencies and urgent care needs, rapid and accurate sharing of information is essential. Intelligent Automation can be used to process information across systems rapidly and accurately delivering higher level of security in care while automating compliance with data protection regulations.
4. Frontline Staff Support
Improving patient care is helped by giving front line medical staff more time with patients and less time on data processing and patient transfer. Replication of information when filling out forms, time elapsed between patient visits, as well as emergency interruptions, all impact the time it takes to accurately and safely deal with the administrative burden of front-line staff. Intelligent Automation can give time back where it really matters, improving patient outcomes and delivering a more rewarding environment for staff.
5. Medical Coding
Analysing clinical statements and then assigning a standard code for a procedure or diagnosis is a time consuming and often complex activity that can vary depending on how information in interpreted. With the developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Intelligent Automation can now be taught to process clinical coding with a high degree of accuracy reducing the number of complex coding cases that require human professionals to complete. This can accelerate the time it takes to process patients and help to reduce or remove a bottle neck in patient care.
Healthcare professionals have impressively low absence rates, but staff absence is unfortunately inevitable. Lost productivity and temporary staff have a negative impact on operations and can create an administrative burden for HR and impacted departments. Innovative healthcare providers have used Intelligent Automation to connect hospitals and suppliers to fill gaps on demand and reduce the impact of absence across front line and back office operations.
7. Did Not Attend (DNA)
Cited at the start of this blog, clear savings and productivity benefits have been realised in applying Intelligent Automation to outpatient appointments. The activity of reminding patients of appointments, following up and rescheduling at short notice can all be digitised, saving money and delivering a better patient experience. Leveraging multiple communication channels such text, web chat and email, coupled with AI and language translation, can also greatly improve patient experience as well.
If you’re a healthcare professional, or a professional in any organisation looking for information on RPA and Intelligent Automation the Thoughtonomy Healthcare Automation eBook is a great resource to start or continue your automation journey.
RPA and Intelligent Automation can be an essential asset in any organisation, rapidly enabling digital transformation without the need to rewrite systems or processes. This simplified means of gaining the benefits of digital transformation can be applied rapidly and with low risk if planned and delivered correctly. As with all high value initiatives it is worth doing your homework and finding experienced peers, vendors and suppliers who can help avoid the potential pitfalls and accelerate benefit realisation.
For more information on Darren Atkins and the great work he and his team are involved in take a look at Darren’s LinkedIn profile here.
If you’d like to have an initial discussion about how RPA could help your organisation please give us a call on 0203 907 9500 or email me directly, email@example.com.
About Mark Barrett
Mark is the Commercial Director at PSTG and has been working with organisations on desktop, DC and business transformation projects for over 25 years. Having worked for some of the largest technology companies both locally and globally, Mark is now applying this experience to working with companies to drive efficiencies and improve experiences through digital transformation.