Why Isn’t It Automated Already!?

Technology and automation have infiltrated nearly every industry, but in healthcare, many critical processes are still manual. Healthcare organizations have invested in many digital tools—EMRs, practice management systems, internal and external communication tools, websites, and (especially now due to COVID) telemedicine systems. However, many of these tools and the tasks healthcare professionals complete with them are still more manual and disjointed than they need to be. Intelligent Workflow Automation (IWA) can help. 

IWA can automate and standardize repetitive work between multiple systems to streamline your business processes, save time and money, and keep your patients and providers happier. This is especially crucial given that so many businesses—especially in healthcare—are now faced with difficult resourcing decisions with the need for budget cuts. The current climate puts a spotlight on the need to operate efficiently and manage costs in an unprecedented way.     

IWA technologies such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help healthcare organizations automate tasks that normally consume hours of staff time. Beyond time and cost efficiencies, IWA also give providers and staff more time to focus on patient care, thus improving care quality, provider career satisfaction, and patient satisfaction.  

If the benefits make IWA sound like a no-brainer, you may ask, why haven’t most facilities implemented it?   

One of the common barriers to full automation has been the misconception that the available tools are inadequate, or the processes too complex, to be candidates for full automation. The reality is that current tools are far more powerful than in years past,  and—when you partner with an experienced data automation specialist company —it’s never been more practical to automate processes.  

Micro-Office Systems has decades of data moving and automation experience and brings a deep set of cross-discipline expertise and automation tools to each project. One of the top specialized automation tools we use is known as RPA (Robotic Process Automation). 

What is Robotic Process Automation? 

Essentially, RPA imitates and automates the steps a user would perform within your existing systems and applications. Its power is that almost anything a user can do, the RPA tool can do. But RPA can also be slow compared to direct data access (DDA) tools. It also tends to require more maintenance relative to DDA, and therefore should be limited to the portion of the project that cannot be performed with DDA. MOS blends these techniques with many others, including rules-based workflow, and standards-based access such as HL7, CCDA, and others.  

What makes an Automation Project Successful?   

An important part of a successful automation project is to thoroughly understand all of the scenarios that occur. This requires developers with extensive experience to fully scope the project to ensure the full cost is anticipated up front. A thorough “process discovery” phase is critical to any automation project so that your development team understands the feasibility of the automation and selects the correct tool for the job.  

Additionally, it is vitally important not to take shortcuts when it comes to automating processes. It is tempting to focus mostly on the functionality, without incorporating error detection and logging. While this often gets a project live quickly, it becomes an ongoing maintenance nightmare. The stability aspects of a project can realistically represent 50% of the scope, but it will likely be far more than that if handled ad-hoc after the fact. 

Takeaway: 

Whether you are trying to streamline appointment scheduling, back-office posting, claims management, eligibility and authorizations, or other tasks, now is the time to take advantage of the efficiency and cost savings of Intelligent Workflow Automation.