Automation: From a Nice-to-Have to a Necessity in Healthcare’s Digital Transformation

Intelligent automation like robotic process automation (RPA), machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) have the power to shift employees from data routers to critical-thinking humans, with newfound capacity for high-value tasks and patient care that demands a human touch.

Healthcare organizations understand how automation can irreversibly change how they work. In 2020, 90% of hospitals and health systems implemented an AI and automation strategy, up from 53% in 2019. With heightening pressures to cut costs, increase efficiency and facilitate a better patient experience, intelligent automation is critical for the business of healthcare and care delivery.

Over the past year healthcare employees, both on the frontline and in back offices, worked relentlessly to manage essential work. Despite the urgency to operate at peak efficiency, manual processes and siloed technologies still hindered organizations. To alleviate this, automation has moved from a nice-to-have to necessary. It’s time to ask “how will intelligent automation impact the business and execution of healthcare?”

The Human-Machine Collaboration

How work is completed in conjunction with humans and technology signals a far-reaching change in the future of work. A 2017 analysis found 36% of the activities employees perform in healthcare could be automated.

The rapid adoption of AI and automation in healthcare shows that automation will not replace entire jobs, but only certain tasks. By introducing human-machine collaboration, employees can upskill and specialize, boosting morale and productivity by eliminating manual, repeatable processes.

Here are a few ways we’re helping clients leverage human-machine collaboration:

  • Reduced member registration time from 7 days to 5 minutes and enabled a 66% reduction in time to set up new products for +5M members
  • Delivered +30% cost savings, +90% improvement in turnaround time and increased productivity by 70% for a leading health plan
  • Automated 45+ processes with an annual ROI of $2.10 million for a large healthcare provider
  • Decreased claims turnaround time from 5 to 2 days for a BCBS health plan
  • Reduced turnaround time for Pre-Authorization by 60% for a health system

By investing in technology to augment employees, organizations can maximize their entire workforce. Executing these operational efficiencies is imperative to upend outdated processes.

The ROI of Automation

Improving employee efficacy with automation will minimize dependency on manual skill sets, especially healthcare domain expertise. The diversification of skill sets for employees, especially for nuanced tasks, will help organizations at a macro level while assisting employees in their day-to-day. By augmenting our human workforces with automation, healthcare can enable faster go-to-market, reduced costs, increased margins and provide better patient care. 

As a necessity in healthcare’s digital transformation, it’s time for organizations to embrace automation, integrating it into their strategy and deploying it with scalability. While automation readiness varies by organization, building a holistic digital transformation strategy can help prioritize investments in automation based on impact and business needs.

Healthcare, Powered by Automation

Scaling automation is no easy feat. Key challenges include a lack of clarity on business cases, proof points for ROI, long, expensive implementation and a lack of success stories driving demand for automation. 

However, healthcare players understand the limitations of their existing systems and recognize how automation can enhance the customer experience, increase revenue and improve operations. Making automation a central component to the future of work and the future of healthcare itself. From employee to patient to payer, the ripple effect of automation can eliminate the manual, outdated processes that burden the entire system. 

Today, most organizations begin implementing automation with the most basic of technologies, RPA. When deployed at scale to various workflows, organizations quickly comprehend the ROI because employee capacity is improved while simultaneously reducing errors and costs without disrupting the technologies and IT systems already in place.

The Future of Healthcare is Automation at Scale 

For forward-thinking leaders, improving the business and execution of healthcare needs to be top of mind to meet today and tomorrow’s challenges. More importantly, healthcare needs solutions built specifically for the unique complexities of our industry. 

From personal discussions with more than 80 customers, only 40% have initiated their automation journey. For many, a lack of clarity on business cases and ROI has left them hesitant to extend initiatives while others simply don’t know where to start. 

Having developed solutions for more than 20 customers, our Automation practice understands the entire healthcare landscape. We’ve turned this knowledge into our ideation framework that includes a business library of 400+ automation use cases for customers to review and adopt the right fit for their business needs. 


automation use cases for customers

For customers with little to no automation in place, our automation lab-based approach includes a setup strategy, technology selections and an execution roadmap. For customers en route on their automation journey, our scalable engagement model transforms businesses and scales automation for success. 

With Emids, you have a partner that understands healthcare and how to integrate solutions across the enterprise for maximum impact. To learn more about our solutions, contact us.

Krishna Prasad B is the Automation practice leader for Emids. He is a thought leader in the automation space with 17 years of strong consulting and delivery experience. He has played a key role in successfully implementing automation for multiple businesses and IT organizations to achieve desired goals. Connect with Krishna Prasad on LinkedIn.

Sign up to receive our latest insights