The future of healthcare relies on removing the robot from the human to focus on what matters most – the patient experience and mission-critical work of delivering care. Administrative processes are the backbone of healthcare operations, but they’re inefficient, error-prone, and limit employee capacity.

No industry stands to experience more return on investment from automation than healthcare. The familiar myth of robots stealing jobs is highly exaggerated, as the primary benefit of automation is not headcount reduction, but the ability to reassemble redundant tasks for maximum productivity. It’s true, intelligent automation will reconfigure our jobs from the mundane, time consuming tasks, but that’s exactly what’s needed in healthcare.

Intelligent automation creates opportunities to make the industry more efficient and productive, adding value in the form of operational savings, compliance and risk management. Making intelligent automation healthcare’s new essential coworker for the digital age.

Reshaping Healthcare

Intelligent automation is reshaping how patients access care, diverging avenues providers deliver care through and positively affecting health outcomes. Intelligent automation adds capabilities to existing processes amplifying the value of every resource within an organization, including data and human expertise. Intelligent automation includes:

  • Big data and analytics – As more data becomes readily available, organizations need platforms that store, manage and analyze data to extract actionable insights from multiple sources—regardless of the format.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) – AI can be harnessed to make sense of mass volumes of health data, 80% of which is unstructured. Through natural language processing, machine learning and deep learning, you can build solutions that can enhance care, predict behavior and optimize efficiency of clinical and nonclinical workflows.
  • Robotic process automation (RPA) – The automation of repetitive tasks such as claims processing can swiftly reduce manual processing costs by up to 80%. KPMG found RPA solutions cut costs for financial services by up to 75%, with payback varying between several months and several years.
  • Virtual Agents – Virtual agents drive tangible value by handling specific business tasks through natural language processing (NLP) and AI technologies. Virtual agents can be used across a broad scope of scenarios, including sales, customer service and employee engagements.

Intelligent automation improves the capacity, cost, quality and consistency of care, working alongside employees to decrease manual effort and speed up the administrative processes weighing down healthcare. A recent study by Oracle and Future Workplace reveals how artificial intelligence is redefining the way people view work. According to respondents, emerging technologies will help them master new skills (36%), gain more free time (36%) and expand their current role so that it’s more strategic (28%).

Moving forward, healthcare’s potential for progress hinges on intelligent automation initiatives that save and optimize capital assets. In the same way digital home and ride-sharing services have grown exponentially to disrupt travel and transportation industries, the same digital disruption can be anticipated for healthcare.

Why now?

How work is completed in combination with human and emerging technologies implies a far-reaching change in the future of work. Reducing friction, personalizing experiences to diverse patient populations and clinical workflows and pursuing interoperability is essential to long-term digital transformation in healthcare. Here are a few ways our digital coworkers are positively upending outdated processes and improving healthcare for all:

  • For a leading health plan, we identified business critical processes and established a governance model with seven process transformation bots. This enabled approximately one million new member population flow in a record three days. This led to 95% member retention from an earlier 5% and potential annual savings of $750k.
  • For a BCBS health plan, we identified 250 processes to create a factory model with 15 bots, resulting in 80% reduction in operational effort.
  • For TeamHealth services, we automated 20 processes across four business areas to improve operational efficiency by 80% and annualized over two million in savings.
  • For the Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island we automated 18 processes in a 14-month period, realizing one million in savings with 100% accuracy in authorization data entry and improving efficiency across HR processes by 200%.

McKinsey looked across industries and found companies automating 50-70% of tasks could see 20-35% annual run-rate cost efficiencies, resulting in ROI in triple-digit percentages. As we journey toward the future of healthcare, the potential for intelligent automation is enormous. Organizations should prioritize which intelligent automation solutions generate the highest ROI in alignment with strategic goals such as increasing operational savings, improving patient experience or reducing provider burnout.

Getting Started with Intelligent Automation

As a leading provider of digital transformation solutions to the healthcare industry, emids has unparalleled experience with the delivery of intelligent automation solutions, transforming operations while simultaneously optimizing the performance and potential of people. Creating a sustainable digital transformation requires a well-designed strategic digital plan tied to advanced technology-enabled solutions. We believe the three steps to maximize ROI when deploying intelligent automation tools are:

1. Process Discovery – Intelligent identification of the automation processes with a data driven ROI analysis of end-to-end opportunities.

2. Scaling up Automation – Leverage the right automation operating model to accelerate implementation through agile, design thinking and a bot-centric approach.

3. Set a Path for Intelligent Automation – A detailed roadmap for deploying digital initiatives, incorporating self-learning to allow automation to perform better over time.

Effectively automating healthcare workflows requires a holistic approach to digital transformation and true partnership. In our latest webinar, experts from emids, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island and TeamHealth discussed where to begin your journey and why RPA is the digital solution that delivers savings while simultaneously improving the effectiveness and efficiency of your organization. There has never been a more prominent time for healthcare to set a path for intelligent automation, which can be purposely designed to capitalize on – and accelerate – digital transformation.

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 business and IT organizations to achieve desired goals. Connect with Krishna Prasad on LinkedIn.