Where to Use RPA in Healthcare

In the healthcare industry, patient care is the top priority. Delivering life-saving care requires precision and accuracy. Excellent care involves not only the direct interaction between healthcare professionals and patients but also relies heavily on effective administrative support in the back office. 

Fortunately, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) offers a solution. RPA can automate time-consuming, high-volume, or repetitive tasks, assuring that your systems are consistently accurate and up to date, while allowing your team members to work at the top of their licenses.

In this article, we’ll explore four key areas of healthcare automation that can revolutionize your operations and outcomes.

Administrative Support

Administrative tasks play a crucial role in ensuring smooth operations, streamlining processes, and optimizing resources for healthcare systems. Even small errors can quickly escalate into significant problems if not identified and rectified promptly. Managing the revenue cycle, working with insurance companies, inputting patient data, and coordinating the clinical and administrative aspects of the business all demand substantial time and effort.

RPA allows you to automate these tasks so they can be completed quicker and with greater accuracy, reducing inefficiencies and promoting patient satisfaction. When you streamline healthcare processes, such as easy patient onboarding, reduced wait times for patient appointments, and efficient billing procedures, you can significantly improve the overall patient experience.

Revenue Cycle

The healthcare revenue cycle is a complex machine that requires 100% accuracy at every stage. Any errors can disrupt the payment process, which means your organization doesn’t get paid. 

In addition to prioritizing accuracy, the revenue cycle often becomes time-consuming, involving extensive coordination with payers, invoice generation, and payment tracking. Failure to streamline these processes can lead to significant administrative costs. However, RPA offers some valuable avenues for optimizing revenue cycle management:

  1. Streamlining patient collections: RPA minimizes the burden of manual tasks by automating invoice creation after insurance adjustments and monitoring payments from patients. 
  2. Charge capture and coding: Avoiding billing errors that result in delayed payments is crucial for a seamless revenue cycle. RPA can aggregate data from multiple coding vendors, ensuring you have the most accurate insights into your revenue.
  3. Prior authorization: Your software can automatically generate and submit requests to insurance companies by leveraging patient health records, expediting the authorization process.
  4. Eligibility verification: RPA bots can review patient policy information and insurance provider websites, promptly determining the services patients are eligible for.
  5. Claim denials: RPA enables automation of claim denial reviews, facilitating adjustments based on reported errors, and can resubmit claims.
  6. Payment tracking: RPA can efficiently track payment status from payers and automatically generate invoices or receipts for patients after the insurance payments are posted.

By automating these manual tasks, you can increase the amount of money you collect from insurance payers and see exactly how much you’re saving by implementing these automated processes.

Patient Data Entry

The healthcare industry relies heavily on data, but there is often a lack of intelligent methods to integrate it into existing workflows. As a result, physicians and nurses end up spending twice as much time entering data as they do with their patients, leading to widespread burnout in the industry. 

Relying on a full-time staff to handle data entry is time-consuming, error-prone, and inefficient, especially considering the high volume of incoming data in healthcare settings. Fortunately, RPA can integrate disparate systems (or even paper forms) into a single unified workflow.

For example, if your staff needs to extract information from intake forms or electronic health records (EHRs) and input it into a patient management system, this process can be incredibly time-consuming and result in backlogs.

RPA can scan various sources, extract the necessary data, and automatically input it into the patient records within your healthcare management system. Unlike humans, RPA can operate 24/7, significantly increasing the volume of assessed data each day and preventing backlogs that slow down other crucial processes like the revenue cycle. 

Using RPA, we helped one healthcare company clear a 19 million data point backlog. Read our case study.

Through the integration of disparate systems and automating paper-based processes, RPA enhances workflow efficiency. Tasks that once required manual intervention, such as data transfer between systems or reconciliation of information from different sources, can now be automated. This integration improves efficiency, reduces the risk of human errors, and enhances overall workflow management.

Additionally, RPA can be utilized to digitize paper or fax forms by leveraging optical character recognition (OCR) technology. Software robots can extract relevant data from physical documents and input it into electronic systems, eliminating the need for manual data entry and streamlining the handling of paper forms.

By automating tasks across multiple systems, RPA eliminates the need for manual entry or redundant effort. Software robots can retrieve data from various sources, including EHRs, billing systems, and databases, consolidating the information into a single workflow. This integration improves the flow of information, reduces the chances of data discrepancies, and accelerates overall processes.

Appointment Scheduling

Appointment scheduling is an important part of any healthcare business. It’s how you ensure you’re providing the best care and tracking the services you bill for. However, inefficient scheduling processes can lead to various challenges, such as:

  • Increased administrative costs to keep full or part-time employees solely dedicated to managing client scheduling and appointments.
  • Decreased productivity if your full-time employees have to spend more time on scheduling than on core responsibilities such as revenue cycle management.
  • Wasted resources when patients miss appointments or cancel last minute and your staff is left at loose ends.

RPA can effectively address these issues to ensure your healthcare organization is running as efficiently as possible with minimal administrative costs. RPA offers automation for patient scheduling and rescheduling, eligibility verification, appointment reminders, and coordinating provider schedules.

Automating these tasks enables administrative staff to be more productive and clinical staff can maximize their time in patient care. 

As we consider the preferences of millennials and Gen Z for digital experiences in healthcare, offering automated appointment scheduling becomes almost essential. In fact, according to a survey done by Accenture, 77% of millennials are interested in using digital health services, including the ability to book appointments online or through mobile apps. 

Salesforce’s 2019 Connected Patient Report found that 68% of millennials and 60% of Gen Z patients expect their healthcare providers to offer online patient portals for scheduling appointments and accessing medical records. These statistics highlight the growing demand for digital experiences in healthcare scheduling, and RPA can make this a seamless experience for both the patient and the provider.

It’s Time to Automate

Ninety percent of large healthcare organizations are already using RPA solutions in their businesses. A 2020 report by Grand View Research, they projected significant growth in the adoption of RPA in the healthcare industry, driven by the need for process optimization, cost reduction, and improved operation efficiency.

If you aren’t using RPA, you’re losing too much time and risking too many errors. It’s time to automate your healthcare business so your staff can focus on the big picture and you can provide a better patient experience. 

We have a team of on-shore, certified software developers with experience building automations for healthcare businesses. Schedule a call with us to see how we can help you address the most pressing issues in your healthcare organization.

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