Overview of Robotic Process Automation in the Healthcare Industry

According to a report published by the United States Census Bureau in 2016, a new demographic trend has emerged. By 2020, people over the age of 65 will outnumber children under 5. And by 2050, the percentage of people 65 and over will be more than twice the percentage of young children. This so-called “demographic earthquake” is expected to start taking effect on the global labour market.

This means, among others, that the number of people who need medical assistance is also on the rise. The healthcare industry must find the resources to adapt to this new demographic trend. Robotic process automation in healthcare should thus be taken full advantage of, in the attempt to provide adequate medical care to a larger number of people.

The positive effects of automation in the healthcare industry extend beyond this aspect. Additionally, it can make a significant contribution to cutting down costs and to providing better customer care. It is important to note that these are precisely the healthcare priorities mentioned by three quarters of hospital CEOs, according to a HealthLeaders report from 2013.

The benefits of using robotic process automation to streamline processes is not anything new, while that between streamlined processes, efficiency and reduced costs is commonsensical. If you think about the expected growth of 6.5% for health care costs, according to UiPath, and about the fact that aKPMG study shows that robotic process automation can increase savings up to 50%, then you should definitely consider the capacity of automation to bolster cost reduction.

One other way that RPA might contribute to savings is by more accurately identifying the health care claims that do not meet the requirements (around 30–40%, according to the abovementioned study), and thus recovering a lot of money that might have otherwise gone unpaid.

Moreover, if back-office, routine tasks are passed on to software robots, this would allow doctors to use their human skills in order to better address their patients’ needs instead of filling in consistently names, dates and addresses. Robotic process automation might facilitate customer service in health care.

According to the statistics available in McKinsey Quarterly, 36% of the healthcare tasks — mostly, managerial and back-office — are amenable to automation. So let us now lay out these growth and efficiency opportunities that robotic process automation could bring to healthcare.

Robotic Process Automation in healthcare means increased operational efficiency

The benefits of robotic process automation in healthcare mean increased operational efficiency, productivity and cost-savviness. In fact, there is more than this quantitative approach to the issue; we should not forget the qualitative dimension of RPA in healthcare. For instance, Peter B. Nichol also makes the point that “the conversation has expanded beyond cost reduction to quality, engagement, and innovation”. But let us first spell out the basics, with our eyes on data from the HfS Blueprint Report.

1. The KPMG report we mentioned earlier advocates a large scope of RPA use for the whole of a hospital’s revenue cycle because of the suitability of automation for structured data, with specified parameter sets. The revenue cycle includes administrative and clinical functions necessary for the management of patients’ accounts, from preregistration to bill payment.

Functions of the revenue cycle such as new patient appointment requests, patient pre-arrival and arrival, or claim denials are particularly well suited for automation. Just think about how costly errors like faulty data entries may be! So then why not go for an error-free partner, like RPA promises to be? More, RPA can facilitate compliance with the large number of healthcare regulations, which is vital when dealing with claims denials.

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