Many industries are being transformed by automation, including healthcare. Automating healthcare can improve patient outcomes. With the help of innovation and advanced technology adoption, the healthcare system making more efficient. Sending patients reminder texts about upcoming appointments is one example of healthcare automation. In addition, accessing a database can allow automation to alert clinicians about known interactions and contraindications for drugs.
Let’s discuss the major benefits of automation in the healthcare system:
What does automation mean in healthcare?
It is important to distinguish between genuine automation and marketing ploys. Many vendors claim that their products and services offer some automation. However, this is not always true. A product requiring staff to start a sequence for it to work is not automation. This type of operation includes:
- Add a patient to a waiting list
- They are checked in and out
- Patients are required to use a new portal/site
A solution that runs in the background, rather than needing constant attention, is another good example of automation. A solution that works even when staff doesn’t know it is on is automatic. Automated solutions are also likely to be able to perform a task or at least complete a sequence.
A truly automated solution can start, run and finish without human intervention.
Is it the right time for healthcare automation?
Healthcare organizations often perform many tasks that could automated, which makes it difficult to decide which tasks to automate first. However, automation is often the best option for a process that takes so much time and rarely occurs.
Administrators often see staff members who use the waitlist to book appointments. However, it is not unusual for them to skip the waitlist completely due to the time required to maintain it. Therefore, it is important to remember that the task must be done correctly.
Many professionals make conscious decisions to avoid tasks that aren’t beneficial beyond the time required to complete them. Many organizations do not standardize appointment types because it is difficult to quantify the benefits.
When technology is available to improve upon an existing best practice, it can sometimes still benefit from automation. For example, Healthcare organizations’ schedulers and administrators have improved their workflows over time to increase efficiency and improve the patient experience. These workflows can be automated without actually changing the processes. Automated solutions should incorporate best practices from the manual process and still offer the benefits of automation.
8 Benefits of Healthcare Automation
Automating healthcare is changing the way we think about it. It allows us to achieve efficiencies that are impossible with manual processes. In addition, patients receive better care when staff is available from the burden of human-facing work. Here are some benefits of automation in healthcare.
- Easier Scheduling
Scheduling appointments manually can be difficult because of scheduling conflicts and the many rules that must be considered to ensure the patient is matched with the right provider. This task can be automated using appointment scheduling software, allowing healthcare organizations to cancel and schedule appointments more efficiently.
However, there are important things to consider for the software to efficiently and effectively manage your practice and your patients’ needs. For example, integrating with your EHR/PM platform will allow you to define the rules for scheduling so that patients and schedulers can make appointments easily.
Appointment reminder software can be similar. It can improve the patient experience by sending reminders to patients on time to prevent no-shows. The software can send out as many reminders as the practice needs to ensure patients arrive on time and complete all paperwork.
- Reduce Costs
Healthcare executives use automation solutions to reduce costs. This goal is achieved in many ways, including reduced overtime, increased efficiency, and fewer mistakes. Automating allows doctors to do more in their regular shifts, which reduces their stress levels. Healthcare facilities are no longer required to hire overtime staff due to this improvement in efficiency. It allows staff to concentrate on patient care, which results in fewer payouts for medical errors.
The best-in-class scheduling software can reduce onboarding and training costs. In addition, schedulers can automate rules that were previously difficult to manage with sticky notes, binders, or Excel spreadsheets. It is especially true for specialty groups. For example, a website that offers an easy-to-use online scheduling tool for patients can help reduce the cost of patient acquisition.
- Easy Access and Transfer of Data
Many hospitals are now automating patient data access and transfer. Automated solutions allow facilities to add patient data to a database after collecting it instantly. In addition, it allows facilities to share data easily between departments and other facilities. Automation is a great benefit, as data sharing is a significant challenge in healthcare.
When multiple departments are involved in a patient’s treatment, data transfers can cause bottlenecks in the treatment process. Automating allows all devices in a facility to be connected to the same network. It makes information accessible from any device. This ability saves time and reduces administrative overhead.
Cybersecurity and Infosecurity are essential for any information, particularly PII and patient data. To ensure compliance with HIPAA security standards, you will want to ensure your technology partners and solutions are properly certified.
- Reduce Errors
Automating a process can reduce error risk and make it more efficient by reducing the human element. Automating administrative processes can improve the efficiency of administrative operations and provide tools for diagnosing and treating patients.
It increases the likelihood of this happening by sharing data from multiple systems. It also gives you greater insight into these processes. Administrators can also use data from different sources to decrease wait times for surgeries or other appointments. In addition, healthcare facilities can use automation to provide services to a wider population or help patients find a better location.
- Handling Emergencies and Adapting to Change
Healthcare systems use machine learning (ML) to adjust staffing levels to respond to sudden patient volumes, particularly in emergency rooms. This automation feature can reduce waiting times for ambulatory care. In addition, by analyzing historical data, organizations can predict when they will need to hire more staff for the upcoming flu season.
Recent developments have seen practices adopt automation to respond to changes caused by the Covid-19 pandemic quickly. These include adjustments in social distancing or maximum occupancy capacities for buildings. Messaging solutions allowing staff and patients to communicate are another example of how automation can help healthcare facilities deal with changes in local guidelines. They also can handle emergencies or office closings more efficiently.
- Patients are more satisfied.
Patient satisfaction is affected by many factors, including the quality of the care received at the facility. Patients will be happy if they can easily schedule, check in, and complete appointments. Patient satisfaction also depends on how much time it takes to schedule an appointment. It includes the wait time and the time it takes to get there.
Organizations can automate healthcare processes to increase patient satisfaction and improve the patient experience in many ways. For example, they can use software to send patients a text message to reschedule appointments if they are unable or unwilling to make it.
Advanced scheduling software allows patients to schedule appointments from their mobile devices or computers anytime, even after hours. This self-scheduling software allows patients to view all available appointments and choose the most convenient time for them.
- Greater Privacy
Healthcare organizations must follow the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), as they are responsible for protecting patients’ Protected Health Information (PHI) and Personally Identifiable Information. Automated case management solutions help to ensure HIPAA compliance through configuring usage rights. For example, this function ensures that only authorized personnel can access PHI.
Related solutions offer HIPAA-compliant chat messaging. In addition, it uses a unique patient-specific link and authorization, which protects PHI from being misused.
- Schedule Patients Faster
Relating offers automated scheduling solutions that allow patients to schedule appointments online. This is much more convenient than calling the office directly. Patients can schedule appointments online using these solutions 24/7, from any device with internet access and a browser.
Patients can also specify additional details such as the purpose of the appointment, the type of appointment, and the time it will take. Patients can also use customizable filters to help them find the right providers. Patients can use the same rules and automated workflows that they used to have a scheduler book an appointment over the phone. This allows patients to control and ensure the appointment is with the right provider.
Healthcare automation is increasing in popularity, but it’s important to distinguish true automation from vendor claims. Automation is possible for many tasks in healthcare. It is important to identify the ones that will reap the greatest benefits. These benefits include lower costs and greater patient satisfaction. Staff can also be empowered to be more efficient.