What does automation in the healthcare sector look like? Is it a fad, or can it save lives? Let’s explore the different ways it transforms the industry.
When talking about the areas in need of software development, healthcare rarely comes up in the discussion. Is it justified, or is there room for innovation? If considering the specifics of the field, automation is potentially the most life-saving type of technological solution. That is a bold claim. We realize that, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
The Need for Automation
Healthcare seems like the field that requires and somewhat relies on the individual approach. Automation is often perceived as impersonal and emotionless. In reality, if adopted as a standard, it might just have the opposite effect. It largely depends on what you’re planning on automating.
Let’s look at the average daily responsibilities of a nurse. It involves way more than attending to the sick. They respond to phone calls, maintain the patient data, aid in booking appointments, and all that added on top of actually treating people. Most of these processes are easily automatable. By doing so, it makes the already extremely stressful job of a nurse much easier. In turn, the patients get more and higher quality care, and the staff burnout becomes less of a factor.
This example perfectly illustrates the two main benefits of automation. First is raising employees’ efficiency, and second, transforming the repetitive admin work into background processes. Anyone working in the healthcare sector would agree that it involves tons of compliance. While undoubtedly necessary, it often stands in the way of actually helping people. Automation solves that issue.
What about the other benefits of automation? Among the less talked about ones is the ecological aspect. Eliminating pen and paper worksheets with everything attached to it also reduces your waste, making you more environmentally friendly. Referral management solutions are working on reducing waste by eliminating manual faxes.
The emergence and widespread adoption of artificial intelligence haven’t been passed on to healthcare, with other industries raising the bar of this practice’s convenience and efficiency. Like doctors prescribe drugs to treat people, AI provides accurate prescriptive analytics to help healthcare organizations work.
Ways to Automate Healthcare
Based on the information from the previous section, we’ve established four main challenges the healthcare industry currently faces:
- Nonoptimal workflow
- Insufficient data integrity
- Privacy issues
- Lacking communication
First, let’s look at how these problems can be solved on a smaller scale—for example, one single medical facility.
Smart appointment scheduling is the most obvious operation that can be easily automated. By providing an online booking solution, you don’t just make the workflow of your staff easier. You also eliminate the hassle and improve the experience of patients. In the emergency rooms where you cannot waste time on paperwork and formalities, automation allows you to set your priorities where they matter most – patients’ treatment.
The same goes for every task that involves data entry or search. Electronic health records updated in real-time is another great example. Having all the important data about a patient on one convenient screen is simply efficient. This type of automation streamlines entire processes and eliminates unnecessary manual operations from patient intake forms to receipts.
Managing prescriptions also becomes easier. The days of trying to decipher a doctor’s note are long gone. The digital records log the history and track the usage of controlled substances making the process less difficult for both the doctor and the patient.
Speaking of finances, this area is greatly aided by enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Organized billing, detailed reports, and data analytics are among the variety of features you can take advantage of. Here you can learn more about this field of enterprise software.
One of the things you can expect to become more prevalent in the healthcare sector is artificial intelligence. For example, by recognizing the flu cases’ frequency patterns, the prescriptive analysis may even recommend adjustments in staff deployment. This is done by assessing the high-risk segment of patients and offering a proactive solution. The more data machine learning systems have access to, the more accurate information they offer. These insights are always accessible as well.
One of the more intriguing applications of automation technology is the NLP bots. NLP stands for natural language processing. Whenever a patient describes their symptoms to a general practitioner, it processes and logs the dialogue in real-time. that way, the quality of conversation improves. At the same time, nothing informative is lost to human memory. These records are then used in the decision-making process to offer the patient proper treatment.
The compliance offered by the healthcare workflow automation also ensures the safety and privacy of sensitive information. By it being stored in a data warehouse, only people with proper access can retrieve it. Minimizing human interaction with such data as patient records and payment details is essential to mitigate its leaked risks. This also makes transfers of patients from one facility to another smoother.
On the larger scale of healthcare enterprises overall, it is just as useful. Drug discovery, testing, and production all benefit from automation. AI-based design hypothesis and feedback analysis are among the new ways chemical compounds are optimized. It solves the problem of the growing costs for innovation in the healthcare field.
Brief Overview of the Three Main Benefits
No Wasted Time
Time is a precious resource. As we have mentioned, automating processes such as compliance maintenance, manual data entry, or payment processing allows you to reallocate your personnel’s time. There are always more pressing matters to attend to instead of searching the folders for some record. Online appointment booking saves time for patients as well.
Better Experience for Everyone
This goes hand in hand with the previous point. With many extra tasks being eliminated from the workflow of medical workers, the chance of burning out substantially falls. The convenience introduced by software makes going for check-ups, such as less of a hassle for patients.
Safety and Transparency
Transparency of the workflow processes decreases the chances of abuse. Centralized and consolidated records are safely stored in a database. Proactive analytics of the patients’ general health patterns allows staff to adjust their processes in case of outbreaks and epidemics. Also, it allows offering individuals at high-risk extra care on time.
As you can see, this industry’s innovation is not limited to just new tech or the discovery of new drugs. It also streamlines and perfects the existing processes of the medical facilities and healthcare as a whole with software.
Overall, automation in the healthcare sector is largely similar to other industries. By aiming at eliminating monotonous and repetitive tasks, it allows the medical workers to focus more on the most important task – treating people. That makes automation in this field even more crucial.