7 Ways Automation is Boosting Healthcare and Improving Patient Outcomes

Technology has allowed businesses to automate their manual processes and healthcare is the latest addition to the automation bandwagon.

Automation in healthcare comes with its own set of challenges with stringent data protection and compliance requirements. However, the benefits that it offers far outweigh the challenges.

According to a recent report, the greater use of automated systems to help patients recover better after operations, thereby saving the NHS £100 million over a one year period.

Automation can help healthcare organizations cater better to their patient needs while keeping the ever-rising healthcare costs in check. Here are 7 ways in which automation in healthcare is proving to be effective in the healthcare segment

1. Streamlined Appointment Scheduling

Healthcare professionals end up spending a huge chunk of their time in completing administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments and managing follow-ups. Using an appointment scheduling system can take the pressure off them and automate the appointment registration process.

Using technology for streamlining scheduling of appointments can also result in appointment turnout optimization. Several variables can be included in the patient’s appointment requests like medical histories, the current and differential diagnosis, insurance carriers, etc.

Taking the patient preferences into consideration at the time of scheduling can help healthcare providers closely match patients with their ideal preferences, thus boosting the turnout rates and improving the overall efficiency at the same time.

2. Boosting Patient Engagement

Automation has the potential to change the clinical paradigm through patient engagement. Automation can blend into the clinical workflows to make a wide range of care delivery processes much more efficient and improve  overall productivity. Automated check-ins and reminders can give a big boost to patient engagement thus improving the health outcomes.

The patients today are more techno-savvy than ever before and expect technology to cater to their healthcare needs as well.

The use of custom-developed patient engagement solutions for things like automating the drug reminders through mobile apps or scheduling telemedicine follow up appointments virtually can ramp up the levels of patient engagement.

3. Improved Quality and Consistency

Any form of error has no place when it comes to delivering care. Automation removes the margin of human error and automation can expel inaccuracies from the healthcare delivery system thus improving the patient outcomes.

A Texas hospital study found that greater automation in the areas of medical records, order entry, and decision support systems was directly linked to a reduction in deaths, complications, and cost.

Centralized records and EHRs simplify administrative work like patient indexing, data entry, employee tasks, patient progress, and medical history. The use of technology such as artificial intelligence and natural language processing (NLP) can automate the manual entry of patient data into the EHRs and make way for auto updating of patient records.

Increased progress in the smart device technology and advances in the field of Internet of medical things (IoMT) can automate the collection of patient vitals and feed them directly to the EHRs. This removes the need for manual input of patient data into the health records and frees up valuable time of the healthcare provider which can then be utilized elsewhere.

4. Increased Clinical Efficiency and Compliance

One of the most time-consuming processes for physicians is the ordering process within the EHR. While EHRs have made access to data and its sharing more streamlined, it takes multiple clicks for the physician to complete an order. Predictive technologies and AI can make a real impact to boost clinical efficiency.

Healthcare IT automation provisions for timely follow-ups, close patient monitoring, automated reminders and billing cycle, and streamlined compliance to regulations.

Medical and healthcare facilities deal with PHI (Protected Health Information) of patients. They must strictly adhere to the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulation rules. Automating the data and case management ensures the necessary compliance.

The workflows can be suitably configured and usage rights pre-decided to ensure stringent data accessibility protocols. Thus, only the approved healthcare professionals have the authority to access patient-related details.

5. Optimum Use of Resources

The traditional manual processes like the use of paper and spreadsheets and other workarounds can be extremely wasteful. Healthcare organizations can achieve a significant cost reduction and time savings with the use of electronic prescriptions. The digital platform reduces the use of paper and saves related costs and time.

While EHRs have become mainstream, storage of data on the cloud servers is going to be the new normal as well. Use of cloud computing in healthcare saves up on the server costs wherein you only pay for the computing capacity you use while ensuring the safety of sensitive PHI at the same time.

6. Data-Driven Insights

Technology used to automate processes can also deliver a wealth of data in a continuous feedback loop that can be used for performance improvement and optimization. With every cycle, automation systems can collect data on how the process is working and use that information to improve the program.

This way it improves on itself over time, becoming even more efficient, more accurate and more helpful to the team’s workload.

Healthcare data is a treasure trove of valuable insights and automation combined with the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning in healthcare can shift the focus from a reactive approach towards a proactive one.

Healthcare professionals can predict upcoming requirements and can be better prepared for any eventualities, thus improving efficiency.

7. Empowering the Workforce

For healthcare workers, automation acts as their companion to serve more patients. Increased levels of job satisfaction in healthcare workers are not only linked to better patient care, but it is also directly proportional to higher ROI for the healthcare organization.

Elimination of repetitive work as a result of automating manual processes empowers healthcare professionals to take control of their time and efforts and direct them for more productive endeavors.

ORLink, a surgical workflow management platform that Arkenea developed and which went on to raise $1 million in venture funding just upon its launch, helped surgeons advance workflow, communication and teamwork in the surgical environment by leveraging technology and empowering the surgeons.

What Lies Ahead?

Automation doesn’t mean that the skilled workforce in the healthcare industry will be replaced by machines and robots. Rather it will ensure that they get elevated into higher-functioning roles that make use of the clinical expertise they have been trained for.

Through the years Arkenea has partnered with a number of healthcare organizations for developing their healthcare innovations. Interested in building a digital health solution for automating manual processes within your organization? Experts are just one click away.

Vinati Kamani
 

Dr Vinati Kamani writes about emerging technology and its application across industries for Arkenea. She is an avid reader and self proclaimed bibliophile. When Vinati is not at her desk penning down articles or reading up on the recent trends, she can be found travelling to remote places and soaking up different cultural experiences.