Intelligent Automation in Healthcare – Focus on Process

By John Carmelite, Vice President, Enterprise Applications, Intalere

In my role leading Intalere’s Intelligent Automation practice I have the privilege of speaking with customers and business partners about Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and how it can help them transform their healthcare organization.  RPA is software that mimics the activity of a human being interacting with a computer. Typical activities that a software robot can perform include completing online forms, extracting data from applications, formatting data, and creating and sending emails. Often, people are interested in the particulars of RPA – how it works, will it work with their systems and what will it take to implement.  These are logical and appropriate questions when evaluating new technology solutions. However, I always direct organizations to focus on processes first because identifying the right ones and implementing them in the correct order is the key to a successful RPA implementation.

The right processes…

While technology has made us more effective and data driven, it hasn’t always delivered the promises of efficiency that were hoped or promised. In many cases, large technology implementations have become masters that must be served with more staff, more support, more data processing. These are the areas we encourage organizations to look at for RPA. Key types of process pain points that are candidates for automation include:

  • Processes that are repetitive and prone to human error.
  • High volume/low complexity processes.
  • Processes that are tedious and mundane leading to staff frustration and turnover.
  • Processes where you can never catch up or are constantly staffing up for high volume events.

Many processes common to healthcare fit the criteria including claims management, insurance verification, inventory management, as well as administrative processes like accounts receivable/payable, payroll and onboarding.

…in the right sequence.

When processes are identified as good candidates for automation, it’s important that they are assessed for benefits to the organization and complexity of implementation. The measure of time saved in hours either as direct savings or more commonly as redirected capacity to higher value work is a good starting point. We encourage organizations to look at opportunities that not only bring these efficiencies, but also can directly offset costs or generate increased revenue faster. 

Thinking about change management and adoption are important as well.  RPA implementations can fail if they are perceived as a threat. Starting with an easy to achieve proof of concept that generates interest and demonstrates value will often lead to additional process identification and broader interest across the organization. The Intalere Intelligent Automation team facilitates organizations through a process identification and prioritization session that sets a successful RPA implementation plan in motion.

If you are interested in learning more about RPA and how it can help your healthcare organization improve its revenue cycle, supply chain and administrative processes, please check out our podcast on Intelligent Automation in Healthcare or register for an upcoming webinar we are hosting on November 6, 2019.

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