It is accepted lore that black swan events such as the COVID-19 pandemic have a huge impact in terms of loss of human lives and the subsequent economic crisis. The pandemic, albeit not over, has left many questioning the existing healthcare system around the world. Whether it is the lack of medical equipment, manpower shortage, or lack of information about the virus, hospitals and healthcare providers have been pushed to boost spending to strengthen their infrastructure and prioritize patients over processes. 

For organizations burdened with staff scarcity and other constraints, automation is no longer just about cost-efficiency but also about building resilience. According to the World Health Organization, the global shortage of healthcare workers is likely to reach 12.9 million by 2035 from 7.2 million in 2013. That is why Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is being deployed to a considerable level in labor-intensive tasks such as claims processing, billing, and managing patient records. RPA bots are well suited for these tasks since they free-up staff time and allow them to focus on patient care. 

COVID-19 and RPA: Cause and Effect

Managing billing and claims processing is complicated in the healthcare industry since it involves ensuring the codes are applied correctly. All this entails entering data manually, checking records, and, at times, browsing actual scans, which can eventually lead to human errors. A study by Gartner in 2020 highlighted that 50% of healthcare providers plan to invest in RPA in the next three years compared to only 5% before the pandemic. This growth can partially be attributed to several tailor-made solutions that are now available to tackle COVID-19 challenges.

One such example is of a health insurance provider, who has deployed cloud-based automation backed by AI to process cashless claims quickly and accurately whenever requested by hospitals. The automation works by feeding algorithms with information like doctor’s diagnoses and treatment plans to accept or reject a claim. Parallelly, a machine learning algorithm is used to decide the claim amount. This entire process, which, when manually done took up to 4 hours, takes just under two minutes!

RPA in healthcare

Testing

Another COVID-19 specific solution is for testing. Testing of patients involves substantial administrative tasks like finding patient’s information in the system and registering them, accurately labeling testing kits as well as entering results into the hospital database. Add to it, there is a huge demand for testing, which when done manually, can create an enormous backlog. To solve testing issues, hospitals are now using RPA bots that process results quickly and save at least 3 hours per day.

Background Checks

When volunteering for assisting in the COVID-19 situation, hospitals and governments need to register and perform background checks of each individual. While HR can perform these tasks manually, it can be overwhelming to do it in such a short time. RPA is being used to automate this process owing to the sheer numbers of volunteers information requiring processing. It can potentially reduce the signup and verification process of frontline workers in a few days instead of months.

COVID-19 and RPA: Read Eight Use Cases of RPA in Healthcare

COVID-19 and RPA Adoption

There are several reasons why healthcare providers are moving to RPA. Some of them include, keeping sensitive patient information secure, ensuring compliance, and, most importantly, providing excellent patient care. All this is in addition to the traditional benefits of RPA, including saving costs, increasing efficiency and productivity, and eliminating errors.

Whatever the reasons may be, RPA is here to stay in the healthcare industry. Providers of electronic health records (EHR), customer relationship management (CRM), and enterprise resource planning software (ERP) are increasingly integrating RPA into their platforms. That is because it allows healthcare organizations to not only have a higher return on investment but also demonstrate their values and take good care of their patients. As automation across the complete value change continues to grow, companies will have to ensure scalable and faster implementation.

Let Nuummite Consulting Help

Nuummite Consulting is a digital transformation consulting and implementation firm based in the UAE with offices in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. We provide a broad range of services focusing on business process automation and digital transformation. We are partners of leading RPA software providers to help our clients in the healthcare industry begin their digital transformation journey.

Our RPA experts work closely with your organizations to identify, implement and deliver on RPA projects. To know more about how we can transform your business, get in touch today!