Can automation really make a positive difference in the quality of patient care? According to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, it can. The report shows that patients at Texas hospitals have been attributing fewer complications, lower death rates, and reduced costs to healthcare automation practices.
Why are they seeing these kinds of results from healthcare automation, and how can you replicate their success? Based on our years of experience with robotic process automation for healthcare, we’ve learned that automation tools have the most impact on the patient journey in these four areas:
Think beyond your current EHR or EMR system, and consider the bigger picture. Beyond healthcare records management, what are you doing with the rest of your documents – things like personnel files, medical claims, billing, accounts payable and receivable, staff reviews, required certifications, and more? ALL of your records are candidates for a robust document management system and process automation tools.
For example, when Oklahoma Surgical Hospital turned to DocuPhase for help with an issue with their billing documentation, it was quickly discovered that the document management platform could do more than just store their records. Filing was automated, and the system was integrated with their existing ERP to sync relevant data across their network. Plans were made to expand functionality beyond basic document management to a more extensive automation project.
When documents are all organized and stored within a document management system, they can be retrieve or routed quickly and easily, cutting out the extensive hours that can be spent on filing and researching your records. This means that your medical professionals have more time to focus on what’s most important – patient care.
Did you know that 86% of mistakes made in the healthcare industry are administrative? Now consider what kind of results a clerical error can have. Maybe a patient is billed incorrectly. Or, worse yet, maybe he receives the wrong medication or another incorrect treatment. What if a patient record is misfiled and lost? These errors can present serious issues!
When machines take care of repetitive error-prone tasks like data entry and filing, your patients will be in safer hands. With automated data entry and filing, these costly human errors can be eliminated, making your data more accurate, which in turn provides a better overall experience for your patients.
Standardization of Care
How can you ensure that your patients are all receiving a consistently high level of care? One way is to standardize as many elements of their patient journey as you can. This can include providing self-service portals where they can access their information and submit requests. It could also mean using standardized electronic forms for new patient intake and automated workflows for billing processes.
Consider the individual aspects of the patient journey and how each step can be automated or standardized in order to provide an overall reliable and enjoyable experience that your patients can depend on.
When any task is accomplished by a machine, rather than a human being, it creates data that can be analyzed in the future. Given enough data and the establishment of patterns, processes can be improved. For example, when you use business process automation software to set up standardized workflows for establishing new patient records, many elements can be completed automatically, including data entry, filing, ensuring that files are complete and compliant, and notifying patients and staff members of pertinent information. Other human tasks can also be added to the workflow as steps in the process, allowing them to be tracked as well.
After the process cycles through several times, it will become apparent (through data and analytics) how long each step is taking, and where the holdups and exceptions are occurring. Process bottlenecks can be eliminated as you refine the process, again allowing you to deliver a better, more timely experience to your patients.
These aren’t the only places where automation can make a difference in the healthcare world. According to an article on CIO.com, business process automation software can also be applied to claims administration, member management, provider management, health and care management, and administration. This makes sense when you think of robotic process automation as a set of tools that can be applied to any repetitive manual task, since those types of tasks exist in nearly every industry and department.
If you’re looking for a way to boost the patient journey in your practice, it’s time to schedule a discussion with a DocuPhase Business Consultant who can show you how automation can transform the way you treat your patients.
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