One thing we learned from our response to #COVID19: now is the time to embrace digital health initiatives. The pandemic accelerated our need for remote services, yet highlighted our inability to keep up with the challenges posed. Digital health isn’t new, it’s simply been placed in a sharper focus.
How Do We Embrace the Shift Around Us?
CIOs have securely and safely stepped up the effort to embrace this new age of connectivity. Many are quickly shifting to new supply models and detailed reporting demands. While healthcare futurists have long warned about “job replacing robots,” we’ve recognized that algorithms and automations don’t get sick; they work efficiently 24/7, they enable agility, and ensure our processes can keep pace with the changing world around us. We believe organizations must move quickly, by implementing automation starting today. This will ensure you are addressing any future workforce reductions before they occur and have a solution in place before future reductions start to affect your AR days.
According to a PwC Pulse survey conducted in June, 70% of health industry CFOs plan on improving the remote work experience, compared to 49% of finance execs overall. In doing so, 57% plan to accelerate automation and new ways of working. “The digitization of the workforce strongly mirrors the changes in how health care is now being delivered.”
Here are a few areas where automation is fast-tracking the ability to shine post-pandemic.
Even companies that were resistant to the concept of a distributed workforce have been forced to allow workers to work from home. However, much of the infrastructure is missing, which sometimes makes it difficult to monitor and track efficiency. In many HIM departments, once the physical infrastructure is in place, organizations need a way to measure quality assurance. Adding a productivity dashboard allows managers to stay connected to remote workers. In planning for the second wave of COVID-19, organizations will be better prepared, and experience fewer pain-points with digital tools already in place.
Roughly 400 million ambulatory visits are handled by telemedicine each year in the United States. Yet, many platforms are not connected to the EHR or ancillary systems, making telehealth a manual, lengthy, error-prone process. Automation streamlines telehealth tasks, connects data silos, and eliminates errors, reducing the time it takes to process patients. One telehealth provider saved hundreds of hours, 4 FTEs, and an entire shift dedicated to manual data entry by automating routine processes. Examples include:
- Lab/Rad order entry
- Integration with EHR systems, patient portals, kiosks
- Reporting to local, state, and federal agencies
- Revenue cycle management, billing, and payment processing
Inventory and Materials Management
Another thing we learned from COVID-19 was how inefficient the processes of inventory, supply chain, and materials management actually are in healthcare. CIOs and CXOs report that this crisis is prompting them to accelerate plans to invest in automation and robotics to better manage their existing operations. Examples of materials management automation include:
- Price, contract, and vendor management
- Single and multi-facility inventory control
- Routine and ad hoc reporting, data migration, and integration
- Product description and pricing updates
- Purchase order requests, requisitions, and logistics
Automating Time-Consuming Tasks
If there were any lingering doubts about the necessity of digital transformation, the coronavirus has silenced them. Automation cuts through the complexity of process tasks and eliminates the redundancies associated with manual data entry, empowering human workers to excel by working alongside them, gathering and analyzing relevant information from multiple sources, checking, and routing to ancillary systems. Automation is the perfect “digital ally” to assist a human workforce. Examples of process tasks made more efficient by automation include:
- Revenue cycle management tasks, resubmissions, claim denials
- Automate COVID-19 test results reporting to CDC
- Improve inventory orders, supply, and invoicing
- Payment processing, collections, and adjustments
- Change management, IT processes
- Hiring, onboarding, and managing HR functions
An automation mindset challenges the status quo of work and evaluates the most effective digital/human combination for the job. Employing a digital employee is typically one-fifth the cost of a full-time staff member, and that’s just in the first year. The benefit and ROI increases dramatically in the following years.
Automation has been a driver of change in organizations long before COVID-19, but currently it has become a topic of boardroom discussion because of its place in a post-pandemic recovery process.
A PwC study confirms that “as hints of optimism start to appear, finance leaders are shifting their focus to growth. Being agile, having a digital mindset, listening to customers and prioritizing employees are key to success.”
Why Boston Software Systems?
Boston Software Systems understands that people are driving the processes in caring for thousands of patients every day. Let’s have a conversation about your digital strategy. We won’t take up much of your time, and most solutions are deployed in under 60 days. Let’s explore your digital health strategies, drive operational efficiency, and be better prepared for the second wave of COVID-19.