What is RPA and Why Does My Healthcare Organization Need It?

Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, is the term used for software or services combined with rule-based processes, reducing or eliminating repetitive tasks that are normally handled by humans. KPMG estimates the global IT robotic process automation market (RPA) is expected to be worth $5 billion this year. That’s because RPA is capable of driving significant improvements in healthcare. In a time of uncertainty and staffing issues related to COVID-19, RPA is a trusted process to save both time and money. In fact, McKinsey estimates that about 30 percent of the hours worked globally could be automated by 2030.

What processes make sense to automate first? In many situations, particularly in healthcare, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit: simple processes and tasks, those that require an inordinate amount of time and people power to complete. RPA bots have greater accuracy than humans and provide greater efficiency, allowing staff to prioritize their extra time. A simple project that could yield high returns in cost and efficiency might include any of the following:

  • Simplify tasks in the revenue cycle process
    • Check for missing identifiers
    • Check registration information
    • Check prior authorization and eligibility
    • Search for and correct claim errors
  • Lab reporting for COVID
    • Enter lab orders in portals or online
    • Send reports to CDC, public health, patient
    • Aggregate and organize data for follow-up
    • Send remote lab orders to the EHR, telehealth, or kiosk/portal
  • Change management tasks
    • Password changes
    • HR functions
    • New version updates

There are many more areas in which RPA can help you offload tasks in multiple departments. This technology can boost productivity across the enterprise and improve bottom line revenue. According to Gartner, half of US healthcare providers will invest in Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in the next three years, up from just 5% today. “The money that RPA saves by not having to spend as much on an unreformed process translates into cash that is available for front-end clinical functions, which is especially important while healthcare organizations combat the COVID-19 crisis.” says Gartner’s VP, Anurag Gupta.

Is it Difficult to Begin an RPA Journey?
It’s easier than ever to begin an RPA journey. You don’t have to be a programmer to start building bots for greater efficiency and productivity. You can build, test, implement, and maintain automations with NO programming experience. Boston WorkStation has a new drag-and-drop functionality, so you can also build from recordings with an object-based approach, that allows you to build an automation in minutes vs. hours, and share it across the enterprise, regardless of system vendor or EHR.

After the initial automation successes are achieved, it’s easy to see the value in automating higher-level tasks as you can see the impact on streamlining and optimizing operations. In a Gartner survey of finance executives taken on May 3, 2020, nearly a quarter of the participants surveyed anticipated spending more on RPA during coronavirus to drive cost optimization. RPA is certainly drawing the investment of CIOs across healthcare, and the ability to scale to “fit” the needs of multiple departments makes it an even wiser choice in today’s uncertain financial times.

Getting Started
RPA is capable of driving significant improvements in operational efficiency, but it has to be flexible enough to adhere to your particular workflows, business constraints, and processes. Did you know that for every hour a physician provides direct clinical face-time to patients, they spend two hours on record keeping? RPA can help to unlock this time. You don’t need a lot of IT involvement to get it up and running. It’s flexible and lightweight, and works with all EHR systems. Administrative staffers appreciate the benefits of RPA, as it removes manual tasks and data entry and relieves them from the pressure of tedious tasking and manual “copy and paste.”

Why Boston Software Systems?
It’s important to find a trusted partner to get started, and that’s where we come in. With 30 years of healthcare experience, and thousands of applications running every day in hundreds of hospitals, provider organizations, and technology systems, we know where to begin and how to get things up and running quickly.

Our RPA solutions can be implemented in under 60 days, with many implemented in under 30 days. We’ll take a look at your current processes — and bottlenecks — and help you consider which ones would be best to automate. We won’t take up much of your time, so that you can quickly put the power of RPA to work for your organization.

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