Key Technology Trends for 2021

As we approach 2021, it’s time to look back at the key trends in healthcare technology. The past year taught us a lot about what we could do with technology when put to the test. And we are certainly ready to put 2020 in our rear view. As hospitals and health systems look to improve their performance, productivity, and efficiency, innovation is key to unlocking post-crisis growth.

Creating a Digital Workforce

2020 fast-tracked the addition of RPA technology in healthcare. The adoption of automation technology has helped hospitals and health systems ease the ever-changing requirements of COVID-19 reporting, fast-tracked lab orders and critical results, and improved claims status queues. As Brad Cox, Director of Patient Accounting at Northwestern Medicine stated, “If we don’t get claims out of the door, we don’t get paid. My managers spent 50% of their time just making sure the payers received the claims. Now, we are probably 5% claims status-ing on the back end. This means we can spend 95% of our time on other areas that require our attention.” In 2021, many organizations will continue to implement RPA initiatives, adding a “digital workforce” to their human teams, performing repetitive, human-driven processes at a fraction of the time and cost.

Maintaining Business Continuity

RPA has been an essential tool for hospitals and health systems to maintain business continuity during COVID-19. When telehealth visits were ramped up, RPA connected the silos between patient and provider, making it easier to complete intake forms, perform visits, and send information to multiple disparate downstream systems without the need for costly interfaces that required months to implement. When patient kiosks and portals were used for communication purposes, RPA sent the information effortlessly to multiple systems, eliminating manual data entry and time delays. As Billy Burns, Senior Strategy Officer at Telescope Health stated, “One of the challenges with our manual process has been integrating data from external systems back to our internal system. The original process resulted in a high error rate that caused additional manual work for our integration team. After our implementation with Boston Software Systems, 85% of our data entry process is being done by automation.” We recognized the benefit of automation in 2020, and this technology will continue to drive business continuity in 2021.

Identifying At-Risk Patients

As we move forward with vaccines, it will become even more imperative to identify at-risk patients. Providers will need to follow CDC guidelines, which may include data that resides in multiple systems outside the EHR. A digital workforce can sort through volumes of hospital, provider, and payer data, sending communications to disparate systems 24-hours a day. This reduces the time to process patients, eliminates the need for clinicians to hunt for information, and quickly identifies those patients at greatest risk. This will create a smoother process for vaccine distribution and reporting to state and federal governments. RPA has allowed labs and health systems to better manage data within and across their digital infrastructure. It is non-intrusive and does not disrupt existing systems. As such, it will continue to be the perfect ally for the challenges of 2021.

Enabling the Internet of Medical Things

Tech innovations will make it easier for employees to continue working off-site in 2021. Productivity dashboards will become more prevalent, so that managers can stay informed of gaps in time and efficiency, without experiencing profound slumps in revenue. When on-site, employees will be supported through an increased focus on personal safety. The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) will connect devices, software applications, and health services, changing the way we deliver and monitor care, playing a central role in preventing chronic illnesses — and advancing future health. This “preventative” technology will encourage employees to monitor daily wellness and activity, providing a more proactive vs. reactive picture of health.

Why Boston Software Systems?

COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies. We’ve witnessed a historic deployment of services and solutions to improve productivity and reduce costs. These operating models will continue to solve healthcare challenges in 2021, building resilience in a post-pandemic world. At Boston Software Systems we optimize resources, accelerate performance, and empower people, to improve both short and long-term business objectives.

When you’re ready to talk, we’re available. With most deployments live in < 60 days, savings are right around the corner: 866-653-5105. We’re also available to connect via Twitter, @bossoft.

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