COVID-19 vaccines have begun arriving at hospitals and health systems across the U.S. this January, beginning an initial milestone in the fight against a pandemic that has killed millions of people and brought the healthcare system to its knees. While the availability of vaccines is a major milestone, distribution and administration has been a logistical nightmare. Let’s look at a few of the many ways Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has helped with the pandemic, and how it can simplify the vaccine reporting process moving forward.
Lab Orders and Result Reporting
Early on during the pandemic, we realized that RPA could be used to quickly adapt to changing conditions and ease financial stressors for hospitals, health systems, and provider organizations. Boston Software Systems’ RPA solution, Boston WorkStation, allowed providers to ramp up order processing and result reporting by creating a digital workforce that could step in quickly to transmit and process lab results, bed counts, and case counts, sending reports to state and regulatory agencies on a daily basis. These automations were implemented in less than one week, alleviating a manual administrative burden on an already overwhelmed healthcare system.
Reducing wait times at COVID-19 telehealth sites was another quick win for RPA. “One of the challenges with our manual process was integrating data from external systems back to our internal system,” said Billy Burns, Senior Solutions and Strategy Officer at Telescope Health. The organization was focused on eliminating the manual, error-prone process of manual data entry, and reducing the time it took to process new patients in the LabCorp and Quest systems. By incorporating automation, the system could easily check to see if the patient was registered in any of the multiple data silos and if not, create a new patient record in the process. This enabled results to be reported more effectively and efficiently to regulatory agencies as well as patients, without the need for a manual process. This eliminated the need for an additional 5 FTEs and three shifts, just to process lab orders and results on a daily basis.
Vaccine Distribution and Reporting
When vaccines arrive at the point of care, there are multiple rules to follow. The temperatures at which the vaccines must be stored, as well as tracking databases to log who has received the vaccine, what reports are generated, and when the next dosage is required. It’s difficult to pull from other areas in the hospital when there are so many pressing issues. This work can be easily offloaded to automation. RPA tools provide a “digital workforce” to busy operations. In the initial process of distribution to certain patient populations, RPA can sort through databases, combing through records and creating distribution lists for busy health systems. During the vaccine process, RPA can be used to monitor vaccine recipients for side effects, detail reporting, and create specific reporting of data to government agencies. Between the first and second dose, an exact timeframe needs to be followed, which allows automation to send follow-up correspondence to patients to ensure they continue with the necessary regimen. And afterwards, reporting to state and federal agencies, billing, claims, and reimbursement strategies can be used to further ensure financial health, and continued “dollars in the door.”
The volume of coordination that is required between multiple government, local, and state agencies, makes the situation uniquely different from other nationally distributed vaccinations, like the flu vaccine. By removing repetitive, manual data entry from the process, and streamlining reporting needs, hospitals and providers can set themselves up for success, ensuring the process is accurate and patient care is improved.
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Automation adds a layer of accuracy, efficiency, and operational excellence, making it easier to get work done. Let’s chat. We’re happy to share our success stories with you. With most solutions implemented in < 30 days, savings in time and efficiency are right around the corner!
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