Automation Helps Hospitals Survive Narrowing Margins During the Pandemic

Due to the complexity of the pandemic, more than a third of US hospitals are estimated to maintain negative operating margins through the end of 2021 as overall expenses continue to be higher than pre-pandemic levels, according to a recent report prepared by Kaufman, Hall & Associates.

In the face of mounting pressures, health systems should consider identifying strategies to enhance revenue, reduce costs, and improve efficiency without an increased “human” toll.

Boston WorkStation has been healthcare’s Robotic Process Automation (RPA) standard, optimizing processes in hospitals, provider organizations, and partner technologies for 30 years. Here are a few of the most in- demand projects for increased revenue and productivity:

EMR / EHR Data Migration
Whether using our automated migration platform to automate your daily workflow and tasks, or for loading data from your legacy EHR/HIS system into your new installation of Epic, Cerner, Paragon, Soarian, athenaHealth, eClinicalWorks, or MEDITECH, Boston WorkStation ensures your clinicians and administrative staff can eliminate manual data entry tasks, and reduce the roadblocks to interoperability.

“We used Boston WorkStation to eliminate the very time consuming and costly process of manually entering data from and to disparate sources. Our workflow automation processes do exactly what we need them to do and with the added bonus of proper error checking.”

Revenue Cycle Processes
Relying on a manual process to improve healthcare inefficiencies just isn’t an effective use of time or people. Automation solves productivity drains in the revenue cycle by checking for errors, completing manual tasks, addressing quality control gaps, and reducing the cost to collect.

“We have reduced our work by 66%. We doubled in size, with twice as many providers, yet we are working a third of the volume we had before adding automation.”

The beauty in applying automation to the revenue cycle is that it supports the needs of teams and departments without disrupting the larger system infrastructure. By understanding where the gaps are, and where the greatest need for human capital is being spent, it’s easy to determine the areas of greatest return.

Vaccine Distribution / Scheduling / Reimbursement
Robotic Process Automation has helped mitigate further disruption by enabling hospitals, health systems, and providers to stay connected across teams and systems and maintain stability during times of uncertainty.

A few of the ways RPA has helped healthcare during the pandemic include:

  • Sorting through volumes of data to find the right patient lists for COVID-19 vaccines
  • Schedule patients for vaccine appointments, lab tests, & results
  • Register lot numbers, vials, and PPE
  • Speed HRSA revenue cycle claims for uninsured patient reimbursement

HR Onboarding Processes
The onboarding process is often a coordinated dance between the finance department and the IT department. There is a ton of paperwork involved, from the cross-verification of demographic details for each candidate to issuing a welcoming letter, setting up passwords, scheduling training, and inputting information in multiple databases. RPA can automate the entire process, making it easier to accomplish more with a reduced staff. When the decision is made to hire a candidate, the “bot” can send a welcome message along with policy documents, passwords, and forms.

Provider Credentialing
The hospital credentialing process, or tracing, tracking, and verifying the credentials of physicians and nurses, is an arduous one, and involves capturing information from a large variety of media sources, and extracting data points from a number of files. It is bulky and time-consuming and must be repeated every two years. Manual credentialing verification requires the support of a dedicated credentialing team. Boston WorkStation customers have streamlined the process, through the use of automation. The benefits include faster turnaround times, decreased costs, and improved accuracy. With the healthcare landscape rapidly changing in a post-COVID-19 era, automating the credentialing process drives agility and quality assurance while mitigating possible risks.

The magnitude of losses hospitals will face is likely to continue through the end of 2021. According to a report by McKinsey, almost half the activities people are paid almost $16 trillion in wages to do in the global economy have the potential to be automated. As we learn to live in a post-COVID-19 world, RPA will continue to help hospitals and provider organizations add a layer of efficiency, and reduce the challenges of connecting care.

Why Boston Software Systems?

Digital transformation is a team sport and all of our project leads are immersed in healthcare workflows. That makes a difference to our customers, who give us “straight A’s” in terms of people, process, and product. Our implementations are fast, usually in < 30 days, and all of our support is US-based. You have a lot of choices in RPA vendors and solutions. When the path is unclear, you’ll want a team you can count on. We’re here and ready to assist.

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