Smart Automation is Vital to Healthcare, But Choosing the Wrong Vendor Can Be Disastrous

If we’ve learned anything in the last three years, it’s that people are our most valuable resource. By harnessing the collective abilities and ideas of people, we made it through one of the most trying times of modern society. That’s why it’s important that we empower healthcare workers with smart automation solutions that help, rather than hinder their efforts, and make their workflows more intuitive, eliminating duplicate documentation, errors, and impediments to patient care.

Smart automation projects can go wrong for various reasons, but here is a partial list of common pitfalls:

1. A Lack of Clear Objectives: Failing to define clear and achievable goals for the automation project can lead to disasters. Without a well-defined purpose, automation efforts may not provide meaningful results.

2. Poor Planning: Inadequate planning can result in unrealistic timelines, insufficient budgets, or inadequate resource allocation. This can lead to project delays, cost overruns, or suboptimal outcomes.

3. Inadequate Stakeholder Involvement: Not involving key stakeholders, including end-users, IT teams, and business leaders, in the project’s planning and execution can lead to misunderstandings, resistance to change, and project failure.

4. Insufficient Data Quality: How will you validate the results? Automation often relies on data. If the data used is inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated, automated processes can produce incorrect results or exacerbate existing issues rather than fixing them.

5. Overcomplexity: Trying to “boil the ocean” or automate overly complex processes without scaling, streamlining, or optimizing them first can lead to intricate, hard-to-maintain automation systems that don’t deliver on the expected benefits.

6. A Technology Mismatch: Selecting the wrong automation tools, technologies, or vendors can result in compatibility issues, integration challenges, or increased costs. Experience matters in choosing a technology vendor. Look for ones with years of experience in healthcare-specific projects. And don’t forget to check support reviews. Because after the ink is dry on the contract, everything boils down to support.

7. Inadequate Testing: Skipping or insufficiently conducting testing and validation of automated processes can lead to errors, disruptions, or security vulnerabilities.

8. Lack of Scalability: Failing to design automation solutions with scalability in mind can lead to problems when the workload increases or there is a shift in demand.

9. Security and Compliance Risks: Neglecting security and compliance considerations can expose the organization to data breaches, regulatory penalties, or legal liabilities.

10. Cost Overruns: Underestimating the total cost of ownership, including ongoing maintenance and support, can lead to budget overruns and financial strain. To mitigate these risks and increase the likelihood of successful smart automation projects, organizations should have a clear understanding of the current objectives as well as future costs.

During the early days of the pandemic, health systems had to reinvent how they worked, going from physical offices to kitchen tables, with kids being homeschooled and resources limited. Automation stepped up as a great enabler of people, productivity, and business continuity. The Director of Patient Accounts at Northwestern Medicine said, “We had three days to transition everyone to a work-from-home (WFH) environment, with kids, pets, and the challenges of life. We had to relocate desks, computers, and people. While we focused on people, automation took care of everything else.” When a provider contacts a payer to check a claim status, it takes an average of 14 minutes and costs the provider $7.12. By the time a claim reaches a denied status, the provider has lost at least two weeks. Northwestern did not lose one day of productivity, thanks to Boston WorkStation, and the ability to keep claims status checks going during the transition. Automation offset the work of 25 FTEs, and while they grew in provider count (from 1,500 to 3,000), they did not need to add one additional team member.

One of our telehealth clients needed a way to keep up with increased demands. Because of the ramp up in mobile COVID testing protocols, their practice required 5 FTEs, working on three shifts, to manually input each patient’s demographics into their computerized lab order entry system (CPOE), as well as multiple lab systems. Boston WorkStation quickly automated this tedious project, resulting in the need for only 1 floating FTE. Every order was entered accurately and the communication loop was closed. This automation was quickly scaled to over 200 providers, across mobile testing sites throughout Northeast Florida. By automating the lab’s reporting capabilities, they were able to apply more time toward patient care. These are merely two examples in a long list of satisfied customers.

We state our truths and keep our promises. 90% of Boston WorkStation projects are developed and deployed in under 30 days. How strong is the ROI? One of our clients saved 180 hours per month and $20 million in failed claims re-submissions. Another recovered $2 million per year in ED billing, by automating auditing procedures, while a third saved 10 hours per day and $1.2 million per year by automating crossover claims processing. We have 30+ years of well-documented success in healthcare. We continue to work hard every day to maintain customer loyalty by going that extra mile. Don’t make a mistake you’ll regret later. Contact us to schedule a free assessment.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: