Automated digital workers give hospitals a competitive edge — 4 insights

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Hospitals are striving to become more efficient and save money in ways that allow them to focus on patient outcomes. Intelligent automation allows hospitals to take mundane, repetitive tasks and give them to digital workers, freeing up critical hospital employees to focus on more complex and value-added tasks that improve patient care and satisfaction.

During an August webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Blue Prism, Anna Twomey, senior solution advisor, and Duff Glaser, senior director, healthcare, both of Blue Prism, discussed how intelligent healthcare automation can improve patient outcomes and reduce the time spent by workers on manual, repetitive processes.

Four insights: 

1. Many hospitals are automating processes to improve efficiency and accuracy. Recognizing that 60 percent of healthcare operations can be automated, hospitals are shifting repetitive structured processes to what Blue Prism calls "digital workers." Using intelligent automation, which combines automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning, hospitals are moving these mundane, manual, time-consuming and often-error prone tasks to these automated digital workers, freeing up human employees to focus on higher-value work, such as patient care and the overall patient experience. "Caregivers spend an awful lot of time in front of their screens doing administrative tasks that's taking time away from the patient. We want to give that time back," Mr. Glaser said.

2. Automation cuts time and money spent onboarding new clinicians. The total cost of manually onboarding a new physician is approximately $1 million and takes most healthcare organizations approximately 100 days. Blue Prism's automation reduces the total onboarding time to 30 days, with digital workers doing everything from identifying staff deficiencies and driving the interview process to onboarding, including clinical credentialing and verifying licenses. The clinician is also set up for billing before they begin seeing patients, ensuring claims are not added to the denied claims backlog because they were not properly credentialed with the insurance agency.

3. Digital workers can be deployed to a variety of tasks across the hospital. Automation can be deployed into a variety of operations, including planning for bed rotations, food and capacity. It also assists with ensuring regulatory compliance is met, collecting all of the information and completing all of the steps necessary for compliance reviews. "We had one customer that saved thousands of hours of time just by automating a single report," Ms. Twomey said. Digital workers can help with incident reporting and managing federal and state violations, ensuring risks are mitigated and results are automatically reported back to the state.

4. Automated workflows offer a competitive edge in today's healthcare system. "Blue Prism is helping healthcare organizations build a work environment that empowers the workforce to focus on patients and avoid endless piles of redundant paperwork," Ms. Twomey said. Digital workers are not only saving organizations time and money, but by allowing personnel to focus on patients, they are giving time back to high-value, high-touch tasks that improve patient outcomes and employee satisfaction. "You're able to take manual tasks away from specific workers and give them more complex and challenging opportunities to grow," Mr. Glaser said.

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