The Healthcare sector is one of the most regulated and demanding industries in the economy. As a result, healthcare professionals are continuously faced with increasing administrative work which now seems to have driven down operational efficiency and patient care services.
Given the ever-increasing health crisis and predicaments, the healthcare sector is evolving to meet these health crises while also finding answers to the pile of administrative work. To this end, Robotic Process Automation is being used to better the Electronic Health Records (EHR) system being used.
What is EHR (Electronic Health Records) Processing?
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are real-time, electronic, patient-centered records that are maintained by the patient’s provider over time and made available to anyone authorized to see them. These electronic health records (EHRs) include a broad spectrum of medical information such as the patients
- Medical histories
- Treatment plans
- Laboratory test results
- Immunization dates
- Radiology images
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) allow for the use of intelligent evidence-based tools to assist healthcare professionals to make better, informed judgments and conclusions on the best way to treat patients. When employed adequately, EHRs assist in automating clinician workflows improving the quality of patient care significantly.
However, the integration of Electronic health record systems in vast, integrated healthcare delivery networks has not panned out exactly as envisioned. Today, EHRs are considered monolithic, difficult to use, costly to configure, and inflexible. This is usually a result of many of the popular EHRs systems being built on older technologies which often reflect on their ease of use.
A lot of healthcare professionals including surgeons find these older technologies difficult to use and complex making the EHR system perform way below expectations in delivering their preferred healthcare processes.
How Can Electronic Health Records Be Improved?
Rather than changing an entire EHRs root and system, the imperfections can be corrected using Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA primarily allows for the use of digital labor to keep what works while fixing underlying issues.
Robotic process automation, or RPAs, make use of software algorithms and scripts to securely and efficiently automate the tasks the human resources in an organization would otherwise perform.
The use of RPA often translates to uncovering error-prone and repetitive tasks carried out by human resources and integrating robots to accomplish such tasks instead. The benefits? Well, RPA offers a lot of benefits across different sectors and most importantly, in the healthcare sector and that will be discussed as we move forward.
What Processes in EHR Can Be Automated with RPA
Robotic process automation (RPA) can effectively automate all patient data entry, transfer of registered information to patient records, and add relevant appointments to the EHR’s schedule. As mentioned earlier, RPA makes use of bots to perform all the clicking, copying, pasting, and pointing saving precious hours and human efforts allowing staff and healthcare professionals to focus more on higher-value operations.
Robotic process automation (RPA) can also assist healthcare professionals to run reports of billing payments and submissions through automation. By compiling these reports, healthcare staff can access payments based on individual providers, insurance carriers, and individualized patients. Asides from running reports, RPA also helps to oversee payments and bills earned on every calendar month and analyzed to determine the industry’s trajectory.
With Robotic Process Automation (RPA), all regulatory processes in a healthcare company are automatically tracked, traced, recorded, and categorized in a structured pattern. This helps healthcare companies to always be prepared and ready for impromptu and external audits whenever requested.
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Pros of Using RPA for EHR
There are lots of advantages that come with using RPA for EHR. Some of the many advantages RPA offers include;
RPA collects various data and information from disparate systems and websites and incorporates them directly into the EHR. In some situations, RPA also helps to submit necessary data for pre-authorizations.
Improving Patient Communication Opportunities
RPA helps to improve communication with patients by automatically generating emails that recap all information discussed on the phone with a healthcare professional.
Reducing Manual Data Entry
Through the integration of RPA bots, all information is cataloged across multiple systems and is automatically aggregated and entered into a central patient recording system where it can be easily accessed by healthcare staff.
Reduction in Cost
One of the biggest advantages of RPA is reduced cost. The cost of integrating Robotic Process Automation is estimated at $10,000 which is quite lower compared to human effort. $10,000 for a single-purpose bot that carries out tasks accurately at the lowest time possible is a bargain in today’s market.
Increasing Efficiency by Utilizing Third-party Tools
RPA efficiently operates as a middleman between third-party tools that don’t communicate with each other. This enables the processing and sharing of data between various tools without human intervention.
Cons of Using RPA for EHR
As alluring as these RPA benefits are, there are some drawbacks to this technology. Some of the Cons include;
Even though RPA is praised for simplifying workload, it can as well create complexity in the course of operation. When the RPA software is not effectively managed and governed, it can create several layers of software adding complexity to healthcare administrative work making business improvement very difficult to achieve.
Generally, RPAs are customized to fit a business model and solve corresponding problems. However, maintenance is usually the problem, especially for ever-changing tasks. A minor change in RPA setup can significantly disrupt RPA robots making maintenance difficult. Hence, integration of RPA is best for long-term business models.
High Cost of Initial Investment
This is one of the major drawbacks to robotic process automation. The initial cost of integrating this technology is quite high and must be thoroughly considered to know if returns will cover the cost.
Ideally, returns after integration are usually considerable and occur within a short time, however, there’s a need to be sure if the business can run smoothly before that happens.
Use-cases of Automating EHR Processing with RPA
When it comes to the automation of EHR processing and integrating robotic process automation in the healthcare industry, the possibilities are endless. Even though the potential and uses cases of RPA have not been fully explored, it has various uses cases in the healthcare industry ranging from clinical documentation to data transfer.
When integrated perfectly, RPA can automate query tasks of Electronic Health Record data, payment personnel letter, accounting and financial system, and partner ecosystem. Hence, reducing the workload on healthcare professionals. Some of the use cases of RPA in the health sector are;
Automating Revenue Cycle Management
The revenue cycle is a complicated system in the healthcare industry. For this cycle to run smoothly, a lot of things need to be correctly put in place for claims to be authorized. If not, chances for claim denial increase as a single error can sever the cycle of a successful claim. However, with the integration of RPA, the revenue cycle is effectively automated and the littlest error is corrected particularly around;
- Prior Authorization
- Bill Scrubbing
- Billing and Invoicing
- Claims Status
- Payment Posting
Optimizing Schedules is one of the popular struggles among healthcare companies most especially when putting into consideration a multitude of factors. This often results in employee frustration, poor customer service, revenue leakage, and lots more.
The factors schedulers need to consider usually include:
- The client’s preference and schedules
- Location and availability of providers,
- Billing capacity and prior authorization
- State employment law compliance
- Finger regulations
And lots more, causing a lot of trouble for schedulers. However, these struggles and tasks are where RPA flourishes the most – carrying out and performing repetitive tasks.
By integrating RPA, schedules are efficiently optimized, error-prone, faster while also avoiding revenue leakage and most importantly spare medical staff from the tedious work.
Effective Management of Human Resources
Funny enough, it requires a lot of robotic responsibilities to manage and organize human resources. With human resources, several operations such as credentialing, scheduling, offboarding, onboarding, and so on involve manual data entry between multiple systems. And these overwhelming audits via human efforts are known to be filled with costly errors and mistakes. You can avoid them all and speed up your processes by implementing RPA solutions.
The benefits that come with EHR automation and the integration of RPA within the healthcare sector cannot be overemphasized. By integrating RPA within healthcare companies, time, human resources, and money are saved in the long run. Above all, and most importantly, patient care is improved.
At Flobotics, when it comes to automating Electronic Health Records and medical billing, we are HIPAA compliant and we pride ourselves on our ability to implement successful RPA solutions in the medical industry.