The Healthcare sector is one of the economy’s most regulated and demanding industries. As a result, healthcare professionals continuously face increasing administrative work, which 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 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.
What is EHR (Electronic Health Records) Processing?
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are real-time, electronic, patient-centered records 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 intelligent, evidence-based tools to assist healthcare professionals in making better, informed judgments and conclusions on the best way to treat patients. When employed adequately, EHRs help automate clinician workflows, significantly improving patient care quality.
However, integrating 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.
Many 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 digital labor to keep what works while fixing underlying issues.
Robotic process automation, or RPA, uses software algorithms and scripts to securely and efficiently automate the tasks the human resources in an organization would otherwise perform.
RPA often means uncovering error-prone and repetitive tasks by human resources and integrating robots to accomplish such tasks. The benefits? RPA offers many benefits across different sectors and, most importantly, in the healthcare sector, which will be discussed as we move forward.
What Processes in EHR Can Be Automated with RPA
Patient And Appointment Registration
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, RPA uses bots to perform all the clicking, copying, pasting, and pointing, saving precious hours and human efforts and allowing staff and healthcare professionals to focus more on higher-value operations.
Robotic process automation (RPA) can also assist healthcare professionals in running reports of billing payments and submissions through automation. By compiling these reports, healthcare staff can access charges based on individual providers, insurance carriers, and individualized patients. Asides from running reports, RPA also helped to oversee payments and bills earned 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 always be prepared for impromptu and external audits whenever requested.
Here is a preview of automating patients’ profiles and appointments creation in DrChrono EHR with RPA (the data input is a simple Google Spreadsheet with raw data):
Pros of Using RPA for EHR
There are lots of advantages that come with using RPA for EHR. Some of the many benefits RPA offers include the following;
RPA collects 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-authorization.
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, automatically aggregated, and entered into a central patient recording system where healthcare staff can easily access it.
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 than human effort. A bargain in today’s market is $10,000 for a single-purpose bot that carries out tasks accurately at the most downtime possible.
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 devices without human intervention.
Cons of Using RPA for EHR
As alluring as these RPA benefits are, this technology has some drawbacks. Some of the Cons include the following;
Even though RPA is praised for simplifying workload, it can also create complexity in the operation. When the RPA software is not effectively managed and governed, it can create several software layers, complicating healthcare administrative work and making business improvement difficult.
Even though RPA is praised, 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.
Use-cases of Automating EHR Processing with RPA
The possibilities for automating EHR processing and integrating robotic process automation in the healthcare industry are endless. Even though the potential and use cases of RPA have not been fully explored, it has various use 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 letters, accounting and financial systems, and partner ecosystems. 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, many things must be correctly implemented 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
- RPA for Medical Billing and Invoicing
- Claims Status
- Payment Posting
Optimizing Schedules is one of the popular struggles among healthcare companies, especially when considering many factors. This often results in employee frustration, poor customer service, revenue leakage, and lots more.
The factors schedulers need to consider usually include the following:
- The client’s preferences 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 duties.
By integrating RPA, schedules are efficiently optimized, error-prone, and faster while avoiding revenue leakage and, most importantly, sparing 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 and speed up your processes by implementing RPA solutions.
The benefits of 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 pride ourselves on our ability to implement successful RPA solutions in the medical industry.
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