A survey of several developed nations found that the United States had some of the worst wait times at hospitals and medical facilities! As many as 28% of patients in the US don’t get to see a doctor within 24 hours of going to a hospital.
Long wait times and other inefficiencies in the US health system are caused by a confluence of complex forces and we’d be here all day if we were to discuss them in detail. Instead, we’ll look at a type of technology that may be a game changer in health operations (that is, clinic management, not medical operations). Keep reading to learn all about healthcare automation and how it can solve many of the medical industry’s problems.
Automation for Administration and Health Operations
The most common forms of automation in all industries all relate to administrative tasks. The healthcare industry is no different because every patient visit encompasses vital information of many types and each type has its own set of arduous paperwork.
Data management technology is arguably the oldest form of modern automation and we’ve come a long way since the original SQL. Modern programs can store huge volumes of patient data like addresses, phone numbers, blood type, and even whole medical histories. If admin staff, a nurse, or a doctor needs the info, they can easily get it by accessing their center’s database.
Modern databases even integrate across networks so that medical centers have ready access to all the information the second patients transfer. This removes the task of transferring records manually.
Scheduling and Triage Tech
With robotic process automation, a bot can now interact directly with patients and set up their appointments and care schedules. Similar systems can also schedule tasks for healthcare staff automatically and more efficiently than ever. This opens up an administrator’s time to deal with more important healthcare management concerns.
Similarly, triage terminals with the right tech can run an emergency room for the attending staff. This can be safer, less frustrating, and more efficient for the doctor in charge.
Collecting bills and coordinating with insurers is one of the most frustrating conventions of the health sector. Thankfully clinics can outsource medical billing to automated programs as well. These services run the billing for the clinic, which means managers only have to review the service’s performance rather than do all the leg work themselves.
Automation for Patients
Automation doesn’t only benefit a healthcare organization, but can also improve patients’ experiences with healthcare facilities. When tech makes the jobs of doctors, nurses, and admins easier, patients are handled by friendlier and more effective people. There are also systems that help patients directly.
Automatic Reminder Systems
Basic scheduling software can take and optimize patient appointments and schedules, but many of these services can do far more. The next evolution of these kinds of software comes with an automated reminder feature.
Some clinics and hospitals already had reminder policies and procedures in place. Nurses or admin staff would have to look up who needed to be phoned, texted, or emailed that day and then send the reminders out. New scheduling software can send emails and texts at set times before appointments without any staff needing to be involved.
The benefits of fewer patients missing appointments are better cash flow for the clinic and more adherence to the set schedule. Closer adherence to the schedule gives the patients more peace of mind that their appointments won’t be disrupted by shifting schedules.
The most advanced scheduling tech even has communications AI integrations. These AIs can answer questions and handle rescheduling if necessary.
Adopting this method is quite time-consuming in the beginning, but it more than pays for itself long term. After programming the right info into the system, it continues working on its own.
Cheaper Care Component
Automation makes many jobs easier and streamlines many processes. This opens up two major possibilities for healthcare facilities.
The first possibility is that they can handle a higher volume of patients. With optimized schedules and automated admin, taking in more patients isn’t difficult anymore. That means that the clinic can make more money or reduce admin fees.
The other route is the reduction of staff. Labor can sometimes be 70% of an organization’s expenses, especially in labor-intensive sectors such as health.
If it takes less staff to do admin jobs, then your clinic can get by with less staff. If fewer salaries mean cheaper operating costs, you can also reduce the price you charge patients. You could also simply make more profit.
Bold Frontiers in Automation for Medicine
The most promising tech in this sector relates to diagnostics. For most of the last century, patients needed to stay in the building if they needed to be monitored. Now there’s technology that can monitor a patient’s vitals remotely.
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) frees up space in your facility as well as removes the need for an overnight shift. More patients can be monitored at a given time.
With AI, however, this technology has much broader applications and smarter features. Medical AIs are now able to detect irregularities and diseases before doctors just by reading data. The AI can also call help if it picks up that a patient is in sudden trouble.
Diagnostics AIs aren’t limited to data from RPM machines. They can also read X-Rays and MRIs and often pick up problems that specialists overlook. Across the board, diagnostics AIs can help a practice deliver aid faster and more efficiently than ever before.
How Technology is Changing Healthcare and More
Automation is no longer just for admin, IT, and car factories! Automation can now make health operations run far more efficiently.
A healthcare organization can opt to automate its administrative side. This ensures that doctors and nurses can focus on delivering care, as many of their administrative tasks are made easier. This can be achieved by automating scheduling, billing, and even triage.
Advanced diagnostics AIs can even automate part of the healthcare itself. Doctors can get to treating ailments much quicker than in the past.
Automation in healthcare is just one of many exciting developments happening in the world. If you want to read more about how technology is advancing industries today, check out our tech blog.