Applying Intelligent Automation for Cost Savings & Improved Patient Experience

 

Healthcare providers who adopt Intelligent Automation across multiple business functions have the potential to realize significant cost savings, while improving patient and employee experience and realizing additional revenue.

In our 6-part blog series Optimizing the Revenue Cycle Management Value Equation with Intelligent Automation, we outlined many ways automation can provide benefit to the repetitive and error-prone business processes carried out daily by a revenue cycle management team. While revenue cycle management processes are ripe for improvement through automation, they by no means are the only area where positive financial, workflow, compliance and patient satisfaction impacts can be made. In this post, we explore other areas of the business where these benefits can be realized, including Human Resources, Customer Care, and many more!

Create a Competitive Edge by Automating Recruiting and HR Processes

About Intelligent Automation

Intelligent Automation uses a combination of RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to run automated using software robots that mimic the activity of human staff performing a complex business process. The software robots interact with electronic systems in the same way that humans do. They can interact with desktop, thin client, and web-based applications; read and send email; extract information from text or handwritten documents; and much more. This means that existing electronic systems do not have to change when automating processes with RPA.

Healthcare providers have high rates of employee onboarding and offboarding combined with complex application environments where user access is granted and removed. This leads to increased workload on teams that manage the onboarding and offboarding processes, including not only HR and Recruiting, but Finance, Technology and other teams. An additional challenge is that many clinical applications don’t have programmatic interfaces for user management. Intelligent Automation solves this problem by providing the tools needed to automate end-to-end onboarding processes. Not only can users be created and removed across all clinical and business applications, but processes such as benefits sign-up, policy sign-off, training enrollment and tracking, tax withholding and retirement can be orchestrated as well.  Applying Intelligent Automation to just this one type of HR process can save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year through time saved across multiple teams.  It also improves new employee experience by ensuring access is available on their start date, as well as increasing security controls through consistent removal of access during offboarding.

Intelligent Automation can also help create a competitive edge by streamlining Recruiting and Talent Development processes. Applying RPA and Machine Learning can improve the speed and quality of sourcing and candidate screening processes. When candidates are ready to be moved to next steps, automation can help streamline the interview scheduling process, ensure feedback is collected and entered in appropriate applicant tracking systems, and automate follow-up communications. This automation provides improved experiences to potential candidates as they form their first impression of a new employer relationship, which helps in attracting the best talent.

Decrease AHT and Improve First Call Resolution in Customer Care

Deploying Intelligent Automation in a customer care or customer support environment drives many operational and customer satisfaction benefits, including:

  • Decreased costs by handling more calls per agent with higher resolution rates.
  • Improved customer experience by increasing the call agent’s focus on the customer, rather than on navigating and entering data into internal systems.
  • A rapid improvement in first call resolution of customer and employee issues.
  • Reduced call handling times by 2 to 5 minutes.
  • Production of rich data for call center analytics and AI.
  • Improved call center employee satisfaction and retention through improved and simplified processes.

Here are just a few of the ways that automation can drive these benefits in customer care:

In addition to the uses for Intelligent Automation shown above, RPA is also commonly used in creating back-end processing automation for customer service chatbots. When a patient or internal employee interacts with a chatbot, RPA and AI work in the background to query data from relevant systems to provide answers to customer’s questions. Through RPA’s ability to work with applications that only provide UI accessibility, it allows modern technologies like chatbots to use data even in these legacy platforms.

Efficiently Drive Audit and Compliance

There are many aspects to compliance in a healthcare provider environment.  Some of these overlap with revenue cycle processes, while others focus on regulations such as HIPAA or the CARES Act associated with funding for COVID-19 response.  Some of the areas that Intelligent Automation can be applied in the regulatory compliance space include:

  • Identification of false claims
  • Finding physician or referral kickbacks
  • Determining whether unnecessary services are being ordered and performed
  • Performing Recovery Audits
  • Executing external reporting of audit data

Automation is also useful in the area of Contract Compliance. It can be used to continuously ensure a provider is getting paid what they should, track termination dates for renewals, and be used in the quality reporting processes associated with value-based care.

Increase Coverage and Free Up Resources by Automating Clinical Systems Testing

Healthcare provider teams that maintain the configuration and build of clinical systems (EMR, Registration and Scheduling, RIS, PAC, etc.) spend thousands of hours each year performing testing activity.  Functional, Unit and Integrated testing is performed during configuration of new functionality, application upgrade cycles and as a validation step after planned systems outages or unplanned downtime. By automating the steps for clinical systems testing using Intelligent Automation, teams can gain much of this time back to focus on accelerating timelines that provide additional clinical benefit through electronic systems for resolving workflow issues that are impacting clinicians.

Once automation is created to perform systems testing, the capability is also created to perform more complete testing after routing maintenance like patch installation, which can help uncover new issues that previously may have gone unnoticed until felt in production.

Efficiently Provide Self-Service IT Operations

IT Operations has no shortage of automation tools. Configuration Management tools like Ansible, Chef and Salt allow companies to orchestrate activities like environment provisioning and configuration, patch installation, compliance, and upgrades across server and network infrastructure alike. DevOps and CI/CD tools help with the software build process.  In this environment, where do Intelligent Automation tools like RPA have a place?

Two of the most common requests that we receive for RPA-type automation in IT Operations is in the act of help-desk automated issue resolution, as well as providing end-user self-service functionality. Every help desk has a ‘top 10’ list of issues that drive NOC and SOC operators to take action on a customer’s behalf. RPA can be used to work a queue in an ITSM system, and automatically resolve both customer-initiated tickets as well as system-generated alerts. RPA can be part of a CLIP (Closed Loop Incident Processing) workflow, in that as an ITSM ticket is generated, RPA can acknowledge receipt of the ticket and transition the state to In Progress, then attempt to perform resolution of the issue, and finally update the ticket status by either closing it out or escalating it to a next line of support.

Improve Patient and Employee Experience

Patient and employee experience improvement initiatives are high priorities in the digital transformation roadmaps of many healthcare providers in order to improve retention, raise satisfaction ratings, and realize additional revenue. While improving experience starts with understanding the current and ideal future state journey of a patient throughout their interaction with a provider, there are many

roles that Intelligent Automation can be applied in both customer-facing interactions as well as in optimizing the back-end processes that can make the difference in enabling quick, accurate customer engagement.

Here are just a few:

  • Automation throughout the registration and scheduling processes can drive not only improved customer experience, but higher revenue and lower administrative costs as well. Read our post to find out more!
  • Automate patient communications post-discharge to ensure instructions are well communicated and received by patients. By automating ongoing follow-up notifications, compliance can be increased and readmission rates decreased.
  • Employee experience can be improved through automation by streamlining interactions with HR, automatically resolving common IT trouble tickets, ensuring training and certification requirements are well communicated with plenty of time for attainment, and much more.
  • When patients need to interact with care agents, or employees need to interact with a help desk, automation can help ensure the health provider employees fielding these calls place their focus on interaction with the customer, while automation takes care of resolving issues or gathering information seamlessly in the background. This also can reduce average handling time of customer or employee calls.
  • Understanding customer sentiment is one key element in driving process improvement that increases satisfaction. RPA can be used to aggregate customer feedback across different platforms (both internal and public websites), and combined with NLP, can steer positive or negative feedback to the correct internal teams for follow-up, or even drive that initial follow-up through automation.

Look for upcoming posts where we dive into how to drive patient experience improvement in more detail!

 

Intelligent Automation with pureIntegration

pureIntegration has been partnering with our customers to automate their most challenging business and technical processes for over 15 years. We offer flexible engagement models and a factory approach to automation development—from building and maintaining automation long term as a managed service, or by building internal development expertise and an operations model (Center of Excellence) to drive automation initiatives, our team can get you off the ground quickly. Engage with us today to find out how to put 80,000 hours of automation experience to work for you!

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