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Whether an organisation uses largely manual platforms or employs automation in healthcare, accuracy and accountability are essential. Hospital systems, medical equipment distributors, and even large pharmaceutical corporations enjoy improved internal controls, efficiencies, reliable reporting, and patient satisfaction when using workflow automation.

This seemingly next-generation technology has been widely embraced in other industries. If you are a healthcare business professional who wants to reduce repetitive manual tasks, remove errors, lower costs, and improve patient outcomes, these are things to consider about healthcare workflow automation across office services.

What is workflow automation?

Workflow automation involves designing and executing processes that complete tasks within a system’s guidelines, without the need for employee intervention. Essential data and patient files can be routed between healthcare networks and medical professionals to deliver critical information in real time.

Automation in healthcare also helps keep the patient, as well as key stakeholders, apprised of appointments and results in a timely fashion. By integrating enterprise software, automation in healthcare eliminates the need for staff members to spend time on repetitive duties while reducing potential human errors.

How does workflow automation fit with healthcare?

Although the medical community has lagged behind other sectors — to some degree — healthcare workflow automation is a seamless fit for an industry dependent on data often trapped in documents and systems. In many cases, office services rely on multiple systems to perform otherwise singular tasks.

The growing complexity of the medical sector’s programs, regulatory guidelines, and reliance on people-driven care make it cumbersome. The notion that each process in patient scheduling, revenue cycle management, billing, and inventory management requires a staff member to take an action results in unnecessarily high costs. That’s why few industries need automated office services more than the healthcare industry.

How automation can help increase efficiencies

The basic concept of any business process automation involves staff members having to perform fewer repetitive tasks or being able to accomplish more responsibilities within a timeframe. In essence, automation in healthcare, or any industry, is equivalent to improved efficiency. These are examples of how healthcare workflow automation proves beneficial.

• Reduces Burnout: Performing the same tasks, again and again, tends to diminish the motivation of staff members. Healthcare workflow automation allows valued employees to focus on achieving goals and enjoy a greater sense of accomplishment.

• Improves Accuracy: An automated system involves setting parameters and allowing the technology to operate quietly in the background. Once messaging and file-sharing processes have been correctly established, they remain infallible. The same cannot be said of human beings.

• Effective Communication: When people are responsible for maintaining ongoing communication with hundreds of patients and colleagues, gaps are inevitable. For example, a team member may be out sick, or someone may become distracted by an urgent office services matter. Workflow automation services systems do not call in sick or need to deal with emergencies. They simply send out necessary messages on time.

• Accountability & Visibility: Supervisors and other stakeholders can track the workflow of healthcare services to ensure ailing community members are receiving quality care in a timely fashion. Automated systems can be tailored to require administrative personnel, providers, and technicians to update patient files as they do their part. This facet holds everyone accountable and furthers the interests of patients.

• Patient Satisfaction: Automated systems can be set to touch base with patients and a designated family member at critical junctures. Reminders within 24-48 hours before appointments and messages to contact physicians when test results become available are ways patients can feel like they have not been lost in the system

Employing automation in healthcare also helps reduce overhead and costs passed along to insurance companies and everyday people. Healthcare industry leaders want to deliver the best possible outcomes and automation furthers that goal.

How automation can help increase efficiences

The power of automation for NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) supports improved quality of life for hundreds of thousands of Australians struggling with disabilities. With the recent national budget indicating surging costs of the NDIS program, automation presents a clear and proven strategy with which providers can achieve structural costs savings without impacting the quality of services.

In terms of practitioners and office services personnel fulfilling their caregiving mandates, automation can alleviate recurring invoice burdens and interface with government systems, such as Provider Digital Access, while keeping confidential information secure.

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What are healthcare automation use cases?

Along with improved patient care, automation in healthcare boosts productivity across long-standing administrative duties. These real applications include uses such as the following.

• Patient Records: With patients and services spread across the country, developing and maintaining a single source of patient information is critical to ensuring integrity and accuracy. Technologies such as digitisation and automation can ensure data captured in paper, digital, web format all ends up in single centralise location.

• Applications & Forms processing: With new patients or services, come new requestions for collecting and handling information. Workflow automation an remove the burden of manually handling this documents, dramatically increasing efficiency and eliminating errors.

• Bookings & Appointments: Physically inputting appointments into healthcare networks has become increasingly time consuming. High rescheduling rates persist and regulations surrounding appropriate providers and locations can prove overwhelming. Deploying automated online scheduling tools minimises the need for office services personnel to reschedule appointments.

• Data Sharing: The collaborative tools involved in automation allow healthcare professionals to access vital records at multiple facilities. This means decision-makers can review the most up-to-date patient information when diagnosing conditions, advising about treatments, and prescribing medications.

• Outbound communications: Keeping patients up to date is also where automation can play an important role. Updates to programs, policies or their own profiles can be automated and sent out through multi-channel communication (email, post, sms) to ensure that get the information they need.

Integrating AI tools can also cut down on a healthcare provider needing to click numerous boxes and windows to exit a file. And exception management software solutions can seamlessly monitor applications to resolve business issues.

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How to achieve workflow compliance?

Given that the healthcare sector ranks among the most regulated and highly transparent, countless hours are typically spent to ensure government compliance. While some organisations limit their automation to administrative purposes, wide-reaching compliance benefits can be gained by integrating these technologies across HR, customer service, and managed IT, among others. These are common ways healthcare workflow automation can ease the cost and effort required to meet compliance guidelines.

Integrate regulatory requirements directly into automation functionality

Enhance workflow approval and documentation policies

Provide workflow interoperability with other healthcare systems

Build in improved internal controls for audit oversight

Consolidate repetitive tasks and internal office services

Include necessary cybersecurity protocols within the automated information system

Standardise policies and personnel onboarding

It’s essential that healthcare decision-makers exercise due diligence when building a business relationship with a managed IT firm. Not every firm possesses the experience and expertise to integrate workflow automation in healthcare operations and meet heightened regulatory compliance.

How CBS can help with workflow automation

At Canon Business Process Services, we understand the people, processes, technology, and analytics required to provide effective automation in healthcare. 

See how we’ve help NDIS provider Endeavor Foundation use automation to dramatically remove manual, repetitive and time consuming processes, here.

If you would like to improve efficiencies, support a positive work environment, and ensure the best possible patient outcomes, our experienced workflow automation specialists are here to help. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact CBS today.

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