What Is Workflow Automation in Healthcare?

Posted on
May 19, 2020

Ever since Arthur Samuel popularized the term Machine Learning in 1959, ‘routine tasks’ have been codified and automated. Recent advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Computer Vision, and Machine Learning have vastly increased the number of workflows and tasks that can be easily automated. Combined, these technologies facilitate advanced data processing, which makes it possible to computerize tasks that require high-level reasoning.

Workflows are comprised of tasks performed sequentially and by multiple stakeholders. Automation reduces human efforts expended in performing repetitive tasks within an organization thereby paving the way to save time, costs and improve efficiency by getting things done right the first time. Workflow automation has proven use cases across industries and healthcare is no exception.

The healthcare industry, in its pursuit of improving quality, reducing costs and ensuring regulatory compliance, is leveraging technology to evolve new care models whose success largely depends on relentless digitization and automation. Read on to find out how workflow automation has started yielding productivity and efficiency gains to the leaders in healthcare.

Advantages of Workflow Automation in Healthcare

Reduce Burnout

Workflow automation minimizes the need for staff to carry out repetitive, draining, and manual tasks, thereby reducing the possibility of staff burnout. Instead, healthcare personnel can focus on initiative-driven tasks that require creativity and foresight which would enhance the quality of patient care.

Reduce Costs

By itself, cost containment and rationalization strategies could adversely impact operations. But with workflow automation, organizations mitigate this risk by getting rid of redundancies and inefficiencies in its processes, which ultimately increases operational efficiency.

Data Security

HIPAA Security Rules in the US and the more recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU has succeeded in putting Data Security at the core of all digitization initiatives of the healthcare industry.

Workflow automation with audit trail functionality greatly enhances ease of compliance for healthcare companies and reduces the number of personnel involved in handling confidential information. Compartmentalization is another goal that is simply not possible to achieve without automation in place.

Applications of Workflow Automation in Healthcare

Hospital Facility Management

From safety and security systems, HVAC systems to the data center, managing the infrastructure of a hospital is quite challenging. Processes and communication protocols notwithstanding, even experienced facility managers are perennially gripped with the fear of that one incident which could disrupt operations.

Communication regarding all tasks related to maintenance and management is spread across various email accounts, phone calls, conversations in the hallways which makes it impossible (or at least inconvenient) to track and monitor. Identifying workflows to automate allows the facility manager to track the progress and maintain a record of various tasks that were defined to promote health of systems.

Product Evaluation

When vendors suggest new products, individual clinical personnel have to evaluate and review those recommendations. Tracking these reviews and evaluations is usually challenging, not to mention time-consuming. Instead of tying up valuable clinical personnel, workflow automation can be leveraged to automatically transfer product information to the relevant channels (be it the IT staff, clinical staff, engineering staff, etc.) The appropriate personnel can then review and log their findings within the system thereby preserving information in a central repository.

Employee Requests

Web based workflow automation makes it easy for employees of healthcare facilities to log in and trigger workflows such as approvals, asset, information and support requests. These workflows can be configured such that every task has a time limit and alerts are sent automatically by the system.

Now it is apparent how workflow automation systems with audit trail capabilities transform a healthcare provider into being more responsive than reacting to events beyond their control. With the right technology partner who has worked with leaders in the healthcare industry, you can quickly identify and automate processes while ensuring seamless continuity of operations.

As a healthcare professional, you are aware that your industry generates a humongous amount of data every single day. Have you ever wondered how to analyze data to spot a trend and be at the forefront of change? Contact us for more information on how workflow automation can enhance your organization's day-to-day activities. We have some interesting case studies on Robotic Process Automation in Healthcare.

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