10:20 07 June 2017
The switch to digital medical imaging and cloud storage has allowed hospitals and medical institutions to operate more efficiently. The implementation of electronic health records or EHRs soon after has also enabled better information management across the industry.
Today, doctors and physicians carry tablets through which they can access all the information they need. The only element of IT implementation that hasn’t been fully utilized in healthcare is automation, but that too is about to change. Here are the three main reasons why automation is finally coming to healthcare.
As one of the fastest-growing industries today, the healthcare industry is finding new ways to optimize its services while maintaining quality and consistency. These two aspects are becoming more and more important for two reasons. For starters, patients are expecting the best from their healthcare service providers, which is why newer systems are geared towards improving the quality of care.
On the other hand, consistency allows medical institutions to define standards. Some even use business process modeling or BPM software to standardize workflows and processes across the operation, allowing procedures to be optimized and followed.
Optimized flows mean a wealth of additional benefits, including cost savings and better human resources management. Automation is the answer to the growing demand for high-quality healthcare services and the limited resources – particularly human resources – available to service providers. Simple tasks such as updating patients’ medical records and sending references to other parts of the operations can now be done with a tap on the medical tablet.
Aside from the demand for quality healthcare services, today’s hospitals are also dealing with the demand for higher throughput. You can’t expect to meet the increasing demands of patients while sticking with the slower operational pace of yesterday. Today, hospitals are being pushed to attend to patients at a much faster rate.
Without automation, there are some negative impacts to anticipate from the push. Re-admission rate rose as soon as hospitals started to cater to more patients. In an attempt to increase throughput, standards were not met and the quality of care decreased soon after.
Automation approaches the problem correctly. It takes the mundane parts of the operation – such as getting proper scan results displayed for diagnostics or pulling key information from patients’ medical history – and turns them into automatic workflows. At the same time, doctors have better resources to use when attending to patients.
The last reason why automation will be an essential part of healthcare is cost. The switch to digital workflows alone has enabled hospitals to reduce operational costs substantially. Automating parts of those workflows will further reduce the costs while keeping waste to a minimum.
Experts are questioning whether automation will replace employees whose role is to do manually intensive tasks. The answer to this question remains to be seen. Based on the three reasons we’ve covered in this article, however, the implementation of automation across the healthcare industry is now a necessity.
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