By A.J. Hanna
January’s announcement that Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan would create a jointly led, independent healthcare company for U.S. associates certainly caused quite the stir in the market. This group of powerful executives and their companies are not the first, and won’t be the last, to attempt to influence the way healthcare is delivered and financed in this country.
As Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan join forces to attempt to find better and cheaper healthcare solutions, one thing has become abundantly clear: the U.S. healthcare market is ripe for disruption. Thankfully, there are solutions already available today that can simplify healthcare and deliver significant organizational and cost efficiencies by automating core processes.
Currently, there are a variety of intelligent automation tools available on the market, one of which is Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA is an enterprise software tool that today’s most forward-thinking global enterprises are leveraging to automate routine, rules-based work. The tool has the ability to perform high-volume, transactional tasks in a more cost-effective and streamlined manner.
More often than not, this includes administrative back-office tasks, such as data entry and payroll processing, or any transactions that are based off a set of clearly defined rules. With tools like RPA, healthcare organizations can eliminate the time spent conducting manual, mind-numbing duties like researching eligibility, coverage, medical history and so on – thereby significantly reducing costs and increasing both speed and accuracy.
Not only can automation tools streamline core processes, but they also free employees to pursue more value-added activities requiring strategy, creativity and empathy – skills that are inherent to people. This is particularly critical in an industry like healthcare, where the increasing complexities of today’s market have turned workers into “human APIs.” Automation takes the robot out of the human, freeing up workers to focus on more meaningful and gratifying tasks. This often leads to higher job satisfaction amongst employees and improved levels of satisfaction amongst customers, who benefit from both faster, automation-enabled processes and supported, satisfied business representatives.
Healthcare businesses that are interested in automation should consider systems like billing, claims processing, scheduling, EMRs and even megalithic ERP – which are commonplace regardless of the segment of healthcare in which the company operates. In most instances, these separately operating, disconnected specialty applications – while helping solve specific challenges – drive additional complexity and cost. And those costs only increase if organizations have to integrate or standardize multiple systems after mergers – which occur quite frequently in the healthcare sector. A tool like RPA can help healthcare organizations mitigate the disconnect between these systems, as it’s able to extract and deliver data across various platforms to help decision makers conduct work more efficiently than ever before.
With the immense complexity of the U.S. healthcare market, and with American demands for reduced costs and more efficient service growing, it’s clear that the system is ready for change. For those organizations that are unsure of what the future holds following the Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan joint announcement, considering a tool like RPA can help drive both operational and financial efficiencies, while keeping employees happier and more engaged.
A.J. Hanna is vice president client advocacy for Symphony Ventures.