How Healthcare Teams Are Using Data Entry Automation to Keep Up

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Data entry, such as medical billing and insurance claims, can be a time-consuming process that leads to a backlog very quickly. If a step is missed, or an error happens along the way, it can make an impact on both patients and workers. Insurance claims can end up delayed, or incorrect billing statements can create payment discrepancies, both ending up as costly mistakes.

Additionally, the amount of information has increased massively over the last three years. Processing this data can quickly become an overwhelming task. With the large influx of new patients thanks to the ongoing pandemic, workers are becoming burnt out by the long hours of repetitive work. These workers are leaving jobs faster now than ever, leaving that additional burden to whoever is left.

But technology struggles to create efficiency in healthcare. With so many disparate systems and so much critically sensitive data, it's not as if the solution lies in a simple re-platform. Healthcare teams are, for the most part, stuck with processes they have in place now, and can only optimize within those parameters with new software solutions – there is simply not getting around the red tape and tedious processes themselves.

According to a study performed by Oracle, 40% of the healthcare executives surveyed said their systems aren’t designed to fit the specific needs of the healthcare industry.

The Struggles with Data Entry in Healthcare

The last few years have made a massive impact in the healthcare industry. The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it an extreme increase in patients, reduced staffing, and created complications with implementing new protocols, which exacerbated existing issues within the system. 

It’s no secret that the healthcare industry is notoriously short-staffed before the pandemic, and since the onset of these problems, that issue has been exacerbated. Since February 2020, one in five healthcare workers have quit their jobs, and healthcare employers are down half a million workers according to Altarium.

Even with sufficient staffing, there are often issues that come along with how data entry tasks are performed and processed. Issues oftentimes come from archaic, disparate systems that don’t communicate with each other.

Crucial data is sometimes fragmented and spread across several different parts of an organization, such as lab data, electronic health records, financial systems, and hospital systems. Trying to unite these systems under one umbrella and streamline those processes has proven to be a difficult task, until recently.


What is RPA?

Using robotic process automation (RPA), a healthcare provider can instead choose to make this process completely automated by a digital worker. RPA, in layman’s terms, is automation software that is custom-tailored to handle repetitive or mundane tasks that don’t require human judgment or creativity, but rather, a set of logic-based conditions that are almost always the same. It can perform work around the clock, and carry out repetitive tasks that follow a specific set of rules or workflow.

RPA is quickly becoming a key tool for businesses in the digital age. It’s proven to save up to 90% of a workforce’s time, allowing leaders to reassign their employees to work on more high-value tasks, such as insurance claim denials, customer service, and more.

What Are the Benefits of Automated Data Entry?

Businesses and healthcare organizations are getting more out of automation than ever before. Thanks to the democratization of automation technology, even mid-size organizations are now able to access the same custom automation solutions that enterprises use to process millions of terabytes of data.

  • Tailored to your needs. With automated data entry, the entire process can be tailored exactly to the needs of your organization’s workflow. It doesn’t matter what software your organization uses – digital workers work within your current systems, and do not require a re-platform, or any off-site data storage.
  • Better accuracy. Of course, with any human input, there’s a chance of mistakes happening. People aren’t perfect. Automated workers can decrease errors to nearly zero, with 99.99% accuracy if the process is solid.
  • Reduce costs. Automated data entry can impact an organization’s bottom line, too. Using RPA can reduce the need for multiple full-time employees, so that organizations can better utilize their budget to meet other pain points, such as technology upgrades, or higher wages.
  • Prevent employee burnout. Medical billing is critical work, essential to the flow and function of all healthcare organizations. Automation reduces the stress of always feeling behind and gets employees off the hamster wheel, giving them better work-life balance, and more time to focus on patient care.

What About HIPAA and Sensitive Patient Information?

When it comes to data in the healthcare industry, privacy and security is essential.  RPA solutions are as secure, private, and compliant as the processes they’re built off of. 

Because these digital workers are designed to work within your existing software and follow your processes exactly, they keep patient information private and secure. Everything is kept within your organization’s own ecosystem.

Author

Dan Parsons

Dan is the co-founder and COO of Thoughtful. He’s built his career in helping startups build incredible product roadmaps, driving innovation with strategic decision-making and thoughtful process improvements. Now, he’s taken that passion for innovation and project success and turned it into a way for companies of all sizes to scale their own operations, faster.

Custom automation for complex healthcare workflows

Back-office healthcare workers have a complex job. They have to log into countless portals, look up benefit information in EOBs, file claims on time, apply patient responsibility, send invoices... It's an endless job, and one that keeps these teams stressed out, overwhelmed, and in a higher state of turnover. Thoughtful uses your logic and processes to complete these tasks directly within these programs just like a human would, with impeccable speed and accuracy, so your team can get back to patient care, and conquer their backlog. To learn more about automation use cases in healthcare, download our whitepaper.

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