The Benefits of Using Automation to Alleviate Administrative Burden
When physicians are surveyed about burnout, they typically point to one area as the most taxing: administrative duties. That’s not surprising, given that almost half a doctor’s workday is spent on administrative work.
Nearly 65 percent of physicians are experiencing signs of burnout. Half of nurses have considered leaving the profession because of it.
Often omitted in discussions about burnout are allied health professionals, who comprise 60 percent of that of the total healthcare workforce. These employees are crucial to patient care, safety, engagement, and satisfaction. Many of them work hectic 12-hour shifts — plus overtime — without making much money. Some spend countless hours ensuring various clinical processes and procedures run smoothly, even while being responsible for an array of often time-consuming administrative tasks.
Numerous Advantages of Automation
There is some positive news for the healthcare industry, though. About one-third of the tasks performed by healthcare practitioners and technical occupations can be automated, providing a myriad of benefits for both providers and patients.
For example, along with a focus on patient-centered care, automation can be used to proactively improve quality and consistency of healthcare and reduce waste and costs. For clinicians specifically, it can be utilized to help them communicate and collaborate more efficiently, complete tasks in less time or with less effort, more efficiently utilize available resources, and reduce the time waiting for others to complete tasks. Most importantly, it gives them more time to spend with their patients.
Healthcare providers across the United States are employing automation to not only streamline administrative aspects of their business but also meet and exceed their clinical, financial, and operational objectives. Technology solutions that employ automation improve provider documentation and increase accuracy, revenue, and reimbursement.
Of the $372 billion spent on administrative complexity with the U.S. healthcare system, an additional $16.3 billion could be saved through workflow automation, according to the report. Just a few years ago, it was found that using digital technology for eligibility and benefit verification automation saved the healthcare industry $85.6 billion.
One of the biggest ways automation achieves lower costs is by reducing medical errors. How? By mitigating errors associated with the manual entry of data. Such mistakes — whether intentional or not — cost the U.S. approximately $20 billion annually and result in roughly 100,000 deaths each year.
Alos, by automating repetitive analyses and procedures, automation increases productivity and efficiency for healthcare professionals working in medical groups, health systems, and hospitals. For the majority of healthcare workers, it promotes improved patient monitoring and management, more comprehensive reporting, faster data retrieval, and boosted employee satisfaction.
For healthcare payers, automation assists in closing gaps in patient care and promoting preventive care through numerous screenings. An added advantage? It helps to remove access barriers that prevent their members from receiving the care they need.
Applications of Automation for Healthcare Providers
There are multiple applications for automation in healthcare. Through automated workflows, a single task or a series of pre-determined ones can be assigned to a patient. Staffing notifications can then be added into an electronic health record (EHR), thereby providing a feedback loop of task completion status.
Automation also can assist in managing inventory, entering repetitive data, and digitizing patient files. On the clinical side, in radiology, it offers improved interpretation of medical images. Studies have confirmed the value of automation in processing medical scan results and found it offers quicker and more accurate diagnoses.
Some other common examples of processes that are being replaced with automation in healthcare include:
- Prescription refills
- Medical record transfers
- Patient surveys and questionnaires
- Patient-provider communication
- Provider-provider communication
- Chronic disease management
- Educational information distribution
Employing Digital Health Tools to Automate Patient Intake
Patient engagement continues to be a hot topic for healthcare providers and payers alike. HIPAA-compliant, automated text, voice, or email reminders can be personalized and customized to remind patients of upcoming visits and preventive screening opportunities at regular intervals. These types of automated patient outreach solutions enable providers and payers to contact patients through their preferred method, thereby helping to improve patient satisfaction while saving time and promoting workflow efficiency for staff members.
As noted by the MGMA, digital health tools that use automation — automated appointment reminder systems, patient scheduling availability, check-in solutions and online payment options — have achieved the most positive results in recent years. Why? Because they streamline practice workflow, improve patient experience, and lead to more efficient and effective care delivery.
Of the administrative duties for which healthcare providers are responsible, prior authorization is probably the most frustrating and time-consuming. In a survey conducted by the American Medical Association, 86 percent of physicians described their prior authorization load as a “high” or “extremely high” burden, with 91 percent saying the process delays care and negatively affects clinical outcomes. There’s certainly improvement available in this area, as only about 25 percent of prior authorization work is automated.
Schedule a meeting with our team to see how the digital health tools offered by Kyruus and Epion Health can alleviate some of the administrative tasks burdening your employees.