Healthcare Workflow Automation
Healthcare managers are often tasked with improving efficiency and reducing administration costs, which can be achieved through healthcare workflow automation. Workflow is defined as the sequence of repeatable administrative, mental, or physical tasks that must be performed by employees from the beginning to the end of a working process.
What is Workflow Automation in Healthcare?
Healthcare workflows can be complex, often involve a lot of paperwork and administration, and while they ensure quality care is delivered and patient safety is assured, they are not always efficient. Workflow automation in healthcare involves using information technology to automate repetitive workflows and it is critical to the success of healthcare organizations.
Inefficiencies in clinical workflows result in resources being underutilized, which has a negative effect on the bottom line. The time of nurses and physicians is extremely valuable, yet a significant amount of time is wasted as a result of inefficient workflows.
Through automation, manual tasks can be reduced, the amount of effort required to complete tasks is lessened, and healthcare processes can be accelerated. Through healthcare workflow automation, paperwork can be eliminated and be replaced with electronic documentation, repetition can be reduced, approvals and sign-offs can be received faster, and all information processed through automated workflows is much easier to access and find.
Workflow automation in healthcare is not only concerned with improving efficiency and effectiveness to increase productivity and cut costs. Automation can also greatly improve patient safety and help clinicians deliver higher quality care.
Benefits of Healthcare Workflow Automation
There are many benefits of healthcare workflow automation. Labor-intensive processes can be streamlined, paperwork can be reduced, and the amount of time clinicians spend on administrative tasks can be significantly reduced, which means physicians and nurses get more face to face time with patients. Automation reduces the potential for medical errors and improves patient safety. The efficiencies that are introduced through automation mean clinicians can treat more patients in less time, and staff burnout can be reduced, which is all too common in the healthcare industry.
Inefficient processes are a major cause of frustration for healthcare professionals. Physicians and nurses often end up wasting a great deal of time because of inefficient processes and poor communication systems. Through the use of technology, processes can be streamlined and communication and collaboration greatly improved, which has a positive effect on staff morale. Patient flow can be improved through automation and wait times reduced, which improves patient satisfaction. There are usually many disparate systems in hospitals. The technology used to automate workflows can be used to improve interoperability and get these systems to talk to each other. Data can be pulled out of one system and inputted into another, with minimal manual processes.
Healthcare providers that have automated their workflows have seen enormous benefits such as increased patient throughput, reductions in hospital stays and readmissions, faster admissions, discharges, and patient transfer times, and better patient outcomes. Automation has also allowed hospitals to treat more patients in less time and greatly improve ROI, deliver a better standard of care to patients, and drive down the cost of healthcare provision.
Healthcare Workflow Automation Technology
Artificial intelligence shows great promise for improving workflow automation in healthcare. AI and machine learning systems are now being used to diagnose patients faster. Medical images are fed into AI-based systems to assist with the diagnosis of diseases, improving efficiency in pathology departments. AI and machine learning systems have also been used to improve inventory management, billing, patient scheduling and much more.
One of the automation technologies that has had the most wide-reaching benefits in healthcare is secure texting. Secure text messaging platforms have revolutionized communication in the healthcare industry. The platforms have allowed healthcare providers to eliminate pagers and other outmoded communication methods such as faxes and email and eliminate the considerable waste that results from inefficient communication.
Secure messaging offers faster, more effective communication which has helped healthcare professionals treat more patients, in less time, and achieve better success rates. Secure text messaging has helped eliminate communication errors and improve patient safety. The platforms have helped with HIPAA compliance and qualifying for payments through the Meaningful Use incentive program.
Secure text messaging platforms not only improve communication and collaboration, they also ensure health information can be exchanged more easily. The platforms integrate seamlessly with EHRs and help to close gaps in EHR functionality. Through integration with EHRs, information can be easily exchanged between the app and the EHR. EHR alerts can be sent directly to the app without having to login to the EHR. The platforms also integrate with other systems such as nurse call systems, medical laboratories, phone systems, scheduling, answering services, and medical imaging systems.
Organizations that have adopted secure text messaging platforms to improve healthcare workflow automation have seen measurable improvements in patient transfer times, bed utilization, patient throughput, clinical outcomes, and patient satisfaction.