RPA can streamline hospital capacity monitoring for COVID 19 cases. Even western countries with better hospitals and facilities were overwhelmed by the spread of the virus. Hospital capacity monitoring thus has become a priority. This data has to be collected. Before that, a study and decision are required as to what data are relevant for the monitoring. Once this information is in place, design a method to collect the data. Based on that the RPA team may prepare the workflow, plan capacities, and give access to relevant people at touchpoints to make decisions, ask for more resources, capacity planning, etc.
Corona Virus has put the hospitals across the globe into a spin with the number of patients skyrocketing and the risk of medical service personnel contracting the disease rising. The challenge is acute even in Western countries with better hospital facilities and the developing countries where the facilities are lacking.
In addition to the direct treatment challenges, healthcare providers are assigned with the task of managing levels of inventory, supporting the digitalization of patient files, optimized scheduling of patient appointments, management of billing and insurance claims processing.
According to experts, healthcare has the potential of about 36% of all processes for automation. That is one-third of all processes that can be automated, mostly back-office functions.
The escalating virus cases would demand a bigger coverage. RPA providers and healthcare authorities are to devote considerable time and resources to make this automation accurate so that the fight to prevent a major escalation can be won.
Take the case of a major hospital with, say about 3000 employees and some 150,000 patients. It’s a major set-up and even without a pandemic like the Covid-19, the infrastructure would be struggling at the brim.
And imagine, all of a sudden the requirement is coming up to test, segregate, and treat patients twice that number. And that too almost immediately.
Hospital capacity monitoring has become a top priority. All the relevant data and associated components are to be tabulated. Simultaneously a managerial decision is required to go ahead with the speedy task of automation.
Once the requirements are identified, a method is required to actually collect the data and details. Based on that, the RPA vendor or inhouse team may prepare the workflow, plan capacities, and decide on who will be given access to the information.
The challenges are:
- A sudden increase in patient numbers
- Additional staffing requirements
- Additional beds taking distancing into consideration
- Extra sanitation requirements
- Lack of outpatient facilities
- Need of segregation so that the virus-infected will not transmit it to others
- Accessories like PPE kit and ventilators
- Overworked staff who are scared of contracting the virus from a patient
- How to handle the regular non-corona cases
- Possibility of deploying mechanical robots to perform some risky tasks
- Manufacture of such robots
- Patient, disease, and recovery, etc data assembling and analysis
Once the pain points are identified, a talented team is to work on preparing a workflow. The workflow could look something like this.
The sample workflow for a hospital may cover the below aspects:
- Parking for ambulances and others
- Treatment area separation
- Worker assignment
- Virus kits
- Case charts and recording
- Data capture
- Interface to Health Ministry/ Authorities
- Interface to law enforcement
- Communication with relatives of patients
- Management of regular patients (Business as Usual)
- Counseling to medical staff, patients, and relations
Workflow automation is then addressed in a three-pronged manner:
- Those items to be managed manually. That is maintaining the current format or a designed new format to accommodate the surge in-service needs.
- Those areas where mechanical robots can replace human tasks, especially those where contamination and spread of the virus is feared
- Those tasks can be automated with software robots (bots) thereby ensuring speed, accuracy, and continuous processing. The monotony of human repetitive work is thus avoided
The main focus of RPA implementers will be on item number 3 above. Here the main element is the data and automation including sophisticated analytical and predictive tools are useful for optimum performance and learning.
Analytical tools employed in the process will facilitate timely and efficient tabulation of data at the hospital, regional, national, and international levels.
As always, the data and access security aspects are important in the bot’s area. Many of the patient information collated at the hospital are very confidential in nature. And as such the security aspects just like in the case of competitive business or government departments are essential in the case of hospital data including the data and analysis of the pandemic.
Robotic Process Automation undoubtedly simplifies and makes accurate processing of patient and disease information. However, the scope of coverage is less than that of other types of processes. One of the reasons is the additional importance of the need to physically protect the health workers and other general public from contracting the deadly virus.
On that background, the design, and use of physical robots, powered by artificial intelligence may become more critical. We can visualize the efficiency and confidence when sci-fi looking mechanical robots, with the required intelligence, move around hospital beds of the virus-infected patients and perform duties hitherto performed by hospital personnel.
RPA is critical for hospital management in this Covid -19 period.
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