Why the Healthcare Industry can Benefit from Automation

In January 2009, a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine looked at the benefits of automation in Texas hospitals. According to the report, increased automation of notes and records was associated with a 15-percent decrease in the odds of in-hospital death.

In the decade since then, automation technology has only increased and today, automation isn’t just leading to better patient outcomes; it’s also helping hospital systems cuts costs and reduce waste. Here are three ways automation is helping healthcare organizations thrive.

Increasing Attendance

When a patient fails to show up for an appointment without calling to cancel, it can greatly drain a health provider’s resources. But according to a report published in 2016, the use of text notifications can help improve attendance at clinics. The report, published by a group of researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry, examined the behavior of 8345 patients who received electronic text notifications and 7731 patients who did not. According to the report, patients who received notifications were 23 percent more likely to make their appointments than those who received no notification. Additionally those receiving notifications were 25 percent less likely to “no show” for appointments. The study examined patients in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and America and found similar results across the board.

Cutting Costs

Utilizing artificial intelligence is another way technology can be used to automate human processes in healthcare settings. Applications for AI in healthcare include robot-assisted surgery, virtual nursing assistants, and automated image diagnosis. But AI can also help with administrative workflow, reducing dosage errors, fraud detection and cybersecurity. And according to a report released this year by Accenture, a management consulting and professional services firm, AI is a key tool for helping healthcare organizations grow. According to Accenture, clinical health AI applications are predicted to create as much as $150 billion in annual savings for the U.S. healthcare economy by 2026.

Improving Care

In June, the Institute for Public Policy Research in England released a report looking at the future of healthcare. Among the report’s many recommendations, automation was listed as a tool for reducing strain on the country’s healthcare systems. The report theorizes that automating some healthcare processes like communicating medical notes, booking appointments, and processing prescriptions, can free up clinician time for improving patient care. According to the report, “if all of the potential for automation of current roles was realised there would be a potential productivity improvement valued at £12.5 billion a year.” That’s equal to 10 percent of the budget of England’s publicly funded health system.

Many are concerned about the number of jobs that will potentially be eliminated as a result of rapid automation. But in the healthcare industry, there are many functions technology will never be able to replicate. According to several recent reports, both doctors and patients still prefer human interaction and there are many health services a robot just can’t provide.

Health systems around the world continue to face massive labor shortages in clinical positions like nursing. And all the while, healthcare costs continue to rise as health providers are looking for ways to do more with less. For these reasons, automation should be seen as a valuable tool in the healthcare industry where it can complement the work of service providers, not replace them.

Treehouse Technology Group is working with healthcare organizations to help them implement valuable tools that can help them operate more efficiently. We’ve worked with several groups to automate their processes and bring their organizations into the 21st century. If you’re interested in transforming your operation and want to work with a company with a successful track record, contact TTG for a free consultation. We specialize in helping companies develop robust solutions best suited for their specific business needs.

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