The Benefits of Automation in Healthcare

Andile Khumalo

Data Standardization and Automation Technologies Minimize Monotony While Maximizing Efficiency

Process automation has the ability to help healthcare institutions improve efficiencies, better manage workloads, and speed up time-consuming, manual, paper-based tasks. However, the potential that automation has to assist and protect healthcare professionals is often overlooked.

In the Medscape National Physician Burnout & Suicide Report 2021, a physician described  increased bureaucratic tasks, the increased computerization of practice and complex government regulations, among other burnout factors, as ‘death by 1000 cuts.’ The medical community faces immense pressure to meet targets, cut costs, transform healthcare and serve patients. And to do all this within tighter budgets and timelines. Technology is, for around 28% of those surveyed, a contributing factor to their burnout, when it should in actual fact be a support mechanism that adds value.

Data automation has the potential to transform the complexities and tedium of the healthcare admin burden, reducing the amount of time healthcare practitioners spend on time-consuming admin and processes. It also has the potential to cut costs for healthcare institutions and to streamline tasks that were previously manual and complex. The value lies not just in money savings and patient data optimization, but in improving physician well being, reducing burnout, and transforming overall patient care.

The Healthcare Dynamic

There are several challenges facing the healthcare profession when it comes to data.  

Disparate Data

The first challenge is the amount of data, that is often widely dispersed across different healthcare institutions and locations. A patient may see a general practitioner for one thing, a specialist for something else, and a visit to the hospital for a procedure. This results in various data collection points and a fractured viewpoint for each healthcare provider. Thus, relying on the patient to accurately provide relevant information to better understand the patient’s health and history.

High Volumes of Data

Another challenge facing practitioners is the number of patients they interact with on a daily basis. Whether in the emergency room, doctor’s office, or in the hospital, healthcare providers manage extraordinary patient volumes. As patient records become increasingly digitized and capable, physicians face the data problem from the other side of the coin as well – too much information, too little time. Most healthcare providers are struggling to translate their massive amounts of data into true value and a sustainable competitive advantage. They have too much data and are generating too few actionable insights. By the time they do extract all the valuable nuggets, the window of opportunity to act on those insights has long passed.

Data Privacy

Then there is the complication of patient privacy and security. In healthcare, perhaps more so than in any other sector, patient privacy is critical. Organizations that fail to protect and preserve this privacy face financial and reputational losses that are almost impossible to recover from – nobody wants their financial, personal, and health information shared with the world. HIPAA specifies data privacy and security requirements for protecting key health information. These are just some of the fines that have been issued for HIPAA violations within recent years:

  • Advocate Health Care Network: $5.55 million fine for unauthorized disclosure of nearly 4 million health records due to theft
  • The Feinstein Institute: $3.9 million fine as a result of a stolen laptop containing unprotected PHI of 13,000 research participants
  • CardioNet: $2.5 million fine after misunderstanding of HIPAA requirements resulted in a potential breach

Data Storage

Finally, the big problem with healthcare data is just that – it’s big. The cost of storing and managing such enormous quantities of cumulative data can become prohibitive, therefore, healthcare institutions need to find smart and capable ways of storing, accessing and using the data. Healthcare data is relevant, from first patient contact onwards, and it is imperative that patient data  is secured and stored properly.  

The Benefit of the Healthcare Automation Option

Enter data automation, the technology that has the ability to manage the various data challenges faced by medical institutions. Data automation is the highly capable process of collecting, processing, or securely storing large amounts of data using automated tools that bypass the need for tedious manual inputs or processes. It reduces the risk of error while increasing the potential for the sector to connect the data dots, allowing physicians to gain a far richer understanding of patients and their long-term care.

There are numerous benefits to leveraging data automation. The first is that the business intelligence that comes from the smart and efficient use of data automation to clean, collect and manage data can fundamentally shift the administrative burden sitting on physician’s shoulders. With the right tools at the organization’s disposal, the data that has been autonomously collated can be analyzed to provide physicians with information that can potentially help them with diagnoses, or catch unexpected illnesses. If physicians have visibility into patient data, they can fundamentally improve their approaches to patient care which will reduce their burden and risk of burnout.

In addition, healthcare institutions can leverage data automation alongside business intelligence and analytics tool kits to reduce patient waiting times, triage, and assess risk factors. Plus, with the right insights at hand, hospitals can more realistically assess patient treatment costs, readmission risks and length of stay, improving budgeting and resource allocation.  

The judicious use of data automation puts healthcare institutions on a far better foundation, giving them access to clean and well-managed data that can then be funneled correctly. It will cut costs and stress by opening data up to practitioners and institutions in ways that will improve the provision of healthcare.

Intelligent EDI

There is one data caveat that comes with all these benefits – the right solution. There is plenty of value to be had in the data, and plenty of improvements to be felt by its automation, but these will only happen with the right integration partner on board. To fully transform how the healthcare institution engages with its data, you need to use a platform capable of integrating with partners, suppliers, vendors and systems with ease. Integration is absolutely key.

Synatic’s Hybrid Integration Platform provides next-generation EDI functionality and innovation built to promote healthcare system modernization. Synatic is designed to support key EDI specifications and formats and include API connectivity, to support EDI and B2B communication. With Synatic you can ensure accurate reporting, seamless onboarding, and extensive data consolidation.  

By partnering with Synatic, healthcare institutions can unlock their data and gain far greater control over their relevance and visibility. Synatic has worked with numerous organizations globally, providing them with data automation solutions that have reduced costs, improved resource management, increased accuracy, and transformed the way they use data in order to make it work for them. In the way they need.  

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