The move away from paper-based processes has benefitted hospitals and healthcare organizations immensely. Digitizing patient records has improved the flow of information and the efficiency with which tasks are completed, speeding up patient care. But hospitals are extremely complex ecosystems. Simply using digital tools for the method of storing and sharing content across the organization is no longer enough, if the processes behind the content remain manual.
The many interlinking arms of healthcare organizations mean hospital staff based in different medical wings or even buildings need to communicate to discuss the health of patients. The need to send documents and healthcare records back and forth is therefore imperative, but the hospital must ensure privacy regulations are consistently maintained across the breadth of the organization.
If we consider a hospital’s compliance with health regulations, for example:
- The healthcare organization must comply with any rules and regulations in place to avoid fines and reputational damage
- IT must ensure these regulations are adhered to in terms of data security
- Healthcare professionals must take extra care when collecting and sharing digital patient information, which can take more time
Whether these hospital workflow processes are digital or paper-based, if they are carried out manually, you can expect bottlenecks to occur.
The automation of hospital workflow processes can prevent these delays. In this post, we’re going to look at how patients, doctors, and healthcare organizations can benefit from automating hospital workflow processes.
The Benefits of Automated Hospital Workflow Processes
Electronic Health Records (EHR) and mobile health (mHealth) are two examples of digital initiatives making inroads in hospitals looking to go digital, removing much of the paper-based element of doctor’s jobs. And the hospital workflow processes that surround digital methods like EHR and mHealth can be furthered through automation.
Let’s look at how:
- Workflow automation on cloud-based systems can automatically capture electronic records from disparate sources—such as mobile devices and even wearable tech—and store it in a centralized system.
- For healthcare professionals, this means their patient data is easier to collect and send to their colleagues. It also reduces the risk of duplicate data entry, which is often a problem in large hospitals and can cost the organization up to $96 per record.
- For the hospital, better-organized data collection makes it much easier to comply with company and industry regulations. This can give everyone in the hospital peace of mind, as regulations like the HIPAA carry heavy fines, reputational damage and even criminal charges following a violation.
By accelerating these hospital workflow processes, the positive effects can be found across the organization.
Automating Hospital Workflow Processes to Improve Productivity
The benefits of automated hospital workflows are not limited to patient care. The administrative tasks hospital staff must also carry out can be expedited with workflow automation. Let’s look at how this might take shape in a real-life healthcare organization.
Upper Chesapeake Health (UCH) is the primary healthcare organization in Harford County, Maryland, consisting of 2,700 team members and 550 medical staff physicians. The company were already using Microsoft SharePoint Server for dealing with patient and staff records. But it was their manual processes that was causing problems.
UCH’s process for onboarding and offboarding new employees needed to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) alongside other regulations regarding patient privacy and system security. While they were compliant, it took up an inordinate amount of IT staff’s time and attention.
By automating their hospital workflow processes, developers at Upper Chesapeake Health were able to create workflows designed for streamlining the employee evaluation process and for tracking and approving capital requests.
“By automating account creation, deletion, and the steps in between, we could ensure we could handle the whole process in a consistent fashion, minimize the risk of human error and free up IT staff for more valuable tasks” says Rick Casteel, Vice President of IT at UCH.
UCH employees in IT, HR, and other departments now spend fewer hours on manual, labor-intensive tasks such as onboarding. It only takes an HR employee 10 minutes to complete a form and submit it electronically to trigger the automatic provisioning of the new employee’s accounts and populating of their SharePoint user profile.
For more information on how UCH automated their hospital workflow processes to improve efficiency, read the full story.
Let Nintex Workflows Support Your Hospital Workflow Processes
Nintex Workflows can help healthcare organizations just like Upper Chesapeake Health. Nintex Workflow for SharePoint contains a catalog of sample workflows that pre-configure common activities and settings. The software fits seamlessly with your existing environment so you don’t need to invest in separate servers or infrastructure.
Whether accelerating patient care, keeping compliant with industry regulations, or reducing the number of manual and time-consuming tasks of hospital employees, automated workflows are encouraging change for the better in healthcare organizations.
For more information on how workflow automation software can benefit your healthcare organization, get in touch with Nintex today.