2021 has been designated International Year of Health and Care Workers by the World Health Organization (WHO). So, what better time to explore the crucial role that technology can play in easing the burden on workers with the help of automation in the healthcare industry? In this article, we’ll focus specifically on the benefits of automation in healthcare.
Automation’s potent yet unrealized potential
Process automation can help healthcare facilities better manage workloads, improve efficiencies, and digitize time-consuming, manual, paper-based tasks. However, automation’s potential for helping to protect and taking care of healthcare professionals is often overlooked.
This is understandable in the wider scheme of the challenges currently being faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But by automating manual processes, healthcare workers can:
- Spend more time with patients
- Rely on more accurate information
- Increase overall productivity
- Discover opportunities for innovation
We’ll go into these points in depth later. But first, we’ll look at the situation for healthcare professionals on the frontline and the difficulties they face.
Notes from the frontline
No industry has been hit harder by COVID-19 than healthcare. The mental toll and burden of successive waves are building up for healthcare professionals across the globe.
As the medical journal, The Lancet, states in a recent editorial, there is a “need for investment in health workforce readiness, education, and learning to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, to maintain health services, and to prepare for vaccine roll-outs… Amid the strain the pandemic is placing on health systems, the healthcare workforce is experiencing serious harms to their physical and mental wellbeing while trying to deliver quality care.”
Not only are health workers dealing with increased workloads, but they are witnessing an even higher proportion of mortality than usual during the peak of COVID-19 waves. On top of that, health workers themselves are at risk, and many have witnessed colleagues lose their lives on the front line. This is sadly highlighted by WHO, which says that “[While] health workers represent less than 3% of the population in most countries, around 14% of COVID-19 cases reported to WHO are among health workers. In some countries, the proportion can be as high as 35%.”
Taking care of healthcare professionals
Prioritizing healthcare workers for vaccination, providing better mental health support, and global investment in medical supplies and infrastructure are especially important to alleviate the current challenges. All of which are very valuable measures toward taking better care of health professionals.
However, automation in the healthcare industry can also make a difference. By streamlining processes, you can make them more efficient, and reducing the amount of form-filling and approvals will remove laborious and time-consuming aspects of the daily workload. These may seem small in the wider scheme of things, but they will have a significant effect. Let’s examine each of the benefits of automation in healthcare listed earlier.
1. Spend more time focusing on patients
Reducing the need for frontline workers to carry out manual or paper-based tasks will free up the time they have to focus on higher-value work. Spending more time with patients can improve patient care. Using that time to focus on their own needs, such as mental health, can improve healthcare workers’ wellbeing.
These are just two suggestions of how the time could be better used. We’re sure healthcare organizations can think of an almost infinite number of ways this time can be used to take care of its workers.
2. Rely on more accurate information
When you automate processes, you reduce the risks of human error and improve efficiency. In high-stress situations such as on the COVID-19 ward of a hospital stretched to capacity, it would be a miracle if errors didn’t occur in paper-based form-filling. By removing this risk, you can ease the workload and ensure that healthcare workers can rely on the accuracy of the patient data in front of them.
3. Increase overall productivity
By streamlining processes, you improve the speed and efficiency of day-to-day work. Different process automation solutions can be used for specific tasks and workflows to improve productivity across the board.
Electronic forms can speed up data input and form-filling. Document generation can create documents automatically in seconds with accurate information from any system of record. Robotic process automation can take care of tedious manual software-based tasks. The potential for boosting productivity is unlimited and can be tailored to your specific requirements.
4. Discover opportunities for innovation
Process mapping gives you full visibility over the state of processes across the organization. With a visual map showing you what and who is involved in a process, you can see what works and what doesn’t and begin to optimize. This gives you a better foundation to discover opportunities for innovating and finding new ways to break down bottlenecks.
Gaining all the benefits of automation in healthcare
We think everyone would agree that healthcare professionals deserve more support. However, this can be easier said than done for healthcare organizations. But process automation can be valuable in improving productivity and reducing the burden on staff.
We want to help healthcare workers take care of themselves and do their work as effectively as possible. The Nintex platform offers the full range of process automation solutions. If you’d like to see how Nintex has been used in the healthcare industry, visit our healthcare use case page for case studies and more.
To find out more about process automation in the healthcare industry and the many benefits of automation in healthcare, get in touch with the Nintex team today.