Seven Ways Automation Is Changing the Healthcare Industry
Automation is being used in every industry, including the healthcare industry. Thanks to new technologies, doctor offices, hospitals, and other medical facilities have streamlined the way they deal with patients.
These changes are seen at the front desk of the typical doctor’s office and in the databases used to store patient’s records. While some worry that automation may kill thousands of jobs in the healthcare sector, these technologies may also improve the average quality of care.
More and more medical facilities, clinics and hospitals are implementing these solutions. In fact, 79% of healthcare providers plan to add automation in the next 24 months.
Here are seven ways automation is helping these organizations to improve their practice.
1. Automated Patient Check-In Systems
Many doctor’s offices are already using automation at the front desk. In some offices, patients can check in without needing to interact with a receptionist. They can simply sign the necessary forms electronically on a tablet.
With an automated patient check-in system, receptionists and other administrative staff can focus on their core responsibilities. These automated forms are also being used in other areas, including patient discharge forms and consent forms.
The office staff does not need to frequently stop what they are doing to help patients check in. This leads to greater productivity and may reduce the risk of administrative errors.
2. Automated Patient Data Management
Besides automating the check-in process, many facilities are automating the collection of patient data. When information is collected in an exam room, it is instantly added to a database.
These systems may also allow facilities to easily share data with other facilities or departments. Sharing patient data is one of the major challenges the healthcare industry is currently facing.
When a patient needs to seek treatment or diagnosis through several departments or facilities, the transfer of patient data can lead to bottlenecks.
With automation, every device and piece of equipment in the hospital can be connected to the same network. Information from one medical machine can be accessed instantly from another device. This saves time, reduces administrative work, and improves efficiency.
3. Collecting Data with Virtual Doctors
In some cases, doctors or nurses may not be needed to collect data in an exam room. Several hospitals have started using virtual doctors and nurses. Instead of talking to a real person, the patient listens to cues from a computer and responds to a series of standard questions.
The computer can collect information related to the patient’s symptoms along with data collected from various sensors and devices. This information is then compiled and compared against a database of symptoms to help provide a potential diagnosis.
While these virtual doctors may not replace real doctors, they provide an additional resource for analyzing the condition of a patient. It also saves time, as a computer performs the initial screening, which is often the most time-consuming part of a typical exam.
4. Increasing the Effectiveness of Treatments
Some automation experts believe that these technologies may replace up to 80% of the current tasks performed by doctors and nurses in a typical clinic.
Automation helps to reduce human error and mistakes. It also increases efficiency. These advantages may help to provide more effective treatments. Doctors will have additional tools for analyzing, diagnosing, and treating their patients.
Besides helping doctors deliver better care, these systems may help administrators improve internal operations. The constant cycle of data being shared across multiple systems provides more information for improving standard processes.
Administrators can use this data to reduce wait times for surgery and streamline other operations. Hospitals and facilities around the world may be able to offer reliable services for larger populations.
5. Automation May Reduce Operating Costs
Most healthcare executives plan to implement automation to reduce costs. This is the primary motivator for wanting to adopt these technologies.
There are several ways that automation may help reduce operating costs, including less overtime, fewer medical mistakes, and improved efficiency.
With greater efficiency, clinics and hospitals may not need to overwork their staff. Nurses and doctors can work normal schedules, which also reduces their overall stress and productivity. Improving their ability to care for patients leads to fewer surgical or diagnostic mistakes.
These mistakes are often expensive. Medical errors cost the healthcare industry at least $17 billion each year.
With fewer payouts for medical errors and less overtime, healthcare facilities can save money and improve patient care.
6. Allowing Staff to Excel in Their Roles
Automation may not result in the loss of thousands of jobs. Experts predict that these technologies may free up internal resources, allowing staff to excel at their jobs.
With a lighter workload, nurses can spend more time with individual patients. Doctors may not experience as much stress. As mentioned, this helps reduce medical errors.
Physicians are feeling more overwhelmed in recent years. According to one study, 65% of physicians feel more overworked compared to when they started their careers.
The same study also found that 59% of doctors would like to have more time with their patients. Automation may help in both of these areas.
Improving daily operations through better administration may help reduce work hours and allow doctors to focus more on their patients.
7. Automation Helps Reduce Paper Waste
The use of automation in the healthcare industry may also help the planet. Hospitals already rely on computers for storing patient records. However, automation may help eliminate the need for paper in a healthcare setting.
Doctors and nurses now have access to information on tablets and other devices. The latest medical equipment also offers network connectivity, ensuring that everything in the hospital can communicate. With these changes, there is no need to print records or use paper forms.
These are just several examples of how automation is changing, and will continue to change, the healthcare industry. Most medical facilities already have some of these technologies and are finding new ways to incorporate automation.
In the coming years, you can expect even more automation solutions to find their way to hospitals and doctor’s offices around the world.
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