Robotics process automation - Health Care


Robotics process automation could help health care organizations trim costs, improve competitive positioning

Minutes after my son’s high school baseball game ends, or after my daughter’s soccer team trots off the field, a brief news article about the game pops up on my phone. These articles typically have a punchy headline and include highlights from a game that ended minutes earlier. But these articles aren’t written by sports reporters sitting in the stands. They are generated by robotics process automation (RPA) combined with natural language creation (NLC). A parent or coach tracks balls, strikes, hits, and all of the plays through a smartphone app. The numerical data are then translated into a narrative through an NLC program. This technology is being incorporated across many industries—from banking to customer service—pretty much any business or activity that generates or processes large amounts of data.

RPA is the hard coding of activities that people manually perform on computers. This could include virtually any task that a person does on his or her keyboard. If he or she puts information into a spreadsheet and sends it off in an email, a data-bot can be written to extract that information and use it to complete a task. Given the vast amounts of data health care organizations generate, RPA could streamline processes and take over some of the mundane tasks employees now perform.

Clinicians typically manually type notes about a patient’s condition, prescription drug usage, vital statistics, and past medical history into the patient’s electronic health record (EHR). RPA robots could be programed to extract all of that information and translate it into a narrative using NLC. RPA robots, or data-bots, are software programs designed to perform repeatable tasks. Staff can monitor and record the tasks performed by these bots, producing valuable data.

While automation tools can do some things, they cannot do others. When some people hear the word “robotic,” they immediately conjure up images of metallic humanoids (with blinking red lights) methodically traversing the hallways. But data-bots aren’t anything more than hard-coded computer actions that can accomplish many tasks that are now performed manually. Data-bots operate around the clock with no coffee breaks or sick days, and they aren’t prone to accuracy errors that people can make due to late work hours, stress or not enough sleep.

Read more on Deloitte's Life Sciences & Health Care Blog

David Yarin, Principal, Deloitte & Touche LLP

What can RPA do?
  • Open emails and attachments
  • Log into web apps
  • Fill in forms
  • Pull data from the web
  • Extract structured data from documents and disparate systems
  • Follow if-then rules

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