In the past decades, technology has changed how consumers – and companies – think about almost every aspect of our lives. From AirBnB to Uber, Amazon to WiFi thermostats, consumer behaviors and expectations have changed drastically, and companies have been born or evolved to meet them.
However, due to conflating factors like ever-changing compliance and regulatory requirements, complex infrastructures, and the lack of interoperability to name a few, healthcare has digitally lagged behind. But perhaps nowhere else is disruption needed more than the healthcare industry.
We’re all well aware of the problems we’re facing in healthcare today: it’s too expensive, complicated, and time-consuming for patients and providers alike. It’s why consumers, employees, the government, and employers are all looking for solutions to solve the industry’s most costly and burdensome challenges.
As industry disruption becomes top of mind for healthcare leaders, the question now is where will they have the biggest impact?
To answer that question, we must first look at one of the most pressing challenges today: trying to reduce costs while improving the patient experience.
Process inefficiencies are one of the leading reasons healthcare has become unaffordable for many Americans, even with insurance – consumers, payers, and the government are all putting pressure on health systems to cut costs. And it’s why healthcare systems across the country are leveraging technology and complex software purchases to increase efficiency and revenue recognition.
Additionally, there are the added pressures of value-based care and community health initiatives pushing healthcare organizations to figure out how to provide better care and improve outcomes in their communities. Big data and analytics have promised to help in these areas, but with cost constraints increasing, physicians and nurses are being squeezed to do more and see more patients during their work hours, meaning less time with each individual. So, how are doctors, PAs, and nurses supposed to improve patient outcomes and experience if they don’t have adequate time to spend with them? And which disruptive technologies are positioned to create the biggest economic impact on healthcare organizations bottom lines?
The Tech Giants: Google, Amazon, Apple Are Looking to Make In-Roads
At Becker’s 10th Annual Hospital Review in April, we heard how Google, Amazon, and Apple all hope to be the next big innovator in healthcare. each has a different approach for how they could revolutionize the industry and what challenges they want to tackle. But are these disruptors uniquely positioned to transform industry inefficiencies, or will they only make a marginal impact on improving care?
Let’s take a look at each:
In Google’s case, it and its parent company, Alphabet, have invested in various health companies as well as its own platform developments, across the spectrum of care. But at its core, what it really wants is data. Storing data is the first step, and Google believes that whoever has all of the data will be able to have the biggest impact. That will be their play.
Amazon is leveraging its unique capabilities in a different way: size and supply chain. Taking over the hospital and pharmacy supply chain is an obvious potential disruptor, but Amazon also recently formed an independent healthcare company with Berkshire Hathaway Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co for their combined 1.2 million employees. They’re currently developing their own primary care clinics, which while originally for their own employees, could signal a move into the larger primary care market. With supplies being a large part of the healthcare spend, it is an interesting way to think about care delivery and controlling cost.
Apple has yet another approach, based on its unique consumer presence. Their Health app comes preinstalled on iPhones, which means 140 million Americans already have access to the app. By creating, and imbedding this app, into their ubiquitous solution, Apple has the opportunity to more seamlessly connect consumers with their medical information – potentially increasing interoperability and placing the patient in the center of their care.
These industry giants could fundamentally change the manner in which care is delivered. However, they fail to address the back-office challenges that sources estimate could result in $1 trillion dollars wasted on process inefficiencies.
So, what will?
RPA & Artificial Intelligence: The Disruptive Technologies That Will Change The Game
One of the most impactful technologies for the administrative side of operations is artificial Intelligence and robotic process automation, which are estimated to save healthcare $18B by 2026.¹ The technologies are widely used in other industries, as well – robotic accounting, for instance, is an increasingly popular solution used in finance and accounting operations to streamline operational efficiency, reducing data transcribing tasks by 80% in accounts payable, financial close, tax accounting and more.²
We are starting to see more and more people in healthcare familiar with the concept of RPA. And with the addition of other technologies like Computer Vision and Machine Learning, the potential impact to organizational efficiency is huge. This is game-changing in healthcare, because although other industries are faced with process inefficiencies, it is hard to argue that few are as crippled with the deluge of difficult-to-use yet business critical software programs like healthcare.
With healthcare’s frustrating lack of interoperability, employees have taken on the job of the router – or data processor – shifting the hours spent by humans from being in front of patients to being in front of computer screens, logged in to disparate EMRs and EHRs, shepherding patient data into the right fields – and the consequences come in the form of burnt-out employees, skyrocketing administrative costs, and less human-to-human experiences decreasing the quality of care.
Operational AI provides improve the speed, cost, capacity, quality, and consistency of care today. It works alongside human employees to handle the large amounts of data and repetitive tasks that are bogging down the healthcare system, reducing errors, speeding up processing time, and increasing operational efficiency. This not only reduces costs, but also allows employees to get back to higher-level, more meaningful work. Work that drove many to choose a career in healthcare in the first place.
And that’s really what it comes down to: bringing humanity back to healthcare. An industry where workers spend more time in front of screens than they do in front of patients.
Here at Olive, we believe that a digital workforce is the disrupter that healthcare has been waiting for. Olive uses her healthcare-specific skills to address common bottlenecks when it comes to time-consuming, error-prone workflows that result in process inefficiencies and costly denials. And she does it with unrivaled security measures built specifically for healthcare, working seamlessly with your existing processes, technology, and current systems you already have in place. The best part? Olive works 24/7, doesn’t get fatigued, never resigns and is less error-prone than a human, so healthcare organizations can refocus their employees to more meaningful work.
Today, Olive is focusing on improving business operations inside and outside of the healthcare revenue cycle, but her capabilities go far beyond that. Using Machine Learning, Olive uses algorithms to find patterns in data without instruction, giving her the ability to learn and improve from each task, uncovering insights and new opportunities to optimize workflows and hospital processes. Through continued adoption, AI will continue to innovate and improve how healthcare does business across the entire continuum of care.
If you want to learn more about how Olive can help your organization, contact us today. Our automation experts can help you understand how Olive is addressing healthcare’s biggest challenges and can help drive your healthcare system forward.