Four Ways Hospitals Are Cutting Administrative Costs: Part 2

Four Ways Hospitals Are Cutting Administrative Costs: Part 2

In this four-part series, we are sharing four common ways that healthcare organizations are attempting to manage the ever-growing administrative workload. In Part 1, we discussed the option of hiring more employees to tackle these duties. Unfortunately, that model is unsustainable and doesn’t address the root cause of the issue – the mountain of administrative work that defines modern healthcare. 

One promising solution, and one that many hospitals and health systems are working towards, is using technology to lessen the administrative burden and associated costs.

 

New Technology Can Streamline Administrative Processes And Increase Efficiency.

When we think of healthcare technology, we often think about the “sexy” innovations and breakthroughs like robot-assisted surgeries or remote patient monitoring devices. But technology can have a revolutionary impact on healthcare administration, too. By streamlining repetitive tasks, technology has the ability to increase efficiency, reduce time spent on administrative work, and even boost revenue by reducing human error.

For example, patient scheduling software has optimized physician schedules while reducing patient wait time. Many of these softwares automatically send out patient reminder emails or phone calls, reducing cancellations and no-shows. 

There is also inventory management software that tracks inventory, alerting hospital staff to shortages and expirations while also reducing the amount of inventory needed on-hand. 

But one of the most promising advances in healthcare administration technology is artificial intelligence and robotic process automation. Because so much of the administrative burden comes from data input overload from multiple systems, artificial intelligence can automate these mundane, but business-critical administrative tasks with speed, accuracy and ease.

Not All Technologies Are Equal. Make Sure The One You Choose Meets All Of Your Needs.

While health system leaders are increasingly turning to technology, there are many who delay embracing innovation or are afraid to be “first adopters.” Unfortunately, this is often due to bad experiences with new technologies in the past. 

There are lots of ways technology can go wrong: after all, EHRs were supposed to reduce administrative work by keeping all patient data in one place. Obviously, this didn’t go as planned. With system updates, employee training, interoperability problems, and regulatory and compliance needs, new technology can sometimes become more trouble than it’s worth without the right approach.

To make sure that a new technology actually streamlines operations and administrative work, you need to carefully evaluate the solution and the vendor. Choosing healthcare-specific vendors and “as-a-service” models are both good ways to mitigate your technology risk. 

That’s because healthcare-specific vendors understand the industry’s unique needs and security requirements, and they should have proven results at other, similar organizations. And choosing “as-a-service” models reduces upfront costs, sets a clear path to ROI, and ensures you will always have an up-to-date solution that works. 

Here at Olive, we believe that technology, specifically artificial intelligence and robotic process automation, are the best solutions for a healthcare organization looking to reduce the administrative burden. Technology can and should have a favorable ROI as well as other positive downstream effects on employee morale and patient satisfaction. But we know it’s not the only solution that healthcare systems are evaluating. 

That’s why we wrote the eBook 6 Ways to Cut the Staggering Cost of Healthcare Administration. Download it today for free to learn more about how other healthcare systems are addressing this problem and the pros and cons of each way, so you can figure out which is right for you and your organization. 

Four Ways Hospitals Are Cutting Administrative Costs: Part 1

Four Ways Hospitals Are Cutting Administrative Costs: Part 1

Four Ways Hospitals Are Cutting Administrative Costs: Part 1

Healthcare is becoming increasingly unaffordable – for patients, payers, and providers. And while there are many interrelated factors contributing to the problem, no one can deny that administrative costs have become unsustainable – the latest research has put the total cost of healthcare administration at $1.1 trillion dollars and growing. 

So how can hospitals and healthcare systems work to reverse this trend, helping not only their own financials but also the industry as a whole? 

In this blog series, we are going to take a look at four of the ways healthcare organizations are tackling their most costly administrative challenges. In this first part of the series, we are examining the strategy of hiring more administrative employees to handle the growing workload.

Why Hiring More People to Solve The Growing Healthcare Administrative Problem is Unsustainable

As the mountain of paperwork and administrative work increases, many healthcare systems hire additional employees or shift employee time to managing these repetitive tasks. But when your healthcare system grows, the administrative workload increases with it, and more and more employees are needed to handle the burden.

Not only does each employee add to your payroll costs, but there are other, more hidden, costs as well. Much of these administrative tasks are simple data processing – copying data from one screen or system into another. As employees become little more than data routers instead of valued contributors to organizational success, the inevitable human error that occurs in these processes lead to costly rework and even more time spent on administration. 

Back office employees know that administrative work is part of their job, but it extends to the front line of care as well. Doctors, nurses, and other clinical staff are spending increasing amounts of time on data entry and less time with the people who matter most – the patients. It’s no surprise that in this environment, healthcare employees feel burnt out and hospitals are struggling with turnover.

Low morale, high churn, and unfilled positions hurt your financials and result in lower quality of care. And as you lose employees and struggle to hire new ones, the backlog of administrative tasks continues to grow, leading to a vicious cycle. Without a strategy to actually reduce time spent on administration, hiring more people does not address the root problem. But if hiring more people doesn’t work, what are other solutions to the problem of cutting costs? 

You can check back in with us next week for Part 2 of the series, where we’re going to discuss innovative technologies that healthcare systems are leveraging. Want more information now? Read the eBook 6 Ways to Cut the Staggering Cost of Healthcare Administration to learn how others are tackling the growing healthcare administrative burden.

Olive Set to Achieve Record Growth in 2019, Digital Employee Hired at More Than 500 Hospitals

Olive Set to Achieve Record Growth in 2019, Digital Employee Hired at More Than 500 Hospitals

Company behind healthcare’s AI-powered digital employee reports rapid adoption, as hospital leaders look to relieve administrative burden.

COLUMBUS, Ohio, September 26, 2019 – Cost and complexity of healthcare continues to rise, and hospitals and health systems increasingly turn to technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and robotic process automation (RPA) to keep up with complexity and drive down the associated costs. Olive, the company that introduced healthcare’s digital employee, today announced a continued increase in company and customer growth.

Olive has expanded adoption of the company’s namesake digital employee this year, finding homes in more than 500 hospitals comprising more than 65 of the nation’s top healthcare organizations in the U.S. Olive customers, Centura Health and Yale New Haven Health, were both seeking artificial intelligence technology to help achieve mission-critical goals.

“Everything we do at Centura Health is centered around delivering the best care to our patients. We continually strive to innovate and implement solutions that are efficient, effective and aimed at improving the patient experience,” said Ramy Hanna, Senior Vice President of Operations and Shared Services at Centura Health. “Innovative solutions using artificial intelligence help us to achieve our mission of being there for our patient’s health and we look forward to realizing the value Olive will bring to our organization over time.”

At both Centura Health and Yale New Haven Health, Olive will play a key role in taking on burdensome day-to-day processes, so employees can focus on higher-value, more rewarding initiatives.

“At Yale New Haven Health we’re starting our Artificial Intelligence journey working with Olive to automate prior authorizations,” said Sharlene Seidman, Vice President of Patient Financial Services at Yale New Haven Health (YNHH). “At YNHH we believe our people are the pivotal component to providing the best patient financial experience. That’s why we embrace innovation, to remove transaction based work and free our staff to focus on the compassionate guidance of our patients through their healthcare journey. AI is poised to make a significant positive impact at YNHH and on the industry as a whole.”


AI Adoption in Hospitals is Increasing

Health systems, like organizations in many industries, are seeking to increase revenue, reduce operational cost and increase capacity to deliver meaningful work. In fact, twenty three percent of hospital leaders are looking to invest in AI/RPA today, while half plan to do so by 2021 (according to a survey conducted by Olive with Sage Growth Partners).

“There’s a growing, multi-billion dollar problem: healthcare doesn’t have the internet. Instead, healthcare uses humans as routers, forcing workers to toggle between disparate systems – they copy, they paste, they manipulate data – they become robots. They click and type and extract and import, all day long – and it’s one of the leading reasons that one out of every three dollars spent in the industry today is spent on administrative costs.” Olive CEO Sean Lane said. “Olive is on a mission to solve that challenge with health systems deploying a digital workforce that learns, adapts and improves over time.”

As leaders seek to scale and grow, they have realized that AI and RPA are essential tools to support handling and processing data more efficiently. The key to successfully building out an enterprise-wide AI solution is to begin with processes that are high-volume, and repetitive, where you can quickly feel impact; this helps build momentum to expand into more complex workflows.

Olive Learns, Adapts and Improves Over Time

As a digital employee that can complete tasks more than 60 times faster than a human, Olive has been hard at work. So far this year:

  • Olive has completed more than 350 million actions across all workflows and processes
  • For one 2,000+ bed customer, Olive has completed more than 450,000 claim status checks 
  • For another 2,000+ bed customer, Olive has processed more than 250,000 charge corrections

But processing mass amounts of data is not enough. To truly solve critical challenges such as cost savings, efficiency gains and revenue recognition, Olive has to adapt and learn over time. For example, by consuming large amounts of historical claim status data, Olive is already identifying appealable denial codes. Correcting the cause of just one appealable denial code can result in thousands, sometimes even millions, of dollars in revenue recognition. These valuable insights are what sets apart a digital workforce from traditional RPA software.

 

Olive Creates Jobs, Attracts Healthcare and Tech Industry Veterans  

The Olive team is growing rapidly, too. In the first five months of 2019, Olive met a two-year goal to hire 100 new team members, and the company says there will continue to be job growth to match company growth. Recruited talent is increasingly made up of those with healthcare backgrounds, enriching the company’s collective industry knowledge and expertise. Recent executive additions include:

  • Lori Jones, Chief Revenue Officer, is leading Olive’s revenue organization with decades of experience in healthcare at companies like McKesson Corporation and Connance, Inc.  Lori brings deep expertise in helping providers identify effective ways to harness the potential of technology.
  • Jim McCormick, Chief Financial Officer, is leading Olive’s financial, accounting and delivery divisions, with decades of experience in the IT and Software-as-a-Service space.  Jim brings to Olive experience leading finance and operations organizations at companies like Silverpop Systems and Harbinger Corporation. 

“We’re on pace to triple our business and have no plans to slow down,” said Lane. “There’s a clear and present need for operational efficiency in the healthcare industry and Olive brings it – ultimately, we’re leading a movement toward a smarter, more efficient, more connected healthcare experience.”

ABOUT OLIVE

Olive is deploying the first digital workforce built specifically for healthcare, automating healthcare’s most robotic processes, so human employees don’t have to. Olive delivers healthcare organizations improved efficiency and speed while reducing costly administrative errors. Using the systems an organization already has in place, Olive operates as a digital employee intelligently routing information and data between systems automating repetitive, high-volume tasks and workflows, providing true interoperability. Olive is proud to partner with more than 65 healthcare organizations made up of more than 550 hospitals in over 35 states across the country, ranging from some of the nation’s top health systems to small regional hospitals. 

5 Questions For Identifying Candidate Processes For Automation

5 Questions For Identifying Candidate Processes For Automation

Artificial intelligence and robotic process automation can optimize repetitive workflows, increase efficiencies, benefit your bottom line, and improve employee morale. But with so many options and solutions on the market, how do you know where to start?

One of the key steps in building your business case for AI and automation at your healthcare organization is identifying processes that are good candidates for automation. Here are five questions to ask yourself to help you figure out which processes to consider for automation technologies.

 

1. Is it a High-volume, Repetitive Task?

Not every task can or should be automated, and that isn’t the goal of AI and RPA. The purpose of automation is to take repetitive, high-volume tasks and offload them to a digital employee, freeing up your human employees for more complex, more rewarding work. Any task that is time-consuming, requires a lot of manual effort, and is done in a similar way each time is a perfect candidate process for automation.

2. How Many Man Hours Does a Process Take?

To maximize impact, you want to automate tasks that take a meaningful amount of time. The best way to do that is to calculate total hours spent on a process by all of your employees. Ask employees how they’re spending their time each day, tally up the totals for individual processes, and identify which are the most time-consuming as an organization.

Are you a small organization? You don’t have to be a large health system to recognize the benefits of automation. A good rule of thumb is that once a process requires four full-time employees, it is worth considering for automation.

3. What Business Processes Would Benefit From Increased Speed, Capacity, and Accuracy?

Besides freeing up human employees, automation can also complete tasks faster and more accurately than humans – for instance, a digital employee works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, without any breaks or errors. Any process where speed, capacity, and accuracy would benefit your organization should be a candidate for process automation. Processes found in claim denial management, supply chain, and patient credentialing are often the best areas to begin.

 

4. What Bottlenecks Are Impacting Your Operations?

Every organization has them – a pile of administrative tasks that never seems to get done. It can create a bottleneck that impacts the entire workforce. For example, is accounts receivable chronically behind? Automation can eliminate bottlenecks, enabling your employees to complete their other work more efficiently and effectively, so your whole organization can run more smoothly.

5. What Transaction-based Work Impacts Your Employees Time to Deliver a Better Patient Experience?

One of the greatest benefits of automation is that it can optimize your human workforce. For your employees,  it can mean the freedom to do what they do best – think creatively, solve complex problems, and most importantly, focus on delivering the best possible patient experience. The healthcare industry strives to deliver a superior patient experience.  It is critical to ask, “What transaction-based work holds back my employees from delivering that promise?”

Need More Guidance on Automation?

Identifying potential candidates for automation is just part of the process – you need a road map that takes your hospital all the way from idea to AI implementation. 

Our white paper, Build the Business Case for Intelligent Automation, helps you develop a clear path from idea to implementation, helping you identify candidate processes for automation and better understand how to take action. Download the white paper today to learn more.

What Is Workflow Automation In Healthcare?

What Is Workflow Automation In Healthcare?

Workflow automation is exactly what it sounds like. Using technology to automate repetitive workflows, organizations can dramatically streamline and standardize high-volume workflows to improve efficiency in almost every industry, including healthcare.

As a healthcare technology, workflow automation is critical to organizational success. That’s because health systems today have more programs, disparate systems and data requirements than ever before. And while these systems have great promise and potential, the benefits are often outweighed by the time and effort required to manage them. That’s where workflow automation comes in.

By decreasing manual effort, reducing errors, increasing capacity and speeding up many of the administrative processes weighing down our healthcare organizations, the industry has already seen enormous benefits from the efficiencies of workflow automation.

 

Workflow Automation and Artificial Intelligence

Advances in artificial intelligence technologies, such as computer vision (CV) and machine learning (ML), have greatly increased the number of potential candidate workflows that can be automated. Before CV and ML, workflow automation was limited to simple tasks that could be handled by robotic process automation (RPA). But with CV and ML, artificial intelligence can use computer vision for more sophisticated data recognition and can actually learn and improve processes through historical data. 

What are some of the candidate processes that workflow automation and artificial intelligence are tackling? Patient scheduling, revenue cycle management, IT, billing, supply chain, inventory management, and human resources are just a few of the areas that are already benefiting from artificial intelligence and workflow automation technology. But there are too many capabilities to mention, and more possible candidate processes for automation  are being developed every day.

Benefits of Workflow Automation in Healthcare

Already, workflow automation technology has the potential to completely overhaul your healthcare information management processes, reducing staff burnout, increasing revenue, and improving interoperability.

Reduces Staff Burnout
Staff burnout hurts morale, patients, and the bottom line. By reducing the time spent by clinical and non-clinical staff on manual, repetitive workflows, healthcare employees can focus on higher level initiatives that require a human touch and creativity. For example, it can take over the entire claim status check process, freeing up staff to address more complicated billing cycle issues. 

Effective Cost Containment
Wouldn’t it be great to implement a cost containment strategy that actually improved operations, instead of trying to cut overhead or negotiate pennies on supply costs? With workflow automation, organizations can reduce the operational inefficiencies that lead to waste throughout the system. For example, it reduces claims denials by eliminating human error and drastically increasing capacity.

Improves Interoperability
Healthcare desperately needs interoperability, but with dozens of siloed programs and legacy systems, everyone struggles to achieve it. By automating the pull and entry of data from one program to another, without having to add yet another system, complete interoperability is closer to reality with the assistance of AI and workflow automation as it becomes a key Epic integration tool with other EMR and EHR technologies.  

 

Data Security and Workflow Automation

Data security should always be top-of-mind for any healthcare leader evaluating a new technology. We’ve talked before about the importance of working with technology vendors who are healthcare-specific, and workflow automation vendors are no exception – it’s the best way to ensure critical healthcare data security. 

Workflow automation can help increase data security at your organization, as many security and privacy vulnerabilities are due to human interaction. By reducing the amount of human contact and manual manipulations of the data, you can actually improve security and reduce your organization’s overall risk.  

Are You on Track With Healthcare Automation?

Workflow automation today is not about creating robots that replace human work – it’s about empowering employees to turn their focus from a mountain of digital paperwork to creating an organization that delivers the best possible care. If your organization is not taking advantage of today’s workflow automation tools, you’re at risk of being left behind as automation technology improves – the time to implement sophisticated workflow automation is now. 

At Olive, we automate healthcare’s most costly, high-volume tasks using sophisticated artificial intelligence capabilities: robotic process automation, computer vision, and machine learning. Olive takes workflow automation to the next level by increasing the complexity of workflows that can be automated as well as proactively identifying areas for opportunity and potential problems to correct. Contact us today to learn more about how Olive can help your organization implement workflow automation.