Automation will liberate human capacity in healthcare

April 28, 2022

A letter from Olive CEO Sean Lane.

The big epiphany that led to Olive’s work in automation is what still drives us every day. Healthcare is the No. 1 employer in the country. Over 16 million people work in healthcare. That’s more than any other industry like retail, manufacturing and so on. That is a massive amount of human capacity — over 32 billion hours (at least) spent every year by humans. Of that 32 billion, we estimate that 10 billion hours, or almost a third, are being spent (and for the most part wasted) on tasks that could be automated.

So why is automation so important? Imagine if through automation we could free up 10 billion hours of human capacity in the U.S. alone. Imagine what 10 billion hours of capacity could do for the health of humanity. Imagine what 10 billion hours of more capacity could change, could create, could empower. Ten billion hours of human capacity is more than double the entire U.S. military, more than the entire U.S. tech industry, more than the whole U.S. education system and 20 times more capacity than the entire oil and gas industry in this country. The numbers and the opportunities are staggering.

We believe automation and the liberation of human capacity will be the single biggest change agent in healthcare in our lifetimes.

We believe the human capacity generated by automation will do more to change the health experience for humankind than any single technology or scientific development. We choose to spend our time bringing automation to healthcare because we believe in its extraordinary opportunity for impact beyond the balance sheets and the budgets. We believe automation will touch the lives of every single human and unlock the healthcare industry of our dreams. And because we believe this, and because the amount of human capacity in play is so large and can have such a massive impact on our species, we choose not to do it alone.

We recognize that the only way we will be able to unlock human capacity at the magnitude to make tectonic change will be with an entire economy of automators. Our go-it-alone automation has made an impact, and our calculations show we can generate over 50,000 FTE worth of human capacity a month — and growing. But that’s a drop in the bucket. Even at hypergrowth, we won’t be able to make a dent in the 10-billion-hour target unless we bring together a coalition of every automation capability we can. The goal is much too big unless we build tools and infrastructure to enable existing automators and encourage a whole new generation of new automators.

That is why Olive is no longer just a digital worker; Olive is a platform. Olive will work tirelessly to connect healthcare with the most powerful automation solutions on the market and power those solutions with tools and infrastructure to scale fast and have a greater and more meaningful impact.

The stakes for automation are high. We are committed to making the Olive Library the most prolific collection of automation solutions on the planet and giving our customers a world-class marketplace experience so they can put automations to work and, together, we can make a real impact on the industry by liberating 10 billion hours of human capacity.