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What would someone decipher by the term ‘automation in healthcare’? Does it appear to you as robots operating human limbs or machines empathizing with patients? Well, not exactly! Automation in the healthcare sector focusses on improving the overall service that patients deserve since healthcare is a basic right and should not be mistaken as a privilege.
Healthcare industry – How is the transition shaping up?
The healthcare industry has made a massive shift; from the paper-based method of maintaining records to compiling digital records and practicing online information sharing. This industry, in particular, is critical and cannot afford even an iota of downtime. The medical practitioners must have consistent access to medical records and information of patients. Thus, the IT team needs to ensure a smooth functioning of the machines. In this regard, automation is truly an amazing solution that assists in enhancing the capabilities of data centers and ensured seamless operation. It also provides constant monitoring and real-time alerts, further preventing life-threatening system downtimes.
Automation in Healthcare: Still a mile apart
Currently, the two key focus areas of the healthcare industry include cost reduction and efficiency boosting. Highlighting trends, it is worthwhile to mention that the Japanese Lean approach has been adopted by the healthcare industry with basic focus on waste reduction and improvement of performance and efficiency through automation of manual tasks. Now, automation is reduction of human intervention by increasing dependence on artificial intelligence (AI). Infact, automation has engulfed our daily lives with ATMs, self-checkout in stores and auto-park assistance in connected vehicles etc. However, automation in the healthcare sector is comparatively a new concept, yet to be explored in entirety!
Need for automation is a priority
Population explosion has directly impacted the growth in ageing population. With age, people require greater medical attention and care. This increases the demand for healthcare professionals and care givers and in order to meet that growing demand, automation is the best possible solution. The rise in demand for healthcare solutions has been addressed by healthcare organizations by hiring more care givers. However, secondary research reveals that the nursing shortage in the US is predicted to increase and the current number will come down to 260,000 registered nurses by 2025, thus indicating a steep fall in the volume of care givers. This shortage can be aptly handled by adoption of technology, further maximizing efficiency with minimal human resources. Although this may look like an ideal scenario, yet it is a massive challenge to motivate employees to imbibe technological changes and embrace the evolving landscape.
The acceptance of automation in healthcare industry transformed the concept of medical care and facility. According to Institute for Health Technology Transformation, “Automation makes population health management feasible, scalable and sustainable.” Similar to other sectors, initially automation was considered a negative aspect even in the healthcare sector. Pharmacists and medical professionals feared unemployment with the onset of automation and robotics. The thought here is not to replace a doctor by a robot, rather blend automation with the workflow of a medical professional to enhance efficiency and productivity of the medical attention procedure.
Engaging patients for an effective care
Medical care flourished and improved through empowering patients with gadgets and apps, that can engage and initiate awareness to participate in the healthcare process. For example, automated health monitoring reminders can create a great impact on the patient’s health, creating consciousness.
Garnering benefits of automation in healthcare
Introduction of automation in the healthcare sector has revolutionized the concept of medical facility and care. It has evolved from complete dependence on humans to sophisticated merger of both, humans and machines. The following are the advantages of leveraging automation in the healthcare domain.
- Saving considerable time
Automation of manual tasks saves time. This, however, does not indicate firing of employees, rather, it focuses on elevating employee efficiency and support to successfully manage higher-functioning roles. Costly and repetitive individual tasks and complex workflows are usually time-consuming and can easily be automated.
- Connecting medical facilities
Automation ensures end to end processing of customer information and reports for easy access and creation of a synergy between all healthcare activities conducted by the care center. A patient ideally is not well-versed with the series of medical services and fail to understand the correlation of one with the other. Here, automation helps to create that connect, extending a level of comfort to patients.
- Enhancing quality and reliability
Automation in healthcare can improve quality and consistency to a great extent since, it reduces the chance of human error and fatigue. Thus, patients can expect consistency in care and service.
- Data storage and access
As per market research, automation eases the process of storing medical data and order entries. This is useful during emergencies when doctors need quick access of patient’s reports and medical history, acting promptly to save a life.
- Supporting system for decision-making
Automation ensured data-driven insight on patient’s health conditions. This impacted the decision making and choose the correct course of treatment which is reliable and efficient. Also, this enhanced decision-making capabilities of medical professionals, reduced deaths, minimized surgery complications and brought down medical expenses. Hence, the doctors have started relying on automation to support complex clinical decisions.
- Enhancing customer support
Automation empowered patients with self-service options and customer support for seamless self-service. This optimized the process with innovative technology and improved the course of patient care.
- Improving understanding of patients
Patients are unaware of the medical processes and its complexity hence, automation connected the medical team with the patients efficiently, helping them to understand the entire process of medical attention. It reduced the time and effort wasted in bridging the gap between a doctor and the patient.
- Monitoring critical patients
The healthcare sector also implemented automation in post-operative care and Intensive Care Unit (ICU). This ensured automation of the patient’s lifecycle increasing visibility of the treatments given and its consequent result.
- Managing outcome
For any industry to operate seamlessly, outcomes should be predictable. This is so true for the healthcare industry as well. It is convenient for patients to follow a standardized care path through automation due to its monitoring advantages.
- Reducing wait-time for medical attention
Automation of healthcare tools can handle larger patient population with efficiency and satisfaction. This also enhanced the patient’s experience of the medical facility.
- Changing the payment structure
The concept of health insurance has improved due to automation. Treatment was made possible without making any advance payment. This is a revolution in the field of medical attention.
- Merging of technology
The forte of automation is its ability to integrate old legacy systems with the new evolving technology. The hospitals in United States of America maintains an integrated patient management system that contains reports, information and details of all patients. This combination improved the efficiency of the healthcare sector massively.
- Ensuring security and compliance
The healthcare industry deals with sensitive information about patients, which is why, the data is critical and requires protection from hackers. Automation, here, plays an important role in safeguarding the data through stringent security regulations.
All the above are constructive steps towards improving the healthcare sector through adoption of automation technology.
Areas to Automate
Healthcare and automation in developing countries
Investments in the healthcare industry will not yield any direct and immediate gain. However, both Government and private investments in this sector will strengthen the automation that will ensure both, qualitative and economic advantages. Infact, the healthcare sectors in developing nations need a thrust of automation to meet the global standard of medicine and healthcare.
Hospitals and automation: Real-life scenario
Secondary market research on hospitals in Texas US, that adopted and implemented automation, showcased exemplary results. Patients treated in those hospitals had lower death rates, very few complications and manageable treatment cost. Government initiatives made it simple for the hospitals to adopt the automation technologies such as electronic medical records, computerized order entry systems and clinical decision support systems. This on one hand, reduced waste of manpower and time while on the other hand, improved its service quality. Automation of the hospital’s clinical information is categorized into four segments viz. medical notes, test results, order entry and decision support.
Healthcare reformed with GAVS
A need to improve patient care has led to the coalesce of technology and healthcare industry. In an attempt to do so, the industry eagerly embraced cloud computing, data analytics and security. GAVS Technologies is one such prominent company which empowered the healthcare sector with technology-led solutions and SMART delivery. Infact, GAVS successfully enabled many hospitals and healthcare centers to improve the quality of care offered to the patients.
GAVS revolutionized the healthcare sector with strategic and cost-effective healthcare technology solutions that blend conventional clinical approach with modern technologies. Needless to say, the world is witnessing a transformed healthcare facility through automation.