RPA and Healthcare: An Ideal Match
We recently went to the HIMSS19 conference and participated in the “vendor meets vendor” trek around the massive Orange County Convention Center. Instead of getting a booth we decided to take RPA to the people. We wanted to talk about RPA and Healthcare. My team was struck by how little awareness of RPA there was on the floor. We spoke to big ticket HIS vendors, data analytic vendors, integrators and even the woman who served me several ice coffees and we got a similar look of perplex-ion, when we asked the question, “are you aware of RPA and what it can do?”
This put my team on its head. Obviously, we live and breathe this stuff 24/7 and are out there advocating the power of the technology to our current and future RPA Partners. In addition, many of us have devoted over 20 years of our professional lives developing and supporting RPA applications that automate Healthcare applications (i.e. Epic, MEDITECH, Cerner, Siemens, GE etc..). This also includes lessor known green screen character-based applications. As we walked the floor and talked to one data vendor after another asking them, do you always get the data you need? The answer frequently was, “yes we use HL7 and traditional ETL tools”. We then followed up with, “There must be some data that is missing here? Considering our experience with HL7, API calls and data extracts can be limited based on the vendor and/or apps you trying to get the data from”. This exchange usually led to a further discussion about RPA and its capabilities.
Information systems in healthcare are extremely complex and not to mention can vary in age.
While everyone wants the latest application, in some cases its not the best. Even in an ideal situation when a healthcare institution “upgrades” an EMR/HIS solution, there are still a myriad of disparate systems around it. The data in some cases may not be available via HL7 or database access. So, what happens? The data is lost or not provided, or the institution pays an exorbitant amount of money to have a custom interface and/or API created. This is one of many problems that can be solved by RPA. Using its computer vision, a robot can interact with any application, Web, Citrix, Windows and Character based. Traditionally Healthcare has been a hot bed for Data Migrations (old system to new), Billing/Finance/Revenue Cycle Activities and automating repetitive tasks using RPA.
In 2019, the story is changing and becoming more exciting. Not only have the RPA Computer Vision tools gotten more reliable but data is king right now. Getting realtime data to make “up to the second” decisions is imperative in healthcare and basically any industry. How can you make a proper decision if your data is limited by an HL7 feed that requires quite a bit of effort to change? RPA can fix that, you can simply take the live data from the native front-end application it resides in. No need for HL7 or a data feed.
Today’s current RPA Platforms (namely UiPath) provide an ample toolset to tackle almost any problem a healthcare application may pose.
RPA should be on top of mind instead of a last resort. I know that in healthcare change doesn’t come quickly. We do know there are providers out there that are using RPA to optimize their organizations to gain efficiencies. We will go to HIMSS the next few years as well. I hope that we at CampTek Software and UiPath move the needle and increase adoption of RPA in healthcare. I promise, you won’t be disappointed with the results.