By Sam Salbi, CEO, FitLyfe
Automation may summon dystopian visions of a labor force crowded out by machines that work 24/7, don’t take breaks, or demand a competitive benefits package. But, according to Accenture’s report Intelligent Automation Is Changing Healthcare, 2016, “Intelligent automation really means combining technology with people to get a job done — either in a more effective way or a more productive way.” The report goes on to state, “Intelligent automation is healthcare’s essential new coworker for the digital age because it takes things off the ‘thinking list’—adding value while lessening burden.”
Intelligent automation is not about laying off workers and replacing them with machines; it’s about elevating them to high-functioning roles which ultimately improves service quality and, as it relates to healthcare and wellness, outcomes.
Intelligent automation can be — and indeed in many ways already is — a force for good in improving healthcare delivery and outcomes. Consider the following impacts: decreased operational costs (claims administration, claims adjudication and processing, payment integrity complaints, and appeals), improved data analytics (tasks executed by robots allow for analysis), increased regulatory compliance (steps are tracked, traceable, and documented), increased efficiency and accuracy, higher employee productivity (software agents handle repetitive tasks, freeing workers to focus on higher-level activities), and improved member and provider management (account setup, eligibility, and enrollment, billing, and customer service).
But what we’ll start to see in the coming year is a shift from transactional automation to analytic automation as it begins to be applied to higher-level problem solving and critical thinking. This will move the conversation from cost reduction to quality, engagement, and innovation and will have significant ramifications for the way population health and wellness programs are designed, deployed, and utilized. Following are two examples:
Intelligent automation is the future and, per the above, has huge implications for healthcare — from improving diagnostics and patient care to using actionable analytics to improve engagement and outcomes. The challenge is not only finding the right technology that allows you to apply a sophisticated level of automation, but in understanding that automation is, ironically, labor-intensive.
Typically, companies automate the chaos and end up with … automated chaos. Success begins by asking the fundamental question: what specific needs/objectives will automation solve? As automation technology becomes more powerful and refined, it will require dedicated and forward-thinking staff — HR, IT, senior management — working in concert to fully leverage its promise in meeting the single most important goal for any healthcare organization: improving outcomes.
About The Author
Sam Salbi is the CEO of FitLyfe, gofitlyfe.com, developers of custom-built population health and wellness automation solutions that increase utilization and improve outcomes through personalized engagement. FitLyfe empowers and educates consumers to take responsibility for their health by providing tools and resources uniquely tailored for each health and lifestyle profile. Organizations benefit from the ability to more strategically administer their incentive design and allocate their resources, track and measure trends and impact, reduce duplication and error, and, ultimately, cut costs through efficiencies, member retention, and improved health outcomes. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org