Hospitals worldwide are still struggling to recover from the effects of the pandemic, a major one being a shortage of healthcare providers. With a drastic increase in patients, practices were at maximum capacity, leaving physicians overworked and frequently exposed to illness. Even today, practices can still barely keep up with the flow of patients seeking care, leaving providers wishing for an easier way to do their jobs. Fortunately, the solution to this may reside in hospital automation.
Hospital Automation: A Brief Introduction
Companies have been using automation for years to delegate repetitive and tedious tasks from their human workforce. As a result, humans can work more efficiently and accurately as they are supplemented with robotic automation and AI tools. Humans can focus on strategic and goal-oriented projects, while routine tasks are automated to be completed quickly and efficiently. As a result, the same job gets done - improved and at less labor to a human workforce.
Only recently did the adoption of such automated tools become adopted in the healthcare industry. As mentioned, physicians were severely overworked and understaffed during the height of the pandemic, and most practices have yet to rebuild their workforce enough to meet patient demands. To combat this issue, many hospitals took advantage of recent developments in automation to alleviate many time-consuming and tedious tasks from their doctors - and it worked.
Using robotic process automation and AI solutions, specific tasks such as administrative work, prescribing medication, and making a diagnosis can be completed faster - and more accurately - than ever before. As these tasks can be delegated to automated processes, healthcare providers can focus directly on patient care. Even better, automation can further optimize the telehealth services that so many practices have adopted recently. As a result, providers can perform their job with more efficiency and accuracy than before, and patients receive an enhanced level of care.
Telehealth solutions are instrumental in enhancing patient care, making healthcare significantly more accessible for both patients and providers. Through telehealth, patients can obtain care from any time or location, providing them with flexible, reliable, and accurate care. These telehealth services, combined with hospital automation capabilities, only enhance patient care further.
One of the most significant ways automation can improve telehealth is by improving the accuracy and timeliness of diagnoses. AI algorithms can automatically diagnose patients using a patient’s vital statistics, medical history, and historical data. In addition to determining a diagnosis, AI can assist physicians in identifying high-risk conditions and alerting doctors accordingly. Following this, AI can even make suggestions for a patient regarding treatment, prescriptions, and recommended specialists based upon their current symptoms and medical history.
Not only does AI save physicians significant amounts of time through these diagnostic assists, but it helps patients obtain more accurate diagnoses. Furthermore, as diagnoses can be made more efficiently, it can reduce unnecessary hospital visits, wait time, and other regulatory frustrations commonly experienced during traditional healthcare visits. Patients benefit from enhanced care, and physicians save significant amounts of time and labor.
Another excellent automation tool that many hospitals are incorporating into their telehealth platform is AI chatbots. Within a telehealth platform, such chatbots are enabled by machine learning and use preexisting inputs and experiences to help humans answer healthcare-related queries.
One of the greatest benefits of a telehealth platform is that patients have constant and convenient access to their healthcare providers and relevant resources. One of these resources is direct messaging with their provider, but while providers can answer quickly, they cannot be expected to respond immediately 24/7. While there are resources and information available to patients, sometimes they are not as specific as a patient might hope. For this reason, AI-enabled chatbots are instrumental.
In lieu of directly messaging their provider, patients can communicate with chatbots on their telehealth platform. These chatbots will provide immediate and accurate responses, ensuring that patients have all of their questions answered - no matter how many or when they are asked. As a result, patients get the answers and attention they need, while physicians can focus on more pertinent issues.
Remote Patient Monitoring
For many patients with chronic illnesses, or elderly patients requiring consistent care, it can be highly inconvenient to attend regular doctor’s appointments for a mere vitals check. Fortunately, developments in telehealth technology have enabled remote patient monitoring, which solves this dilemma. With remote monitoring, physicians can monitor their patients’ vitals and wellness without requiring them to have an in-person visit.
This capability is further enhanced by automation, as automated medical devices can screen diagnostic needs of patients and automatically provide care accordingly. This means that if a patient’s vitals are of concern, the device will automatically notify the patient and their provider and even generate a prescription, adjust their device, or even alert emergency services.
For example, if a patient with type one diabetes has low blood sugar, their device can automatically adjust insulin levels to normalize their vitals. The same can be done for patients with pacemakers or any other kind of remote medical device. Furthermore, elderly patients can rest assured that they can always contact their physician if in need of help. If a patient falls and needs medical assistance, their remote device could detect such an emergency and obtain the necessary care.
Patient Registration and Scheduling
Even from an administrative standpoint, automation can significantly improve operations. Within a hospital, one of the most time-consuming and often unorganized tasks is collecting patient data and managing doctors’ appointments. For both patients and physicians, schedules are constantly changing and must be adjusted accordingly, often resulting in error and confusion.
Fortunately, patient onboarding, registration, and scheduling can all be delegated to AI-enabled tools. Chatbots and other automation tools can carry out these repetitive tasks - without error - and even arrange follow-up appointments and confirmation texts and emails. This is instrumental in keeping a practice’s providers, and patients organized, ensuring that the practice can operate efficiently while patients get the care they need.
AI-enabled tools can even connect a patient’s appointment with their health records and symptoms. Understanding this connection allows the system to immediately make arrangements accordingly, such as the length of an appointment, check-up appointments, or booking certain tests and equipment before an appointment. Once it is time for the appointment, providers will already have all patient information available, ensuring they are ready for a consultation, whether remote or in-person. As a result, patient-provider interactions are timely, efficient, and accurate - the perfect recipe for high-quality patient care.
Automation and Telehealth: The Perfect Pair
Telehealth solutions have revolutionized the healthcare industry in recent years, but with the adoption of automation in these tools, it can be improved further. Essential telehealth tools such as telediagnosis, direct messaging, remote monitoring, and administrative tasks can be significantly optimized through automation.
As a result, providers can delegate tedious and time-consuming tasks to their AI-enabled resources and focus more on providing thorough and cohesive patient care. As such, patients receive more accurate treatments and greater devotion from their providers, drastically improving the effectiveness of their care.
Digital automation is no longer the future of healthcare but the present. Implementing AI and robotic automation processes into a practice’s telehealth platform is critical to keeping up with patient demand. With AI-enabled telehealth, any healthcare practice can enhance the trust, reliability, and security with their patients - while ensuring that their physicians can work efficiently and accurately.
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