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A Q&A on Using RPA to Solve COVID19 Disruptions in Healthcare

As the COVID19 pandemic keeps sweeping across the world, the healthcare industry is taking one of the hardest blows and experiencing unprecedented disruptions to its operations, from spikes in hospitalizations to high level backlogs across business units.

Hospitals and healthcare institutions have been able to find relief with technology, using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to alleviate the burden in their healthcare and administrative workforce and keep essential workers focused on critical patient care.

During this pandemic, RPA has helped healthcare providers accelerate patient intake, map out the patients' journeys inside and outside the health system, speed up the processing and reporting of test results, keep track of frontline staff's health, and be able to maintain business continuity of critical back-office tasks with the help of attended and unattended bots.

To highlight some of the critical ways the healthcare industry is leveraging RPA to solve disruptions during this crisis, we hosted the 'Using RPA to solve COVID19 disruptions in the Healthcare industry' live webinar this week, where we had Brett Fraser, JOLT's SVP of Operations, Michael "Chet" Chambers, Chief Evangelist for UiPath, and John Geraghty, JOLT's Healthcare Technology Guru as our expert panel. If you missed the webinar, you can watch it on-demand here. 

In the webinar, the panelists took an in-depth look into the RPA use cases for how the healthcare industry can leverage RPA to respond to disruptions accurately and effectively. During the live Q&A session of the webinar, our attendees asked important questions regarding RPA and how and where it meets with the healthcare industry during this turbulent time. Below we lay out the transcript from the live Q&A:

Q: Can you speak to FEMA and the CARES act reimbursement in RPA?

Chet: With the CARES act reimbursement, RPA was brought on very early to help accelerate the distribution of those funds to the business community, UiPath was contacted by a lot of the large government and financial systems that had no way of handling the sudden volume of claims and volume of work, and RPA jumped in very early on, UiPath sent developers to help them facilitate the rapid payment of those systems and benefits.

Q: Has RPA being used to automate data-entry activities in EPIC (EHR)?

John: Yes, although EPIC's EULA (End User License Agreement) is a bit tricky and it depends on how it is written and your interpretation of EPIC, the EULA allows for employees of your system to directly input into EPIC, and our bots are essentially mimicking the actions of an employee and are de facto employees doing work, so they get credentials in EPIC and they get to log in, log out, just like anybody else, albeit faster.

Q: Can UiPath automate and process handwritten claims and forms?

Brett: Absolutely, using OCR (Intelligent Object Character Recognition) and/or UiPath's AI-powered Computer Vision, we can configure an automation to take a scanned digital image or using a scanner to read a handwritten image, then we can take that data from those handwritten forms or digitally populated forms and gather it, analyze it, standardize it as necessary, and then take that information push it to a single source of truth or fill out fields in an application or website.

Q: What is the average implementation time for RPA to automate a single process?

Brett: That is a very good question, but there isn't a cookie-cutter answer to this, because we don't know what that process is. Every time a use case comes to us we have always got to determine what is the complexity of the process, is it something that is end-to-end within 40 steps that we can fully automate step by step by step, or is it something simple, maybe two or three steps where we can use a micro bot that can quickly, simply jump in and jump out.

Additionally, we have to consider how many workflows are within each process and how we might be able to break it up into multiple bots that are able to work together. We have also got to consider exceptions, where do we need to stop and ask the human for support such as enter your password, scan your thumb, or populate your secure ID token. At the same time maybe ask them for insight that they have to have along the way, not only that, but we have got to consider the data, where we are pulling it from, as well as where we are pushing the data to.

We have to be sure that there are API methods to connect to an application to do the needful, or gateways that can be built for interconnection between legacy or healthcare systems and the automations themselves.

So the short answer is that the implementation time varies depending on the target process' complexity but compared to traditional enterprise system implementations like ERP upgrades or migrations, RPA is a much simpler and faster platform to implement and configure. 

Q: Has RPA being used to automate procurement transactions in ERPs like Oracle?

John: Absolutely it has been used. Early adopters have seen great success using RPA to automate data entry activities in their ERP systems, be it Oracle, SAP, PeopleSoft, NetSuite, etc. With RPA being fully agnostic to the target application, organizations have used it to automate end-to-end processes that move across multiple systems Ie. The procure to pay process has been an excellent candidate to automate across industries, Bots can extract the invoice from email or any other portals, login to the ERP system, input the necessary data, export a report into MS Excel or integrate the data into the sales CRM, bringing together enterprise systems and legacy systems that don't have an API connector and can't be integrated easily. 

We actually did a webinar on this, you can watch it here.

Q: What technical infrastructure do we need to have in place before implementing something like UiPath?

Chet: So environment is always a concern, you first got to determine if RPA will be deployed on-prem or on the cloud, with UiPath your organization can do both. UiPath's hyperautomation suite suits both environments, hardware and virtual machines requirements are minimal, but to have a specific answer JOLT needs to asses your technical needs for your RPA initiative.


We encourage you to watch the full webinar and see the multiple RPA use cases for healthcare organizations to respond fast and efficiently to disruptions during the pandemic. Check out our RPA and COVID-19: Navigating Turbulent Times with The Help of Automation blog to learn more, and head to our upcoming events page to sign up for more webinars of your interest.

Be sure to sign up for our follow-up webinar "Using RPA to accelerate the Healthcare Industry's Financial Recovery post-COVID19" to learn how RPA can help healthcare systems adapt to a new operational reality and reinvent fast to reach financial recovery.  


JOLT is a specialized Robotic Process Automation (RPA) services provider, we can help you and your company navigate the nuances of adapting to a new business reality and setting up an digital-first enterprise.

Contact us to talk to a specialist today about your automation questions and goals, book a free consultation here.

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