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Take Two Robots and Call Me in the Morning: How Automation Can Transform Healthcare Delivery


Can you imagine a visit to the doctor’s office without hearing the constant click of a computer keyboard? From the moment you enter, the people in the office are accessing different systems and updating information. It can seem as if everyone from the receptionist to the doctor spends more time looking at the screen than looking at you.

And if that situation is frustrating for you as a patient, think about how it feels for the people working in the office. Chances are they didn’t go into the medical field to spend more time on a computer. According to one estimate, primary care physicians spend an average of 18 minutes with a patient. Another study found that physicians spend an average of more than 16 minutes per patient encounter with electronic health records (EHRs). That doesn’t mean that doctors are ignoring patients. Reviewing and updating records is critical to good care.

Even so, it’s probably safe to assume that doctors and supporting staff would rather devote more time to patients, and less to navigating and updating online records. So, how can we flip the script on the situation? How can everyone in the doctor’s office get back some of that time to focus on what matters most: a.k.a., patient care?

One way is to give everyone on staff a digital assistant (also referred to as a robot assistant). A digital assistant can automate day-to-day tasks that involve accessing, entering, and updating online information. The digital assistant can do a lot of the clicking and keying for them. And they can do it for any job where people spend a lot of their day on repetitive digital tasks that take a lot of manual effort and a lot of clicks—not just the medical field.

A day in the life of the medical receptionist

To get a feel for the impact a digital assistant can have, let’s look at the role of the medical receptionist. Here’s just a partial list of what they do every day:

Each task can include logging into different systems, searching for patient names, accessing the right records, updating records, and rekeying information from one system into another. A lot of that activity is also routine and repetitive. It’s perfectly suited to a digital assistant.

Reclaiming time for patient engagement

Some of the ways a digital assistant can make the medical receptionist’s day easier include:

example change work distribution medical receptionist uipath robot assistant

Above is an example of the types of work distribution changes we've seen for medical receptionists using digital assistants via UiPath.

Over a week, the time the receptionist saves starts to add up. By relying on a digital assistant to do the routine and repetitive work, receptionists can reduce their administrative workload significantly. That means there’s more time for patient engagement and other tasks that make better use of their talent and expertise. And the positive effects start to snowball. Less time on tedious administrative work means less burnout and turnover. Fewer staffing shortages lead to lower costs. Meanwhile, the quality of care and the patient experience both improve.

Making automation easy for the end user

The technology that doctors and their supporting teams use is supposed to make their jobs easier—not create more work. But each of those systems was designed for a specific task or purpose. The job of getting them to work together adds to the administrative workload. A digital assistant can take over that task and bridge the functional silos that interrupt a smooth business process.

The robot doesn’t create more work. It automates a lot of the work that no one wants to do, so staff members can do what they were meant to do. And it’s easy to use. Learning to work with a digital assistant isn’t a job unto itself. It’s designed for simplicity.

Ready to learn more about how automation is the right prescription for better healthcare delivery?

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