Solving Healthcare’s Digital Transformation Challenges with IPA

March 17, 2023

In a post-pandemic world, there is unparalleled pressure for the Healthcare industry to be agile, responsive, and equipped to manage unexpected emergencies. Despite this demand, significant challenges surround the adoption and implementation of technology, especially concerning electronic health records (EHR) and data management. As the healthcare system transitions towards more digital solutions, it’s important for healthcare organizations to effectively manage, and protect  the volumes of data generated by these systems. 

However, these efforts are often hampered by a number of hurdles, from cross-system integrations to security and privacy concerns, which can lead to serious consequences for both patients and providers:

Lack of standardization in EHR systems: According to a 2019 report from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), there are over 300 different EHR systems currently in use across the U.S. healthcare industry. This lack of standardization has resulted in a patchwork of disparate systems that are often difficult to integrate, making it challenging for providers to access complete and accurate patient information.

Adverse medical outcomes: A lack of standardization and interoperability of systems can quickly lead to patient data errors, misinterpretation of medical information, and incorrect diagnoses. The Department of Veterans Affairs confirmed that the Oracle Cerner EHR system caused six incidents of “catastrophic harm” to veterans, four of which resulted in patient death. 

Cybersecurity threats: In 2021, there were over 300 healthcare data breaches reported, exposing over 45 million patient records. This demonstrates the growing threat of cyber attacks on the healthcare industry and the importance of robust security and privacy measures. 

HIPAA violations: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires healthcare organizations to take specific steps to protect patient data and maintain privacy. However, there have been a number of high-profile HIPAA violations in recent years, demonstrating the ongoing challenges faced by the healthcare industry in meeting these requirements. For example, in 2018, a large health insurance company agreed to pay a settlement of $16 million after it was found to have failed to adequately secure patient data.

Workforce shortages: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a growing shortage of healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, and other clinical staff, which is affecting access to care and quality of care in some areas. This shortage is also having a direct impact on the ability of healthcare organizations to effectively adopt and implement technology, as many organizations lack the necessary staff and resources to manage their systems.

Despite the demand for digital transformation within the Healthcare industry, these examples demonstrate the complex and ongoing challenges regarding technology adoption and data management. However, Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) has the potential to address many of the challenges, head-on. 

IPA combines the power of artificial intelligence (AI) with the efficiency of rules-driven process automation to streamline and improve the accuracy and efficiency of decision making. In the context of healthcare, IPA has the potential to address many technology and data-related challenges and drive positive change within the industry.

  1. Standardizing EHR systems: IPA can be used to standardize EHR systems. This would ensure that healthcare organizations have complete and accurate patient information regardless of the EHR system being used. IPA can extract and categorize data from different EHR systems and provide a single, unified view of a patient’s health history.
  2. Enhancing cybersecurity: IPA helps thwart data breaches and improve data privacy by automating the detection and response to potential security threats. IPA can be implemented to enforce security policies and ensure sensitive data is properly secured and encrypted, helping to safeguard patient privacy.
  3. Compliance with HIPAA regulations:  IPA can automatically monitor access to patient data, ensuring it is only accessible to authorized individuals. Automation can also track compliance and streamline the reporting of HIPAA violations, helping organizations quickly identify and remediate discrepancies.
  4. Improving medical outcomes: IPA can leverage real-time message technology to detect clinical errors, automate dynamic dose adjustments during medication processes, and decrease the duration of patient exposure to potential harm.  
  5. Addressing workforce shortages: Since IPA can automate many of the repetitive tasks currently performed by clinical staff, automation can help overworked healthcare teams navigate the current labor shortage. By alleviating nurses from tedious, routine tasks, healthcare teams will have more time back to better serve patient care needs

In the healthcare industry, there is never a second to lose. Process automation has the potential to drive positive change through the industry by saving healthcare providers time and ensuring the most accurate results across all processes. Every improvement in the healthcare industry directly correlates to the quality of patient care. Don’t wait – to learn more about the benefits of automation in the healthcare industry, today.

Cecelia Troyan
Cecelia Troyan is a content strategist and writer at Decisions. She is passionate about accessible digital content and communication.

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