With the new 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) having turned into a global pandemic, each industry is struggling to know how to best support its employees and customers during this demanding period.
Although all sectors are affected by the global pandemic, the spotlight regularly shines on healthcare facilities.
The media around the world thus evoke the examples of innovative organizations creating flow dividers for ventilators to allow several patients to benefit from the same ventilator, using 3D printers to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) intended for patients. most exposed workers, and many more.
At UiPath, it is an honor to be able to work alongside healthcare institutions by leveraging robotic process automation (RPA) and automation more generally to cope with the explosion of certain demands in the context of a pandemic. In many cases, handing over tedious routine tasks to software robots gives healthcare professionals more time to focus on the patients.
Here are five innovative ways healthcare facilities are valuing automation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reduced waiting times for COVID-19 screening drives
While Control Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) of the United States considered licensing new institutions (such as pharmacies) to turn into drive testing to Covid-19 existing sites recorded a surge in demand, and therefore, long queues.
However, among the people waiting there in their vehicle, many cannot apply the demanding protocol provided for each screening and which requires adherence to social distancing rules.
For example, on the COVID-19 screening drive from the Cleveland clinic :
An administrative employee, responsible for remote registration, checks whether or not the person being screened is among the patients of the establishment.
The administrative department registers the patient in the Epic system, which collects electronic medical records.
The administrative department sends the patient’s screening label to one of the ten remote printers located on the first line of the drive .
At one point, the demand for testing became such that the waiting time at the drive level reached six hours. The slowness of the manual process described here, to which was added the accidental routing of printers, only lengthened an already very long wait time.
To overcome this problem, the Cleveland Clinic created and deployed a UiPath robot in record time (less than 48 hours). The assisted robot thus employed checks whether or not each person is among the patients in the clinic, registers them in the Epic software system (DMI) and selects the correct remote printer to print each screening label. Everything is done by the UiPath robot in fourteen to sixteen seconds .
COVID-19 Automation ROI:
Gain of 8 to 9 minutes per patient
Acceleration of the most urgent COVID-19 tests
Elimination of costly manual errors
2. Automation of the publication of COVID-19 screening results
The problem of overdue medical records is not new, but with the simultaneous detection of several hundred thousand patients around the world for COVID-19, laboratories are seeing stacks of records piling up visibly. The delays in processing COVID-19 screening files do not only concern the labs. The heavy administrative tasks performed at screening sites occupy health professionals for long hours.
At Mater Misericordiae University Hospital (Mater Hospital) in Dublin (Ireland), COVID-19 test results must be entered into different systems and transmitted daily to the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) service, a demanding task until then three hours of input each day.
As is the case with many hospitals, the systems used at Mater Hospital were developed over 15 years ago during the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic. For every COVID test- 19, clinicians at Mater Hospital should:
- Connect to the blood analysis system (lobotomy)
- Get the disease codes
- Connect to a .NET data platform through a virtual private network (VPN)
Manually enter screening results into the .NET data platform
Before testing for COVID-19, the same process was followed to process blood test results, but entering them took two hours from each nurse every week.
Now, Mater Hospital is using UiPath and RPA robots to automate the publication of COVID-19 test results. UiPath robots connect to the hospital’s lobotomy system, apply the desired disease code, and enter the screening result. They save the facility three hours of work each day, which can be spent caring for patients instead of entering data.
COVID-19 Automation ROI:
Daily savings of 2-3 hours per clinician compared to manual publication of screening resultsImproved employee experience Acceleration of operational performance,
3. Accelerating the recruitment and engagement of healthcare professionals
In the United States and the United Kingdom, a national appeal was launched to ask retirees from the world of health (doctors and nurses in particular) to volunteer to provide help during the time of the coronavirus pandemic .
“ To deal with the next shortage [of healthcare professionals], all states, from Hawaii to New Hampshire, are on the verge of relaxing their enabling rules to grant the right to anyone with clinical skills to lend a hand, for example, by immediately allowing doctors from one state to practice in another state, or by asking retired doctors to volunteer, ”wrote Selena Simmons-Duffin, specialist health policies at National Public Radio (NPR).
However, before volunteers can reach health professionals in the field, several preliminary background checks are required, such as criminal records and references. However, not only do these processes take a long time, but human resources (HR) departments are forced to intervene immediately to process (and therefore integrate) the tens of thousands of volunteers who have raised their hands.
A government agency is now using UiPath robots to run background checks and upload app data to HR systems. As soon as a volunteer is ready to be integrated, the competent services are notified. The robots even participate in the distribution of volunteers between the different categories of positions according to employment needs.
COVID-19 Automation ROI:
- Decrease in average volunteer processing time from 5 days to 4 hours
- 35% reduction in manual data entry
- Increase in the speed of the engagement procedure
- Assignment of staff to the next stages of the hiring process and onboarding
- Analysis of data collected on COVID-19 worldwide
It’s one thing to track data from employee health surveys during the pandemic, but now imagine you want to analyze the data collected on COVID-19 in different regions of the globe. This is the mission that a specialized international health agency is fulfilling at this very moment . Its staff devote all of their time to collecting data on the coronavirus globally, centralizing it, and analyzing the latest information in real time. Because precision is critical, manual errors have no place.
If you’ve been looking to track COVID-19 statistics for the community you live in , you’ve no doubt noticed how difficult the task is. This is all the more so as the organization receives information from more than 50 countries and is published in several languages.
This health agency has therefore set up a data filtering system and deployed UiPath robots to process information from different countries (by extracting data from five separate systems) and centralize it in a single source.
COVID-19 Automation ROI:
- Improved accuracy
- Accelerate the achievement of results
- Reduction of manual errors
5 Establishment of capacities allowing a purchasing department to manage an influx of orders
In view of the demand for care induced by the coronavirus, hospitals are currently purchasing a quantity of medical supplies to meet the demand. While the purchasing departments of these establishments have the dual responsibility of acquiring and inventorying supplies, the current need to order a large number of medical supplies is straining them (not to mention the mental pressure, knowing that everyone is aware of the urgent need to send them to the field professionals acting on the front line).
More specifically, the purchasing department of a large Canadian hospital is currently required to process volumes of medical supplies ten to twenty times greater than those covering its ordinary needs. The result is an accumulation of purchasing records and delays in the delivery of medical supplies throughout the facility.
In this context, the hospital is deploying UiPath robots to compare orders and stocks in real time. Automation not only alleviates pressure on purchasing staff, but also ensures that requested medical supplies are delivered to the right hospital store on time.
COVID-19 Automation ROI:
- Reduction in the number of pending purchase files
- Improved speed and accuracy of inventory management
- Reliable and on-time delivery of urgent medical supplies to the right stores
Ready to roll out RPA in your healthcare facility?
These are just a handful of examples of how healthcare facilities are currently using automation to overcome the surge in demand due to COVID-19. Consult our library of additional examples, constantly enriched.
Although this post was primarily about RPA and automation, the heroes mentioned there are to be looked elsewhere. It is the healthcare professionals who intervene on the front line by devoting the time freed up by software robots to patients. To conclude, I obviously do not forget to thank all those who are acting around the world in the service of health during this pandemic.