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Robotic Process Automation Sweeps Across Healthcare Industry

July 8, 2021
As businesses step into a world where automation is fast becoming an industry standard, robotic process automation could well be the key to accelerating digital transformation goals.

This article appeared in Electronic Design and has been published here with permission.

At a glance:

  • Why is robotic process automation becoming a preferred technology among businesses?
  • How is robotic process automation helping accelerate COVID-19 vaccine delivery?
  • What strategies are tech giants adopting to meet the demand for RPA solutions?  

The robotic-process-automation (RPA) industry is booming worldwide as more companies move toward automated technologies to unlock higher efficiency, accuracy and speed. Businesses will certainly look to leverage intelligent technologies such as RPA to keep employees efficient and engaged, as they enter the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the technology experienced widespread adoption during 2020, it’s expected to mature into a solution meant for every department of a business organization.

Gartner estimates that spending on RPA software solutions will grow by nearly $1.5 billion during 2021. The quick and easy nature of RPA in automating manual processes has been a key factor fueling its adoption worldwide. Large enterprises as well as small- and medium-sized businesses can leverage the benefits of RPA via faster data processing and lower time spent on repetitive tasks by employees.

Considering the current rate of adoption, it can be estimated that the global robotic process automation market size will be worth over $23 billion by the end of 2026.

RPA Helps Scale COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Following the widespread disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare organizations have started to recognize the value of automation in promoting business continuity. RPA, with its ability to speed up tedious, time-consuming tasks, can help streamline numerous healthcare operations, allowing providers to dedicate more time to patients. RPA solutions also offer increased support to healthcare organizations, enabling them to mitigate the risk of employee burnout as frontline workers get pushed to their limits.

Robotic process automation will account for around 37% of healthcare AI investments over the next few years, according to KPMG’s AI survey that included about 100 respondents each from healthcare and life-science firms.

As the world continues to battle the pandemic, healthcare and life-science business leaders are banking on RPA’s ability to monitor the spread of the virus and help with the development and distribution of vaccines. In March 2021, Notable Health, a leading provider of intelligent automation solutions for healthcare, partnered with the North Kansas City Hospital (NKCH) to accelerate the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to Missouri based residents.

Notable Health and NKCH have formed a coalition called Operation Safe to scale their vaccination efforts and vaccinate up to 4,000 residents per day. The company is using RPA in combination with fast healthcare interoperability resources (FHIR) to train digital assistants or bots to scan electronic medical records (EMRs) for available appointment schedules for patients meeting eligibility requirements such as age or pre-existing health conditions.

NKCH is leveraging Notable Health’s RPA tools to automate and digitize identification, scheduling, outreach and pre-visit intake workflows to vaccinate more patients faster.

Tech Giants at the Forefront of RPA Innovation

In a highly competitive environment, business organizations are exploring ways to be more productive using strategic and innovative thinking. This apparently has accelerated the deployment of RPA technologies among large enterprises as well as small and mid-size enterprises.

Leading tech firms are constantly innovating and adopting new strategies in anticipation of similar trends in the near future. In March, Microsoft India announced plans to roll out its Power Automate Desktop solution for Windows 10 users at no additional cost.

The Power Automate Desktop solution is a new RPA application that allows businesses to automate repetitive manual tasks and emphasize high-value processes to achieve higher efficiency and performance. It’s an easy-to-use platform that would allow users to streamline workflows, reduce human errors, minimize maintenance cost and effort and boost scalability while ensuring security.

During the same month, Google Cloud formed a strategic, multi-year alliance with Automation Anywhere, a global RPA leader, to help meet the intelligent automation needs of businesses worldwide. As per terms of the deal, Automation Anywhere will move its cloud-native Automation 360 automation platform to Google Cloud as its primary cloud provider; the company is expected to be the latter’s chosen RPA partner.

Together, the two companies aim to build automation-powered products and services tailored for industry-specific applications, primarily within retail, supply chain, financial services, telecommunication, healthcare and life-science sectors.  

Evolution of RPAaaS and the RPA Industry’s Future

Robotic process automation is expected to be one of the biggest, if not the most important, IT trends in the years to come. When deployed, the revolutionary technology can significantly enhance business efficiency and strategy making.

Robotic process automation as a service (RPAaaS) also is anticipated to go mainstream in the coming years. RPAaaS has the potential to help business cut development and deployment costs by utilizing the most reusable and impactful components.

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