Healthcare Systems Automation – An Overview of Evolution, Trends, and Healthcare DT

Amir Shingray
Amir Shingray
September 13, 2018 | Healthcare

Automation in healthcare has been observed to have gained a lot of hype, especially during the past few years and for good reasons. Healthcare, for a long time, has been stigmatized as an industry involving procedures and operations that could only be performed manually. From admission to discharge, treatments, follow-ups and everything else – patients, practitioners as well as the paramedical staff have to go through a lot of processes.

The myriad processes and operations performed on a regular basis were punctuated with redundancies, leading to errors and eventually affecting the overall quality of care. The actualization of the need to streamline procedures brought automation into the limelight as the way forward for the healthcare industry – and it took no long for the industry to leap towards digital.

Since then, the healthcare industry has come a long way in a short time, with a paradigm shift towards technology, more specifically in the areas pertaining to data and information management. In this article, we will discuss the evolutions of automation in healthcare and how the rising trends are leading to the digital transformation leap in healthcare enterprises. But first, let’s start with the definition.

Healthcare Systems Automation – what is it?

Automation is defined as the use of control systems and information technologies to reduce the need for human work in the production of goods and services. In the specific realm of healthcare, automation refers to the transition or upgrade of manual processes such as data recording and storage, health record management, interconnected devices, task and appointment scheduling, and even diagnostics and prescriptions through the use of smart AI tools. Like any other industry pursuing automation and digital transformation, the automation endeavors in the healthcare sector are driven by specific objectives such as maximizing efficiency by optimizing resources, minimizing costs, and improving quality of care.

Healthcare Systems – History and Evolution

Unlike retail, manufacturing, banking and other industries who took to automation proactively, the healthcare sector has been a laggard in embracing technology for automation. The traces of system automation in healthcare can be traced back to 1960s when the very first shared hospital accounting systems were developed over large mainframe systems and medical data was sorted into a more organized record.

In the next decade, the advancements in technology led to the development of healthcare information management systems. The advancements continued into the 1980s where, making personal computers and Windows-based software a common sight in regular clinics and physician offices, being used for appointment scheduling and billing functions. The Master Patient Index was also introduced in the 1980s to keep track of patients and their medical data.

The evolution and systemization of industry practices continued through the 1990s and with the start of the new millennium, came a breakthrough with HITECH – special Healthcare Information Technology tailored to the industry’s changing needs.

The Present Age Face of Healthcare System Automation and Technology

Better late than never – the global healthcare industry has embraced technology in its entirety and today, automation is all the rage in healthcare facilities regardless of their size and nature of operations.

Actualizing the need for systems and process automation and its potential in maximizing cost, quality, and efficiency, the industry is seeking to invest more in its automation endeavors. A rough estimate suggests around $1.5 trillion will be invested in healthcare automation and digitalization in 2018. The major focus will be in the following key areas:

  • Cloud – moving physical data centers over to cloud-based platforms for better storage, recording, management, security, and accessibility
  • Internet of Things (IoT) – creating smart, integrated and interconnected systems, with real-time sharing of information
  • Big Data and Healthcare Business Intelligence – the industry is now all set to tame the data beast and using Big Data for strategic purposes such as improving and upgrading their services
  • Data Management and Integration – the industry is now making use of smart tools and application for the acquisition, aggregation, profiling, sorting, storing and sharing of data
  • Automating Healthcare Administration – the administrative facet of the industry, comprised of routine functions such as billing, information recording, scheduling, claims, and financial functions have been effectively automated
  • Tech-Centric innovation – the industry has become more receptive towards tech-fueled innovation in services, operations, and workflows. Utilizing mass databases to strategic advantage, the innovation is driven by digital technology is effectively driving a substantial reduction in wastage, errors, and delays in processes, thereby improving the overall quality of care.

How automation is helping the healthcare industry pursue their DT initiatives

Technology to drive quality, achieve outcomes, and deliver value – this has been set as the mantra for automation revolution taking over the healthcare industry on the global spectrum. Automation is fostering synergy across the entire value chain of processes, procedures, tasks, and operations, constituting a full-fledged healthcare system.

The outcomes have already started to unfold, in terms of seamless operations and unparalleled efficiency. By integrating the everyday activities of the entire patient lifecycle in a holistic, unified, and set of tools and applications, the healthcare facilities have been able to achieve (as well as deliver) great value in terms of improved treatment and postoperative care. It is safe to conclude that automation is serving as a segue way for the healthcare industry, and facilitating its transgression towards digital transformation, ultimately. 

 

Infowise:

At Infowise, we are serving as a strategic partner for the healthcare industry in their digital transformation endeavors with our scalable, smart and futuristic tools, software and applications. Our flagship product Infowise UltimateForms Premium Suite contains more than 15 standalone SharePoint applications developed to give you the power to innovate, automate and scale up your processes. Our products have been designed for optimum interoperability and seamless integration within SharePoint. They constitute the structural foundation for digitalization, in larger healthcare systems, university research centers, regional hospitals, and physician practices.

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