US$265 billion in single dollar notes would weigh more than 42,000 fully grown African elephants. If a person saved US$100,000 annually, it would take them over 2 million years to reach that amount.

This staggeringly high figure represents the amount of money wasted every year in American healthcare, reported CNBC. The biggest culprit is administration inefficiencies.

Healthcare sectors around the world struggle with the administrative processes that add to workloads and take up precious resources. Javed Ali, Industry Practice Director Healthcare at UiPath, and Jeffrey Ee, Sales Director at UiPath, discuss how robotics can reduce delays and save lives.

The challenge facing hospitals

Being at the centre of the Covid-19 crisis, hospitals are facing challenges such as shortage of healthcare staff and disrupted supply chains for equipment. The pandemic has exposed an urgent need to maximise productivity with existing processes, emphasises Ee.

One way to do this is to eliminate the manual paperwork that hospital staff face. Administrative paperwork often requires documents to be printed out and signed. This is an inefficient process which causes delays for the patient and takes a toll on the environment, he continues.

Automating for smoother services

Patients don’t want to stay at a hospital longer than they have to. Automation can shorten wait times by taking over some of these manual tasks.

For example, when patients reach the hospital, robots can help input their name, contact number and other information into the system quickly. They can also verify a patient’s insurance details at the same time, says Ali.

Bots can minimise the amount of repetitive and manual tasks, saving resources and time, says Ee. Besides, they’re “immune to Covid!”

Robots can also help to connect hospitals, so they can provide seamless care while sharing patient data securely. UiPath robots are built to comply with global health data standards. This reduces the cost of data sharing across hospitals and insurance organisations.

Providing data analytics

Data analytics provides insights into patient’s health, medical equipment and logistics. AI is already being used in hospitals to analyse patient trends, make predictions about hospital supplies and even analyse X-ray scans. But “all those deep learning algorithms are based on data analytics”, emphasises Ali.

UiPath’s AI Centre specialises in cleaning up data and making sure it’s ready for use in AI algorithms. This supports the inner workings of these AI systems, and ensures they are operating at maximum efficiency, he continues.

It can also take data from documents and spreadsheets, and input them into software that turns this information into graphics. For example, hospitals in the US were able to collect information from databases across the country and prepare it for a third-party data dashboard, Ali adds.

Enabling employees to get involved

Hospitals and their staff are adapting to the new technologies entering the healthcare sector. But hospitals should be listening to their staff about the kinds of tools they need to improve the patient experience.

Adopting an automation hub can help. It allows automation engineers to hear directly from staff on the ground about where the patient experience can be best improved. This leads to impactful improvements to the hospital’s services, he explains.

This one-stop centre crowdsources automation ideas from employees. It then categorises and prioritises these suggestions based on their feasibility and wider impact, Ee highlights.

Automation will also allow all levels of healthcare staff to take on more highly skilled roles. Healthcare is drawing more qualified employees, and hospitals will need to redesign jobs to fit a changing workforce, participants at a recent GovInsider healthcare roundtable discussed.

Administrative processes are necessary to hospital work, but shouldn’t take up resources that are better used assisting patients. Automation can help to reduce the amount of effort that goes into documentation and data, letting staff focus on what matters.