Automation could play 'critical role' for NHS in 2024

15 April 2024 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read

The healthcare industry is inundated with challenges, from an ageing population and higher cost of care to poor processes between providers and a mountain of repetitive tasks restraining staff from higher-value, patient-focused work. Howard Williams, director at consultancy ThinkAutomation, explains how the benefits of automation could help play a critical role for the NHS in 2024.

Burnout among healthcare professionals is becoming a growing concern as the sector continues to be stretched by chronic underfunding, increased demand for services and long waiting times. Post-pandemic healthcare has also experienced increased workforce pressures. The NHS was oversubscribed before the pandemic and the impact of it has been crippling.

The healthcare industry is also facing a crisis in recruitment and staff retention. With many healthcare professionals choosing to leave the industry due to feeling overwhelmed. Staff retention is key in any high-skill industry and healthcare organisations need to look at better ways to perform processes while achieving cost savings, improving patient care and ensuring that healthcare professionals stay within the industry.

Automation could play 'critical role' for NHS in 2024

Third-party software providers can provide intelligent automation that can improve healthcare services by removing inefficiencies and bottlenecks by strategically integrating systems with other technologies for better cross-department communication. Automation also frees up time for healthcare professionals to concentrate on patient care and front-line services, by handling the most time-consuming data processing and administration tasks.

Automate healthcare administration

According to Fact.MR, the global healthcare automation market was valued at $38.6 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach $94 billion by the end of 2033. With the evolution towards smart healthcare services, automation needs to be embedded across all clinical pathways.  

Third-party software providers can implement automation that helps healthcare providers to manage their admin in a way that’s comprehensive, cost-effective, and HIPAA compliant. It also enables healthcare providers to keep confidential patient data inside their organisation. Robust automation platforms are designed to meet the security needs of healthcare organisations. Installable deployment keeps healthcare providers in control of sensitive patient data, allowing them to easily comply with HIPAA guidelines. 

Durable and continuous automation can also provide secure, local data processing. It can sit behind an organisation’s DMZ, it is independent from third-party clouds and encryption and decryption of data can be rolled in as standard. It can also run on healthcare providers’ own servers and behind their firewalls.

The benefits of automation

Automation can handle any number of administrative processes, for a fraction of the usual cost. Third-party software providers can provide subscriptions that cover healthcare providers for unlimited data processing and unlimited workflows. Automation lets healthcare providers send automated SMS alerts or appointment reminders, issue triggered outbound emails to patients and staff, process attachments and extract and upload data, automate the patient enrolment process, bridge IT systems and share data internally, send, receive, and store messages in 40+ languages with auto-translation.

Flexible healthcare automation is an open-ended workshop. Healthcare organisations can build out the custom workflows that work for their organisation, all using rule-based logic.

As the healthcare industry continues to navigate mounting pressures and evolving challenges, the benefits automation will only gain more and more traction. As healthcare leaders evaluate their infrastructure, expenditures and processes, digitisation and automation will be front and centre.

Healthcare automation means that clinicians can spend less time on administrative and time-consuming, inefficient, process tasks, freeing them up to focus on their expertise, engage with patients and streamline care.

Automation in healthcare improves healthcare delivery, reduces costs, enhances patient outcomes as well vastly improving the employee experience. As technology continues to advance, providers, patients and employees stand to see even more benefits.

ThinkAutomation is a tool which powers business process automation. It allows clients to automate on-premises and cloud-based business processes to cut costs and save time.