Posted: October 4, 2022
This is the general (paraphrased) mindset that most post-acute care organizations have subscribed to, especially as regulations and compliances increase the volume of administrative work. However, change is coming. The staffing shortage is forcing organizations to look at optimizing the efficiency of their staff as clinical and administrative teams are pressured with more work.
Here’s what’s happening: administrators in post-acute care facilities are witnessing an increasing number of resignations. The churn rate isn’t being offset by new hires either. Meanwhile, claims are getting delayed, and operations are taking a massive hit. While existing employees are trying to hold the ship together, they’re getting worn out with the sheer volumes of data to be inputed and reports to be filled. It’s only a matter of time before they too start calling it quits.
While this crisis was years in the making, it has now catalyzed into this vicious circle that post-acute care providers across the United States are locked into. There’s a ton of work that needs to be cleared, but it’s impossible for current employees to finish all of it without going into overtime, almost every day. As workloads continue to mount, burnout is inevitable, as 65% of surveyed long-term care providers admit. When burnout levels hit their peak, resignations start to pour in, and operators lose their footing even more.
Thanks to this industry-wide labor shortage, 2022 alone promises the industry a loss to the tune of $19.5 billion. What’s also worrying is the fact that the crisis doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. Facilities can’t just keep bleeding more money than what they’re making. If this situation persists, 78% of surveyed nursing homes and 71% of surveyed assisted living homes believe they will have to shut down operations. It’s been two years since the pandemic brought the world to its knees, but the industry is starting to come apart at the seams.
Exploring what’s behind the chaos
A couple of key reasons have led us to this crisis: employee burnout, the pandemic, and general fatigue. However, one of the reasons that has been cited the most is employees not being able to perform at the top of their licenses. Administrative work involves hours of clicks, moving data and ensuring the right details are entered in the right fields. From patient intake, all the way to discharge and claims processing, there are administrative bottlenecks that consume a significant amount of time from the staff’s schedule everyday. Most post-acute care workers went to college to become good care professionals. They didn’t train to perform hours upon hours of mundane administrative processes. Imagine the exhaustion and dissatisfaction these employees experience as they struggle with such time-consuming work. This is exactly why administrative tasks contribute to a significant portion of the employee churn.
Paving the way forward
The easiest way to relieve employees of this exhaustion and yet ensure the work gets completed is by empowering organizations with technology. Advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) have made it easier for technology to augment and support employees with day to day tasks.
While AI is more commonly heard of today, RPA is also gaining importance and steep adoption in today’s market. Industries around the globe use robotic process automation to handle repetitive processes that are rule-based.
In the simplest of terms, RPA involves training software robots to interact with the systems that are used regularly, and perform tasks just like a human would. RPA is especially useful for rule-based and logic driven tasks that follow a sequential set of steps. The bots follow the instructed steps and perform the task consistently, in a timely manner and efficiently. More importantly, bots don’t need a break or rest to overcome fatigue. They operate with nearly 100% accuracy as long as the necessary parameters are met.
While some organizations are just beginning to explore AI and RPA, today the post-acute care industry already has a solution that is tailor-made for the current scenario. Workflow automation for post-acute care consists of pre-built workflows that can be deployed on existing systems to demonstrate instant ROI. Unlike having to build, train, test and deploy bots with in-house teams, pre-built automation for post-acute care is the easy button to automate administrative work.
With pre-builts, organizations hardly need to spend time on the heavy lifting and their staff can instead focus on higher value tasks. This is a low cost, highly effective solution for organizations that are looking to automate complex, everyday work that their teams invest significant hours on.
There are several opportunities for automation across the patient journey, notable ones include:
So where does one start? While there already are several RPA providers in the market, companies like Element5 provide pre-built workflows that allow organizations to get started quickly and experience tangible ROI.
By automating entire workflows, employees no longer have to spend hours on tiresome clicks. Facilities can easily save hundreds of hours every week from tedious administrative work – hours that can be better invested in patient care. Your staff can now focus on higher value work upstream and mitigate burnout that would otherwise force them to quit their jobs.
Several organizations in post-acute care have already begun automating their workflows and moving teams to focus on more mission critical tasks. On average, organizations that have an automated workflow in place have proceeded to further deploy three or more automated workflows. Unlike implementations that need heavy time and effort, pre-built workflows for post-acute care make it easy to scale the number of tasks that can be automated.
If you would like to know more about workflow automation for post-acute care, visit www.e5.ai.