When you talk to hospital and health system CEOs, many will cite cost reduction and overall efficiency improvement as two of their top financial priorities. The healthcare industry is constantly looking to improve efficiency, reduced waste, and make better use of human capital. The automation of manual tasks has been shown to be an important part of this strategy.
How Healthcare Is Catching up in the World Automation
Automation is part of daily life. You think nothing of using a self checkout at a grocery store or using an ATM. Automation has been used in banking, retail, and other industries for the better part of the last decade. Healthcare has lagged behind and is now feeling the pressure to catch up thanks to increased competition and changes in the demographics of the population.
As the population is aging, more people are turning to the healthcare system. It’s getting to where staffing levels cannot keep pace. It is estimated that by 2025, there will be a nursing shortage of hundreds of thousands of professionals.
Automation Enhances Healthcare and the Sciences but Cannot Replace Doctors and Scientists
Automation saves labor. For example, lateral flow test assembly kitting and similar tasks are better done by machines than by humans. Machines save time and improve efficiency. Automation does not replace trained scientists or medical professionals. What it does is allow them to focus on higher functioning roles that make use of the clinical expertise they went to the university for.
Automation makes it possible for nurses to handle a larger population of patients simultaneously. Instead of scaling the number of skilled professionals up or down as patient volume grows and shrinks, healthcare centers and research clinics are able to scale their automated platform to address their needs.
Automation Improves Consistency and Quality
Humans are subject to error and fatigue. Automated tools don’t get tired when carrying out repetitive activities. Their work can lead to a reduction in complications, a reduction in fatalities, and a reduction in cost.
Since automation increases the predictability of outcomes, doctors, nurses, and researchers can create standardized care paths for patients backed up by automation. Automation makes it easier for these professionals to detect when a patient has deviated from the laid out care plan, allowing human professionals to intervene.
Automation works best in healthcare and in science environments when there is a standardized, repeatable process that can be done by machines as opposed to humans. Automation can minimize the amount of energy needed to carry out common procedures that are performed with the greatest frequency.