Why are healthcare networks so vulnerable to attack? | Technology and AI
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused logistical nightmares in many hospitals, as backlogs of surgeries have piled up as a result of the cancellations. The BMJ has estimated that it will take a year and a half for the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) to recover.
However, software robots can help, by automating IT processes such as replenishing inventory, managing patient reservations, and digitizing patient records. Mark O’Connor, Public Sector Director for Ireland at UiPath, tells us how they deployed robots at Mater Hospital in Dublin, saving clinicians valuable time.
When did Mater Hospital implement software robots – was it specifically to address the challenges of the pandemic?
The need for automation at Mater Hospital existed before the pandemic, but it was the onset of COVID-19 that caused the team to turn to technology and start bringing software robots into the workflow. doctors and nurses.
The pandemic has placed increased administrative pressure on the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) service at Mater Hospital in Dublin. To combat the problem and ensure that nurses can spend more time with their patients and less time on administration, the IPC deployed its first software bots in March 2020.
Mater’s IPC plans to continue using robots to manage data on drug-resistant microbes such as MRSA after the COVID-19 crisis is over.
What tasks do they perform?
In the IPC of Mater Hospital, software robots have been responsible for reporting the results of COVID-19 tests. Prior to automation, the process created during the 2003 SARS outbreak required a clinician to log into the lab system, extract a disease code, and then manually enter the results into a data platform. It was extremely time consuming, taking up to three hours of a nurse’s day.
UiPath software robots are now responsible for this task. They process data in a fraction of the time, distributing patient results in minutes, freeing up to 18 hours of each IPC nurse’s time each week, and up to 936 hours over the course of a year. As a result, healthcare professionals can spend more time caring for their patients and less time on repetitive tasks and administrative work.
Is there a possibility of error with software robots, compared to humans?
By nature, humans are prone to making mistakes, especially when working under pressure, under tight deadlines, and when dealing with large volumes of data while performing repetitive tasks.
Once learned the process, software bots, on the other hand, will follow the same steps each time without the risk of unavoidable human error. Simply put, robots can perform data-intensive tasks faster and more accurately than humans.
Which staff members benefit the most and what can they do with the time saved?
In the case of Mater Hospital, the IPC unit adopted a robot for each nursing approach. This means that every nurse on the ward has access to a robot to help reduce the load on their administrative work. Rather than spending time capturing test results, they can focus on the job that requires their human ingenuity, empathy, and skills – caring for their patients.
In other sectors, the story is no different. Each job will have a repetitive nature. Whether it’s a finance department processing thousands of invoices a day or just sending an email a day. If a task is repetitive and data intensive, chances are a software robot can help you. Much like the nurses at IPC, these employees can then focus on managing exceptions and on work that requires decision making or creativity – the work people love to do.
How can software bots most benefit healthcare providers both during a pandemic and beyond?
When the COVID-19 epidemic struck, software robots were deployed to reduce the red tape that healthcare professionals were facing and give them more time to care for an increased number of patients. With hospitals around the world at full capacity, every moment with a patient counted.
Now the NHS and other healthcare providers are facing a huge backlog of surgeries and routine procedures following cancellations during the pandemic. In the UK alone, 5 million people are awaiting treatment and it is estimated that this could cause 6,400 more deaths by the end of next year if the problem is not rectified.
Many healthcare organizations have now acquired the skills to deploy automation, so it will be easier for them to build more robots to meet the backlog in the future. Software bots that processed records at COVID testing sites, for example, could now learn to plan procedures, process patient details, or even manage purchasing and recruiting to help streamline processes associated with testing. back. The possibilities are vast.
Technology, however, should not be viewed as a short-term, tactical and reactive solution that can be deployed in times of crisis. Automation has the power to solve the systematic problems that healthcare providers face year round. Hospital managers should consider the larger challenge of dealing with endless repetitive work that saps the energy of professionals and distracts attention from patient care and discuss how to invest in a long-term automation project. could help alleviate these problems.
How widely is this technology adopted in healthcare today?
Automation was used in healthcare around the world before the pandemic, but the COVID-19 outbreak has certainly accelerated the trend.
The scope of automation is wide. From the NHS Shared Business Service in the UK to the Cleveland Clinic in the US and healthcare organizations like Norway, India and Canada, we are seeing a wide range of healthcare providers deploying technology to ‘automating.
However, many healthcare providers are still in the early stages of their journey or are just discovering the potential for automation due to the pandemic. I expect to see the deployment of software robots in healthcare to grow over the next several years, as its benefits continue to be realized globally.
How do you see this technology evolving in the future?
If one thing is certain, it is that technology will continue to evolve and grow over time – and I think there will come a time when all the processes that can be automated will be automated. This is called the fully automated business.
By bringing all automation projects together in one enterprise-wide effort, the healthcare industry can take full advantage of technology. This will mean that software bots are getting smarter and smarter in order to achieve and improve more processes. Incorporating the capabilities of artificial intelligence and machine learning into automation, for example, will enable vendors to achieve non-rule-based processes as well.
We are already seeing steps in this direction taken by NHS Shared Business Service, for example. The organization, which provides non-clinical services to around two-thirds of all NHS provider trusts and every clinical commissioning organization in the UK, is working to create a comprehensive robot ecosystem. He believes that no automation should be considered in isolation, but rather technology should extend to all departments and functions. In this way, inefficiencies in the healthcare path can be drastically reduced, saving healthcare providers a lot of time and money.