Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Integrating AI and Robotic Process Automation for the Military Health System

Integrating AI and Robotic Process Automation for the Military Health System

FORUM sat down with Dr. Hassan Zahwa, Partner and Military Health System Lead at Guidehouse, to learn more about how applying artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) throughout the healthcare delivery process can help improve overall patient outcomes. A FORUM IT 100 Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Dr. Zahwa is a decorated U.S. Army Veteran who supported the deployment of the DoD electronic health record, MHS GENESIS.
*Interview questions and responses were adapted from a live interview transcript.
FORUM: How can artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) improve patient safety and satisfaction within the Military Health System (MHS)?
Dr. Zahwa: AI and RPA should be at the forefront of revolutionizing patient care within MHS. By integrating AI, we can harness the power of predictive analytics to sift through extensive patient data to identify potential healthcare risks early. This proactive approach will enable personalized patient care plans while significantly enhancing patient safety.
RPA streamlines administrative processes such as appointment scheduling and record keeping and reduces manual tasks to allow healthcare professionals to dedicate more time to patient care, thereby elevating patient and staff satisfaction levels.
AI and RPA are pivotal in creating more efficient, safe, and satisfying healthcare environments for our military health personnel and their families.
FORUM: What strategies can be employed to reduce provider burnout in the MHS using AI and RPA?
Dr. Zahwa: Provider burnout remains a critical challenge within the healthcare sector, particularly in high stress environments like the MHS. AI and RPA offer innovative solutions to address this issue.
RPA’s ability to automate burdensome documentation and administrative tasks significantly lightens the workload for healthcare providers. This automation improves operational efficiency and allows providers to focus on what they do best, which is caring for our beneficiaries.
Furthermore, AI-driven decision support systems equip providers with real-time, data-driven insights that help streamline the decision-making process. These technological advancements contribute to a healthier work-life balance for our providers, reducing their burnout rate and fostering a more positive work environment each day.
FORUM: How can large healthcare organizations leverage AI and RPA to address non-billable charges or gaps in coverage?
Dr. Zahwa: AI and RPA are invaluable tools for large healthcare organizations in managing non-available charges, as well as coverage and coverage gaps.
RPA’s precision in automating claims processing reduces human errors, ensuring that billing is accurate and comprehensive. This leads to a decrease in non-billable charges, thereby optimizing the financial health of the organization.
AI complements this by analyzing patterns in patient data to identify and address coverage gaps proactively. These two systems working together, ensure that patients receive the care they need and maximize reinforcements for healthcare organizations, contributing to their financial stability and their ability to continue to provide quality care.
FORUM: From a revenue cycle management perspective, how can RPA help in identifying large amounts of funds left on the table?
Dr. Zahwa: In terms of revenue cycle management, RPA is critical in securing the financial future for healthcare organizations and helping providers maintain their commitment to the communities they serve by automating the coding and claims management process.
RPA minimizes errors and accelerates the billing cycle. This efficiency aids in uncovering and reclaiming potential revenue that may have otherwise been overlooked, ensuring that no funds are left unclaimed. Additionally, the RPA’s role in managing claims denial is indispensable; it enables swift resolution of payment discrepancies and enhanced revenue recovery through these mechanisms. RPA supports healthcare organizations in sustaining their mission to efficiently serve their employees and communities.
FORUM: Can you share some examples where RPA has been successfully implemented in military healthcare facilities?
Dr. Zahwa: Let’s start with appointment scheduling automation. We have deployed RPA at healthcare organizations to streamline the appointing and scheduling processes. This significantly reduces wait time while also improving the patient experience and access to care.
When it comes to claims processing efficiency, we also deploy RPA in this area, which has markedly improved the accuracy and the speed of critical functions. The result is a quicker payment cycle and better financial health for facilities without compromising patient data security.
And last but not least, we help organizations achieve staffing optimization through automating the tracking of employee hours. Our team has successfully implemented RPA to streamline the tracking and uploading of staff work hours to a designated government system. This innovation has significantly improved the accuracy and efficiency of staffing processes by capturing precise data on the time staff spend across various functions within the facility. Staffing needs can now be more accurately predicted, which ensures optimal staff allocation, enhances operational efficiency, and supports our communities in delivering exceptional patient care without compromising the quality of care being delivered.


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FORUM Editor
Content Analyst for FORUM and Author on the Daily Take Newsletter for G2Xchange Health and FedCiv.

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