An Intelligent Automation Center of Excellence (IACoE) is an internal team of experts that guides the automation program to ensure that it aligns with the overall mission and strategy of the organization. These centers focus on implementing and managing intelligent automation initiatives that streamline processes, improve patient outcomes, increase efficiency, and improve cost savings. By investing in automation initiatives, healthcare organizations can be leaders in adopting new technologies, improving their competitive advantage, and attracting top talent. The IACoE enables scalable automation throughout the organization, establishes and shares best practices, develops an automation toolset, and utilizes a robust governance structure.
The adoption of intelligent automation in healthcare is driven by the need to reduce costs and improve patient outcomes. A study by McKinsey & Company reported that healthcare providers could reduce claim processing costs by up to 30% by implementing automation initiatives.
Intelligent automation initiatives implemented by CoEs can take many forms, including Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Natural Language Processing (NLP), capturing the tools that were developed along the journey to achieving intelligent automation. These technologies can automate routine tasks, such as data entry and administrative procedures, freeing healthcare professionals to focus on more complex tasks, such as patient care.
The implementation of intelligent automation initiatives also presents certain challenges. These challenges include investment in technology, personnel, and training, resistance to change, lack of expertise, and integration with existing systems. Healthcare organizations must identify and hire individuals with the skills and experience to manage automation initiatives successfully and ensure that automation initiatives integrate seamlessly with existing electronic health record (EHR) systems, clinical decision support systems, and other healthcare technologies.
Despite these challenges, the opportunities presented by implementing automation initiatives make the investment well worth the effort. For example, the Mayo Clinic established an IACoE focused on implementing automation solutions to automate manual and repetitive tasks, such as HR functions. As a result, the Mayo Clinic has seen a 40% reduction in prior authorization processing time and a 50% reduction in insurance verification processing time. The automation HR strategy focused on cascading company performance goals. This action resulted in 4,000 automated hours within six months. Over time they expanded the strategy to include other HR functions resulting in 40,000 automated hours, by following a governance model that ensured efficiency and scalability.
Using their CoE, Cleveland Clinic deployed a fleet of AI tools to handle end-to-end processes such as patient data collection, registering patients, pushing labels to the correct printer, and verifying if a patient has an account in the EMR. Cleveland Clinic reduced the time to complete these tasks from 2-3 minutes to 14-16 seconds. Some of these automations were developed and launched within 48 hours.
Intelligent Automation Centers of Excellence are becoming essential for healthcare organizations that want to deliver high-quality, cost-effective patient care. With the potential to reduce costs, improve patient outcomes, and provide a competitive advantage, CoEs are an important strategic investment for healthcare organizations. By embracing automation initiatives, healthcare organizations can position themselves as leaders in adopting new technologies, improving their competitiveness and ability to attract top talent.