Health care is expensive and the costs continue to rise. Hospitals that want to save time and money should consider automation. While the upfront cost might be high, over time, automation is more cost-efficient than constantly paying employees and providing benefits. Automation also provides a way to reduce accidents, because the procedure is completed the same way every time.
While many automated procedures can reduce employee-related costs, most automated procedures complement the human element of health care.
1. Medication inventories
One of the most efficient automated processes involves maintaining an inventory of medication. Using a pill counter machine to dispense prescription medication reduces human error, especially if the automated process is programmed to identify potential errors (as humans have to inform the machine how many pills to dispense).
2. Patient transfers
When patients have to transfer to different hospitals, paperwork can take a long time to get from one place to another. By automating transfers, patients are more likely to get where they need to be quickly and efficiently. Automated transfers can be between hospitals and within hospitals as patients often need to be moved from different care centers.
3. Automated scheduling
Hospitals that are not using automated scheduling are missing out on a massive money saver. Automated scheduling can be used for employees and for patients. Hospitals that use automated employee scheduling have reduced payrolls and happier employees, as automated scheduling actually gives employees more control over their schedules.
Automated scheduling for patients also makes patients happy. If they can see available appointments online, they can choose the one that works best for them. Patients appreciate not having to make phone calls that are answered by automated systems and followed up by a long wait on hold.
4. Automated reminders
Another smart move for hospitals is to automate reminds. Sending them via text, email, or phone call reminds patients when they have to arrive and what they need to bring. It takes away the guesswork for patients and it takes away the need to send reminders through the mail.
5. Patient check-ins
Another smart move for hospitals is the automated check-in at a smart kiosk. Patients simply type their names into a tablet at a kiosk. There, they can update their information and check that everything is correct in their files. This removes the need for clipboards and paperwork and speeds up the time that patients have to wait in line and wait for care.
6. Smart beds
Another process that can be automated is recording patient stats. If a nurse has to check in with patients every few hours to take their vital signs, they are wasting time actually caring for patients. Instead, smart beds can automate the process of gathering data about a patient’s temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen level.
A sensor gathers the data and then shares it with the necessary staff. The data can be immediately added to a patient’s health record, too. This type of automation is not designed to take nurses out of health care, but to give them more opportunities to provide care rather than keep track of data.