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Leverage Robotic Process Automation to Accelerate COVID-19 Recovery

Featured story in First Illinois Chapter Newsletter, June 2020 - Andrew Woughter, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy, nThrive

Social distancing due to COVID-19 has forced health care industry leaders to rethink how work gets done. Traditional onsite employees are working remotely. Many are deployed to new roles in response to the pandemic. Now is the time to recognize these changes and reinvent processes, leveraging robotic process automation (RPA) to operate more efficiently now and in the future.

What is Robotic Process Automation?

While we are all accustomed to logging into software to get our work done, RPA can do it for us. Think of it as software programmed to log into a system and emulate a person, replicating what a human would do. For instance, a "bot," as RPA software is typically called, can enter a username and password, access an account, trigger application programming interfaces and operate directly on the objects within the system to parse information and complete work processes.

All of this happens in a matter of seconds versus minutes for human specialists, freeing them to work on more complex, human decision-making requirements. While RPA is addressing basic cleanup items such as eligibility mistakes or rejections, specialists can be focused on human interactions such as talking to patients about their itemized statements, something most people still want human interaction on.

How do you get started on RPA?

Evolve your Revenue Cycle with
Robotic Process Automation

Learn how nThrive RPA can automate repetitive tasks, reducing costs and freeing resource time.

Visit nthrive.com/covid19 to watch How Robotic Process Automation Can Improve Revenue Cycle Efficiency During COVID-19 Recovery and other webinars in our Keeping up with COVID-19 series.

Because it is never a good idea to take a bad process and just do it faster, an RPA implementation should start by optimizing and assessing your existing processes. Once you've identified root causes of inefficiencies and deployed corrective actions, RPA can be utilized to emulate many of the clean-up tasks your staff currently does today.

Where is RPA being used to lighten the load?

While there are many choices, common bot applications include:

  • Managing denials
  • Managing lock boxes to address and/or route correspondence
  • Handling eligibility processes
  • Submitting notifications on admissions
  • Adding claims attachments
  • Executing billing edits
  • Translating Medicare codes to standard codes
  • Automating authorization submission and tracking
  • And many more

How hard is it to deploy RPA?

That depends. If you decide to build your own bots, you'll need in-house resources both to create and maintain your bots.

Partnering with an expert resource can be much more efficient, especially if you are working with a vendor who understands health care revenue cycle processes and is committed to RPA for the long term. Look for a partner that creates bots using a "smart architecture" based on shared knowledge that is maintained across multiple users. Should something go awry, issues can be addressed rapidly to minimize downtime.

How much does RPA save?

The average labor savings from RPA is dramatic. One large, 50+ hospital that deployed bots for adjustment claims (XX7 type bill), eligibility denials and root cause (XX7 claims) eliminated between two and four FTEs per application, resulting in ROIs of as much as 583 percent! Smaller facilities can also benefit greatly for a quick win.


*Reprinted with permission from the June 2020 issue of "First Illinois Speaks," First Illinois Chapter HFMA. Visit firstillinoishfma.org.