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Joel Arun Sursas Weighs in on the Question “Could Robotic Process Automation Potentially Replace Healthcare Professionals?”

Originally published on acroan.com

Robotic Process Automation, also known as RPA, is a tool that works to partially or entirely automate[1] manual, repetitive, and consistent tasks to make them run efficiently and accurately. For those working within the medical field, this could reduce or eliminate the need to hire employees to look over data, schedule patients, and process claims. In this article, doctor and health informatician Joel Arun Sursas weighs in on whether Robotic Process Automation could replace this niche of healthcare professionals and discusses the specifics of this industry.

The Benefits of Robotic Process Automation in Healthcare

When looking at the benefits of RPA in a healthcare setting, there are a few areas that could be improved upon by the introduction of this technology, including things like basic clinical functions that would be expedited with automation. It would also free up human hands from monotonous, low-level tasks and allow them to focus on larger, more critical areas of work.

While still a fledgling science in many ways, the realm of RPA could be groundbreaking if the technology continues to improve. Imagine going online and taking a questionnaire to determine whether you need to go to the hospital or just stay at home[2]. The time saved by this type of service is almost unimaginable!

There is so much potential for growth in things like dispatching ambulances, choosing which doctors to be seen, and accessing medical records, among other facets of care. According to Joel Arun Sursas, the efficiency will be unmatched and provide an incredible benefit to the medical industry.

Will Robotic Process Automation Replace Traditional Healthcare Jobs?

While there will always be uncertainty concerning job safety and stability when a new piece of revolutionary technology is released, it is unlikely that there will be a significant amount of jobs lost once RPA technology becomes widespread.

In MD Anderson’s Cancer Center[3], there have been over eighty different RPA facets installed. The technology is used along with nurses and staff to create a more seamless experience for patients and clients. This is likely how this type of technology will be used as a whole, as it works best when used in tandem with actual humans.

RPA can do a lot, but in times of crisis and illness, having a human present to alleviate the emotional side of things is key in providing proper services. These RPA tools are there to streamline the process, not eliminate the need for healthcare workers. The human touch will always be needed.

Like any other technological advancement, there needs to be balance. Humans are needed to ensure things are running smoothly and to do the things that technology cannot complete. Technological progress is inevitable and the value of this type of advancement is undeniable. It is just a matter of business owners finding the middle ground where man and machine can meet to create the best healthcare experience possible.

So, to sum it up: no, RPA technology is not going to eliminate healthcare worker jobs. Instead, it will work to make them much easier and provide valuable, fast-paced assistance while allowing healthcare workers to focus on tasks that require more urgency.

About Joel Arun Sursas:

Joel Arun Sursas holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine and a Bachelor’s Degree in Surgery from the National University of Singapore and is continuing his education to obtain a Certificate in Safety, Quality, Informatics and Leadership from the Harvard Medical School, and Masters in Applied Health Science Informatics from the Johns Hopkins University (both expected in 2020). His technical skills include SPSS, RevMan, and Python. Dr. Joel Arun Sursas’ most recent engagement is with a medical device start-up company Biorithm where he serves as Head of Clinical Affairs, working to take fetal surveillance out of the hospital and into the home, revolutionizing the obstetric practice globally.

References

  1. “What Is Robotic Process Automation?” AIIM – The Association for Intelligent Information Management, https://www.aiim.org/What-is-Robotic-Process-Automation#. Accessed 23 Sept. 2020.
  1. deloitteeditor. RPA in Health Care Can Improve Outcomes for All – CIO Journal – WSJ. Wall Street Journal, 18 Oct. 2018, https://deloitte.wsj.com/cio/2018/10/17/rpa-in-health-care-can-improve-outcomes-for-all/.
  1. “3 Things AI Can Already Do for Your Company.” Harvard Business Review, https://www.facebook.com/HBR, 1 Jan. 2018, https://hbr.org/2018/01/artificial-intelligence-for-the-real-world.
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