MedCity Influencers

Don’t fear automation, embrace it to achieve efficiencies, even professional growth

Strategically deployed, automation within a healthcare organization is not something employees should fear, but rather embrace as a new opportunity to learn all it has to offer.

Healthcare has been fortunate to see a large surge in job creation over the last several years — with recent reports showing one in 10 Americans works within the industry in some capacity. Also, as in nearly all other industries, automation is increasingly playing a role in redefining the way things get done — and its impact on those the health industry employs.

The healthcare automation market was valued at more than $30 billion in 2016, with an estimated growth of 8 percent year over year. But in 2017, the market grew exponentially and is now estimated to reach a growth rate of 10 percent or higher through the year 2025.

Healthcare’s focus on automation is clearly evident with the rollout of new medical devices and self-serve patient interactions brought about with the rise of IoT. Meanwhile, back-office automation trends are gaining efficiencies in employee time management and optimal utilization of a healthcare employee’s skill set.

Most visibly, this is happening through automating repeatable, labor-intensive IT processes, currently performed by employees whose talent could be used elsewhere — for more strategic work. In these cases, automation allows employees to shed these mundane tasks and focus on business-critical issues important to the organization’s bottom line or to enhancing the patient experience. Automation has also opened up professional growth opportunities by allowing employees to focus on vital training — paving the way for career advancement.

It’s important to note that for all of automation’s benefits, there will be an expected decrease in available jobs. For industry professionals who aren’t open to further opportunities or willing to retrain to gain other skill sets, it will prove a difficult transition. Even in light of this fact, it’s estimated that the margin of job loss within healthcare is considerably lower than jobs lost to automation within other industries.

Where automation has a real power play within the industry is the pairing of the technology with healthcare employees to perform tasks at a higher level. In these tasks, automation becomes a companion tool to make quicker diagnoses, evaluate patient health trends and aid in higher-volume record keeping.

Back office benefits of automation are visible immediately after implementation by breaking down and interpreting the high volumes of data being captured every second of the day. This information, parsed and captured via automation helps those with the proper skillsets cut processing time of repeatable tasks by 90%, eliminating antiquate manual processes and the tools they employ such as such as spreadsheets and other manual evaluation tools.

Healthcare is insulated from automation on some fronts because of the necessary caregiver-patient interaction, which so far isn’t possible for a machine to do. High-job growth positions such as at-home care also will be automation-free for the foreseeable future as of course, will many roles filled by doctors, nurses and the like.

Strategically deployed, automation within a healthcare organization is not something employees should fear. They should rather embrace it as a new opportunity to learn all it has to offer. Automation brings vast opportunities to gain additional knowledge about the uses and maintenance within a technology that will only continue to gain momentum These skills are valuable regardless of where your career takes you.

Photo: luchschen, Getty Images

This post appears through the MedCity Influencers program. Anyone can publish their perspective on business and innovation in healthcare on MedCity News through MedCity Influencers. Click here to find out how.