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INTRODUCTION
Automation surrounds us everyday, from self-checkout to auto park vehicles and voice-controlled lights. But healthcare has been slower to adopt than other industries. We often wonder if it is the nature of healthcare organizations or the misuse of the term 'automation' by vendors. This guide will help you identify true automation and prioritize which tasks you should automate.

 Like all buzzwords, automation is often over and incorrectly used. So for starters, we need to define automation vs. manual then we can explain why the advent of automation is so important for healthcare.
AUTOMATION
[aw-tuh-mey-shuh n]

the technique, method, or system of operating or controlling a process by highly automatic means, as by electronic devices, reducing human intervention to a minimum.

In English: a solution that works without human intervention.

Manual
[man-yoo-uh l]

involving or using human effort, skill, power, energy.

In English: a solution that requires human intervention.
WHAT IS TRUE AUTOMATION?
Most vendors claim they have some sort of automation so it can be hard to spot the the false automation from the true automation. Here are three simple questions to help you determine if a solution is truly automated or just has good marketing.

    1. In order for the technology to work, does it require your staff to initiate the sequence? Examples include, adding someone to a list or checking them in (or out), requiring patients to go to a portal or different site.

    2. Does the solution work in background? Here is a good pulse check. Ask yourself, if your staff didn't know the solution was turned on, would it still work?

    3. Does the solution complete sequence/job without intervention from staff?
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN IT IS TIME TO AUTOMATE
With the myriad of tasks that you could automate, how do you prioritize which ones to invest in technology to help support your staff. Here are three things to look for when evaluating your needs. 

    1. When a process becomes so time-consuming that it is rarely completed.

    2. When the effort required to complete a process wipes out the benefit (it is not worth the work).

    3. When an automatic solution exists that mimics and improves upon the existing best practice process.


AUTOMATION AND JOBS
Often we find people are a little afraid of automation because of impact on staff or loss of control but a strong product that is truly automated will bring greater benefits to your organization and your staff. Adopting automation does not mean laying off workers, but instead enables them to work on more valuable, clinically-relevant tasks. We have often found that after implementing a fully automated solution, staff satisfaction is improved.

To make an automated process more successful, train staff prior to roll-out. We recommend training them not only on the new technology and how it will support them in their role but also on what patients should expect. We also recommend having them trained on the new/more valuable tasks they will be performing prior to the roll-out so they can start adopting those into their schedule.

SIDE-BY-SIDE COMPARISON; A REAL WORLD EXAMPLE
What we are automating: Filling gaps in the schedule caused by canceled appointments.

What we are measuring: How many appointments can be filled by an automated process versus a manual process? Who will reach more patients to fill open appointments over the course of one month?
THE RESULTS
CONCLUSION
Automation can provide valuable benefits for healthcare organizations of all sizes. From patient engagement and patient access to staff satisfaction and better quality control. Automation can help medical organizations run more efficiently. 

About QueueDr
Cancellations, bumps, and no-shows can wreak havoc on a medical organization’s bottom line, QueueDr fixes that. QueueDr is a web-based platform that automatically fills cancellations, reschedules no-shows and rebooks bumped appointments via text -- no apps to download. The QueueDr solution uses artificial intelligence (AI) to match patients with available appointments, filling gaps in your schedule in 3.4 minutes on average.

As the industry’s first truly automated solution, QueueDr is reducing administrative costs in healthcare and helping patients get the care they need, faster. Visit www.QueueDr.com for more information.
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