There is no doubt automation has vastly improved the quality of human life by making processes that were once time-consuming and physically hard faster and easier. While the advantages of automation has long been enjoyed by industries such as manufacturing and security, there are still some significant developments that can be made if medicine and healthcare embrace automation fully. Here are five ways the healthcare industry benefits from automation:
1. Savings on cost of labor
By reducing the amount of labor-intensive tasks such as clinical diagnostics and lab tests, a hospital or clinic can save on costs associated with these processes, including those associated with employee salaries. For example, if it used to take two medical technologists to test lab samples, now labor can be reduced to one with the use of automated diagnostic analyzers driven by high-quality miniature motors. The use of such solutions could translate to significant and long-term savings for the healthcare sector.
Hospital staff need not worry, however. Automation of medical processes may eliminate redundant roles, but this could also allow employees to take on higher-functioning roles, essentially maximizing their medical expertise.
2. Consistent and quality healthcare
In a medical situation such as surgery, precision is essential. Even the best surgeons can succumb to fatigue and human error. These risks can be minimized through the use of medical equipment such as automated surgical staplers and surgical robots. Robotic surgery also lends better flexibility and control to the surgeons, increasing the chance for surgical procedures to be successful.
Other ways automated surgical tools have helped are through remote or unmanned surgery, as well as minimally invasive procedures. Robotics use in surgery is also known to decrease blood loss, minimize pain, and decrease time needed for healing. It has also been proven that the automation of medical records and related entries has reduced hospital deaths and complications.
3. Improvement on population health
Making medical processes faster and more efficient allows for better population health. The idea is to increase access to healthcare and provide feasible and sustainable services on a massive scale. The only solution to this is automation, as it speeds up procedures, thereby freeing up more hospitals and clinics to take care of more people.
For example, the use of portable ventilation devices allows a patient to be discharged sooner than the usual, and convalesce in the comfort of his home. This solution decreases the need for prolonged stay at the hospital, allowing for better access to healthcare for others.
4. Access to data and analytics
Automation allows for the easy collection of medical data, which can be used for analysis. Big data such as drug effectiveness and clinical trial results may be collated by automated solutions. In each cycle, results are studied and compared to the ones that came before it, and this information may be used to improve the process or equipment.
To illustrate, say a hospital provides automated radiation treatment. Automation can take note of the successes of each therapy, and determine if the method it offers is effective. Determining which methods work best can translate to higher success rates for the treatments a hospital offers.
5. Less waste in resources
Aside from the savings in costs associated with labor, the healthcare provider can reduce waste by going paperless and eliminating the need for spreadsheets and other workarounds. This can also eliminate some of the bureaucratic practices associated with health services.
An example of this is say a patient is given a standardized care plan that is automated instead of round-the-clock supervision by nurses. One way this can be more successful than the common practice is an automated system shows any deviations made by the patient in the program given to him. This can immediately alert the healthcare practitioners of any anomalies and intervene when needed.
These automated solutions for the medical and healthcare sectors not only can be cost-effective for the providers, they can also help afford patients the better quality healthcare that they deserve.