The COVID-19 pandemic has hit all industries, but it has put a real squeeze on the healthcare industry. This pandemic is pressuring healthcare providers from all sides, causing an increase in patients that require intensive care and ventilators, but also causing a constraint on revenues as most other departments halt and defer services to protect those patients and caregivers from becoming infected. Many organizations are strongly considering or have already initiated furloughs given the reduced cash flow, and the potential long-term human resources repercussions that will be felt months ahead, even when the curve of COVID-19 cases flattens. Pressure can be a good thing, turning pieces of coal into diamonds — but only if healthcare organizations can stand the test of time.

One thing that is becoming increasingly apparent from this pandemic is the need for automation. Having digital workers — those that are not impacted by working from home, self-quarantine, or other business process disruptions — unceasingly performing processes and monitoring controls, can be invaluable in optimizing the efficiency of human workers. Many healthcare organizations are not yet seeing a surge in cases or have not been as significantly impacted as those in New York City and other highly populated areas. However, most of these organizations are still seeing the workforce implications. One alternative approach is to invest the time now to identify those processes that can benefit from automation through the use of virtual robots. The automation of transactional process execution can provide immediate benefit while also preparing organizations to respond once the pendulum swings in the opposite direction, and all those procedures that were deferred now require attention. There will be an inevitable push to attend to those procedures as quickly as possible and process claims and collect revenue at an equal pace. Automation can help make these necessary steps more efficient.

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