Are robots coming for our jobs?
Some employees may have concerns about new automated robotic technology and how it may impact the work they do every day to support their families. Will they become obsolete? Will they be replaced by bots?
In actuality, robotic process automation, or RPA for short, can actually empower organizations to do more and earn more, and in our current climate, may actually be the key to retaining employees.
RPA implementations are capable of completing upwards of 15 to 20 steps—or more, freeing up employees to automate menial tasks and spend more time on meaningful work. Automation and artificial intelligence technology isn’t coming for our jobs; they’re coming to help!
How Robotic Process Automation is Making a Difference During COVID-19
While the potential use-cases for RPA are endless, there are a few major ways that RPA is making a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what’s happening with RPA during the pandemic, and how it’s helping workers across the globe keep our infrastructure afloat:
- Faster patient enrollment for testing: Testing is happening at hundreds—if not thousands—of sites across the nation. These include diagnostic labs, drive-through testing centers, and hospitals. In all of these places, there’s an immediate need to speed up the process of registering each patient for their test and add them to the system, since most testing sites are seeing hundreds of patients per day. RPA bots can save up to 8-9 minutes per patient and avoid data entry errors. Faster enrollment means faster results and less time spent in public where the risk of exposure is high, compromising the health of everyone involved.
- Improved work-from-home capabilities: Companies have had to shift to remote work environments practically overnight. As a result, many organizations have scrambled to make this happen in a safe, secure way. After all, not all employees have reliable, secure internet capabilities at home. RPA bots can quickly examine employee information like zip codes, local internet speeds, and WiFi plans to find where companies need to boost employee internet capabilities. Additionally, these bots can register new hardware and set up VPNs to make remote work happen faster and easier.
- Process unprecedented product demand in warehouses: We’re all doing more online shopping now, from grocery shopping and meal kit companies, personal protective equipment (PPE) shopping, purchasing holiday gifts, and more. This means that certain industries are seeing unprecedented demand for order fulfillment and fast shipping. Bots can process these orders so that companies that are overextended or dealing with diminished workforces and social distancing requirements can still fulfill these orders at a high volume to meet demand and keep families safe at home to slow the spread of COVID-19.
- Make hiring faster: Many industries that are experiencing high growth and demand like shipping warehouses, the postal system, delivery services, and hospitals need to increase their workforce rapidly. RPA bots can help hospitals, government organizations, and companies conduct background checks and evaluate applicant qualifications, which gives Human Resources team members the ability to focus on interviews and onboarding.
RPA and Healthcare
McKinsey estimates that for many occupations, about 30 percent of administrative tasks can be easily automated. When it comes to healthcare, RPA robots can’t treat patients, but they can log into applications, move files, and fill in forms, freeing up clinicians to spend more time with patients and provide a higher level of personalized care.
In the healthcare industry, RPA solutions can help extract patient data and generate analytics that can offer staff valuable insights to make more accurate diagnoses.
Additionally, RPA robots can make the online appointment request process simpler. RPA bots can scan the incoming data, synthesize it into a report, and direct the appointment request to the right healthcare professional based on location, potential diagnosis, and insurance carrier. This makes it easier and more cost-effective to schedule patient appointments.
How else is RPA making it easier for healthcare professionals to spend more time with patients and provide better care? By simplifying the claims process. Claims require data input, processing, and evaluation which can be incredibly labor-intensive. This process is also incredibly prone to errors. In fact, it’s estimated that health insurance companies average a 19.3 percent error rate, costing the healthcare industry $17 billion in extra expenses each year.
RPA bots can make this process more streamlined, and practically error-free, eliminating unnecessary and costly expenses. The key here? None of the work these bots are doing is replacing jobs—they’re only making it easier for people to do their jobs better!
RPA Bots: The Key to Retaining Jobs
There’s no question that times are hard right now. The economic impact of COVID-19 has put major stresses on organizations of all kinds, causing companies to trim back on the number of people they employ while asking current employees to work harder and do more than ever before. It’s estimated that it could take 4 years to recover all 22 million jobs that have been lost so far.
While some have expressed concern that “robots are coming for our jobs,” robotic process automation can actually be the key to retaining jobs especially as companies are forced to make hard decisions. RPA can give organizations the power to streamline and expedite their processes and limit expensive errors, which means they can conserve the funds they need to pay their employees.
In one bank’s experience implementing RPA, they redesigned their claims process system, deploying 85 bots to run 13 processes, handling over 1.5 million requests per year. This was the equivalent of hiring more than 200 employees at approximately 30 percent of the cost.
While this may initially cause worry for employees who have concerns about being replaced by robots, in actuality, this could save many employees their jobs, especially during the pandemic. RPA technology can help companies keep up with increased, pandemic-related demand, all while operating on smaller budgets. This technology allows organizations to retain their current employees and keep them from being overworked during extraordinary times.
RPA bots are coming; they’re coming to help us. And, they can be the ticket to keeping your organization running efficiently even after the pandemic is behind us. Ready to learn more? Cronos can help! Contact us today for more information.