Healthcare continues to change in dramatic and often unpredictable ways. It’s a scramble for organizations in the industry to simply keep up.

For many healthcare businesses, operations are a tangle of complex and disconnected technologies and processes, making it hard to manage costs, improve service quality and become more consumer-centric.

What’s the answer? Accenture research identifies three keys to transforming healthcare organizations: make operations more “intelligent” to transform key business processes; make better decisions, faster; and create more compelling customer experiences.

In this paper, we discuss the key elements of intelligent operations and how healthcare organizations can get on the path to building them.

RELATED: A turn for the better: Intelligent Health Operations
RELATED: Accenture Operations

Healthcare organizations need Intelligent Operations

The intelligent operations healthcare organizations need to compete and grow are driven by a mix of critical elements: innovative talent, rich data, applied intelligence, cloud and ecosystem partnerships.

Combined the right way, these elements enable organizations to transform business processes and make better decisions, more quickly and confidently.

Consider the healthcare claims process, for example. Through digital monitoring tools, intelligent operations alert processors about claims that may be stranded in inventory a few days shy of entering the penalty box. Digital alerts can prevent the insurer from incurring late-payment interest charges and help avoid fielding calls from providers inquiring about payment status.

How does it work?

Transforming processes through intelligent operations, and creating the tools that support them, requires a fundamental understanding of several key details:

  • The type of work the process involves;
  • What kind of people are needed to do that work;
  • Whether there are opportunities to automate some or all of the work; and,
  • Which type of automation makes the most sense (for example, Robotic Process Automation or artificial intelligence).

Once these items are understood, human ingenuity will be needed to build and manage these automation tools—and these uniquely human skills will become even more critical as organizations deploy data analytics to create deep, actionable insights and use more advanced technologies to manage processes.

In fact, with increased automation, an organization’s process experts will gradually change roles, moving from processor to decision maker, making conclusions based on the data the AI tools present and taking appropriate actions.

If the work is transactional and rules based, it's well-suited to robotic process automation, which can execute tasks more quickly, accurately, and consistently than any human, handling far more. If it's a knowledge-based "brain task" it's a job for artificial intelligence (AI), which can augment humans' decision making and analysis.

Where to start?

The starting point for a move to intelligent operations is an end-to-end review of an organization’s operations to determine what should be updated, replaced, eliminated or automated based on desired business outcomes.

Once that’s completed, an organization can define a road map for how it should approach three keys to making their operations more intelligent:

  • Data and technology - learn how to leverage data, apply automation, advanced analytics, and artificial intelligence and tap into the power of the cloud to drive real transformation and breakthrough business outcomes
  • People - reskill employees and hire innovative and creative thinkers who are adept at figuring out how to use advanced technologies to solve business problems
  • Smart partnerships - explore new ways to partner with ecosystem players to bring needed skills, technologies and innovative ideas.

The infographic below outlines why healthcare organizations must transform their operations now.

View the infographic
The healthcare industry faces an inflection point: Established players must address escalating costs and consumer expectations, while also watching for upstarts with big disruptive potential.

Theresa Gaffney

Global Offering Lead – Health Business Process Services


Amit Bhatia

Sales Lead – Health Operations, North America

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