Healthcare spends over 40 billion dollars in technology every year. Much of that money is spent replacing existing systems and enhancing the current infrastructure. Implementing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is different. RPA can be layered over existing platforms making it a cost-effective delivery solution for business owners, while also being championed by IT. The beauty of RPA in Healthcare is the nonintrusive way the technology works with established in-house platforms (Example: EMR like EPIC or Practice Software like Point Click Care).
The Healthcare Industry is starting to invest in RPA to automate processes and mitigate interoperability at a lower cost. In this article, we will compare the leaders in the Buy vs Build RPA market as defined by KLAS Research – UiPath and Olive. A 12-point feature comparison of the solutions is also included.
RPA in Healthcare
RPA is not a new concept in the world of Healthcare. However, the evolution of this product category, along with the benefits it brings to an organization and its patients/providers, is moving at warp speed. At its base capability, RPA is a technology that converts a desktop computer or server into a software “robot” (Vs. Physical Robot like a Davinci Surgical Robot). This robot can perform human actions such as click, copy, paste, and move. In recent years, RPA technology has evolved into a new product category called Hyper Automation (RPA + AI, ML, NLP, ICR/OCR). This enables robots to abstract, read, convert, and take the next best action, allowing for more cognitive processes to be automated.
A recent PWC COVID19 Impact Poll found that 54% of Healthcare CFOs plan to develop or enhance their RPA roadmap as part of their strategic plan. This innovation will transform the Healthcare system and effectively enhance the work of 20% of Healthcare staff. This work includes:
- Front office Example- Self Service Patient Administration and Utilization Management
- Middle/Clinical Example- Operation Bot for every Doc to reduce clinical workflows
- Back Office/Revenue Cycle Management Example- Automated Pre-Certification and Prior Authorization submission and status
COVID19 has significantly altered the way Healthcare looks at technology. Budget and focus have moved from transformation to business continuity. Taking the time to develop and evaluate pilot programs has been replaced with a priority to positively affect the bottom line as quickly as possible.
SphereGen, a company with over a decade of experience building and integrating Healthcare IT solutions, is often asked to compare the Buy vs Build RPA approach. In formulating what approach an organization should make, we consider organizational change, current spend ability, and overall vision for the program.
About the RPA Leaders in Healthcare
UiPath was founded in 2005 by its current CEO Daniel Dines, as “DeskOver,” a company that focused on software outsourcing, building automation libraries, and software development kits using proprietary computer vision technology. In 2012, the company shifted toward RPA and became UiPath, building out a platform for enterprise automation development and management. Today, this platform focuses on free training and robot orchestration which supports their vision of a robot for everyone. Since 2013 the company has experienced 4000% exponential growth and is valued well over $9 billion. UiPath has been recognized as the leader in the field of Robotic Process Automation and AI by Gartner and Forrester for the last 2 years.
CrossCHX was founded in 2012 by its current CEO Sean Lane and rebranded to Olive in 2017. As Olive, they launched their first customer site in 2019 and now have over 500 U.S hospitals in their client base. In 2020, Olive received $51 million in funding to focus on their RPA and AI solutions in Revenue Life Cycle Management to empower Healthcare organizations to improve efficiency and reduce cost. Olive delivers its automation as a service through a SaaS RPA BPO model. They deliver all aspects of RPA automation – development, maintenance, and post analytics. CB Insights recognized Olive in 2019 as a Top Vendor in Healthcare back-office administration technology.
The following table illustrates the differences between the two products/ solutions. References to industry terminology can be found at the bottom of this article.
Olive works within a consulting engagement. The targets focus on direct delivery models. There is no mechanism for on-line training or downloadable trail software outside of a paid engagement directly with Olive. The vision is focused on using AI to streamline Healthcare through direct engagement with Olive consultants.
UiPath presents a complete environment for current and future development. That environment is built on developing partner relationships and continued investment in development tools. Training is open and there are free editions of the software for personal use. UiPath is looking to completely revolutionize how Healthcare works.
Time to Value
Olive is designed to be a quick execution with low effort on the client-side. These implementations usually perform at a 2x return within a 2-month timeline.
UiPath implementations require coordination between the client and UiPath and/or a partner. A typical deployment involves a 1-month POC and a 4-month deployment yielding a 4x return.
Olive is designed to work as a service provider and easily fits into organizations that struggle with adoption.
UiPath is designed to be an enterprise tool. If there is not a culture of innovation or technology adoption, a UiPath solution will take time to prove an ROI even with a partner.
Olive’s services focus on Revenue Cycle Management with some added elements around scheduling.
UiPath is designed to be enterprise-wide and is applicable in every facet of operations and clinical delivery.
Continuity in Year 2
Many Healthcare organizations have started with an Olive model and moved to a UiPath model in year 2 when they have built the competency. The cost to transition is higher as all robots delivered by Olive need to be rebuilt in UiPath. There are no conversion applications for any RPA solution today.
RPA has matured but is still not available at a commodity cost, like Microsoft office. However, with a
2-4x return, the long-run cost is minimal and should not be the main consideration when choosing an RPA solution.
When considering RPA Healthcare solutions, use the following guide:
Use Olive when you:
- Want to focus exclusively on Revenue Cycle Management
- Think you might have trouble introducing RPA into your organization
- Want an outsourced only model for implementation
Use UiPath when you:
- Have a larger vision to transform the organization from within
- Want to introduce automation to any area within the business, not just Revenue Cycle Management
- Want the option of training your staff to eventually move to in-house development
** if you chose a hybrid approach and plan to jumpstart RPA using Olive, eventually switching to a longer-term solution with UiPath, be aware that the solutions are not cross-compatible. Moving from an Olive solution to a complete UiPath solution will result in an unrecoverable cost.
Automation Scheduling: The ability to scale is based on how an organization manages its digital workforce/robots. The ability to trigger work and assign it real-time reduces license usage costs and allows robots to run 24/7.
Unattended Bots: Robots that run on a server (physical or virtual) and perform work without human intervention.
Attended Bots: Robots that run on a desktop as an assistant to the employee to help accelerate the work being done.
Error Logging: Error handling and reporting when a process fails.
Connectors/Integrations: Focus on 3rd party integrations to orchestrate work between platforms or technology (Example: Health cloud triggers the automation scheduler through API to assign a robot to intake a referral and enter it into an EMR)
Computer Vision: The ability of the development application to use the code of the application instead of the visual elements on the screen for automation. (Example: Computer vision can identify a patient name field without it knowing where it is on the screen)
Backend Processing: Ability of the attended robot to work in parallel to the employee without interfering with the keyboard or the mouse.
End-User Access: Tools and Applications that allow a business user to develop automations and track the performance.
Automation discovery: Tools that help identify automation potential and build a value-based pipeline
Citrix Automation: Most Healthcare platforms (Example: Epic) run through a Citrix environment. Automation through Citrix is difficult with traditional automation techniques leaving the process brittle. Capability in this space significantly improves automation outcomes.
Training: Offering support to the staff to create or support automations, grow the RPA practice, and improve overall scale.