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The Orange Chair Podcast, Episode 11: RPA and Epic - A Perfect Match

Epic Automation Examples

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Greg Aiken

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Epic Automation Examples

Episode 10: RPA and Epic – A Perfect Match

The following is a transcription from Episode 11 of The Orange Chair Podcast, “RPA and Epic – A Perfect Match.”

In this episode, we sit down with Sam Whitten, Director of RPA Sales for KeyMark. We discuss examples of how Blue Prism RPA can automate Epic EMR software.

Sam highlights a few processes where he sees how RPA can really shine within the healthcare industry, by automating processes with a digital workers. 

To listen to the full episode, or any other episode, you may do so by selecting your preferred podcast listening method on The Orange Chair Podcast page.

Enjoy!

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Introduction

Alex Frazier (19s): Hi, everybody. Welcome back to The Orange Chair Podcast. Today, are going to be talking all about robotic process automation (RPA) and Epic integration.

Today in the orange chair we have Sam Whitten, KeyMark’s Director of RPA Sales. Sam, who are you and what do you do? And tell us about yourself.

Sam Whitten (1m 7s): Hi, Alex. Thanks! As you said, I’m Sam Whitten. I’m the Director of Sales for RPA. I came on to KeyMark back in March after three and a half years with Blue Prism. I have quite a bit of knowledge within the RPA space, so my job is to set the direction for KeyMark’s RPA team.

That includes the relationship with Blue Prism, and also working with current account executives at KeyMark and current KeyMark customers to try and find opportunities within the RPA space.

Alex Frazier (1m 46s): Great. Well, do you have a fun fact that you can tell us about yourself?

Sam Whitten (1m 50s): I’m a huge baseball fan. My, brother was lucky enough play for the Florida Marlins and I’ve got two boys that both played college baseball. So I’ve gotten a big baseball family and just enjoy that a tremendously.

Alex Frazier (2m 10s): Yeah. Well I love watching baseball, too. That’s great. I want to jump on into this podcast and we have a lot of things to cover, but first I wanted to get a baseline understanding of what RPA is. For our listeners who may not know or may not be familiar, what is robotic process automation?

RPA Explained

Sam Whitten (2m 31s): The easiest way to look at RPA is anything that a human can do on a keyboard, robotic process automation can also do. I’m talking about the tedious tasks that humans have to do within their day-to-day job. Maybe they are keying information, looking at some type of document and then rekeying that documents somewhere else are all of that type of information can be done through RPA and what it does. 

It really takes the tedious tasks off of the human being and allows the human to do more of the customer interaction. Because maybe phone calls, or meeting in person would allow them to do their job in a better way.

RPA Use Case

Alex Frazier (3m 18s): Okay. Can you give us a specific example of a process where you’ve seen RPA really shine?

Sam Whitten (3m 24s): Yeah. As I talked about and a lot of areas, you may be receiving invoices and having to match those invoices up to see information into another system within your organization.

RPA could, through a number of different methods, use AI with optical character recognition (OCR) to be able to read that document when it comes in. Once it has been scanned, it could pull the information off of that document and then feed it into the other systems where that information needs to be stored. Maybe its kicking off a process or just needs to save that information to a file or something along those lines.

Those are some of the typical types of situations where RPA comes into play.

What is Epic and Why Is Epic Warming Up to RPA?

Alex Frazier (4m 8s): Great. In this episode, we’re talking about RPA and Epic integration. So to start, what is Epic and where is that used? What is the industry?

Sam Whitten (4m 18s): Epic is actually a company and a solution. Epic systems is a privately held healthcare software company. They have what’s called Epic EMR, which EMR is electronic medical records.

In the healthcare space, all the patient records and the things that are happening with the patients, are all stored within an EMR system. Epic holds probably about 54% of the patient records in the United States. They are the big player in the EMR space.

One of the things that has been an issue between RPA and Epic is Epic has always felt like they could do the automations within their system. So traditionally, they haven’t really wanted RPA to be able to touch their information. They are starting to move away from that a little bit. They’re starting to realize that within the RPA space, a lot of the things that can be done for the healthcare industry, can be done within RPA. They see that it can just be an enhancement to the Epic EMR solution.

So those are some of the things that we’re starting to look at. It’s new in the industry but it is starting to come along.

RPA and Epic Automation Examples

Alex Frazier (5m 48s): I know you and I had talked previously and you mentioned that there are some areas or processes that RPA can specifically integrate within Epic right now. So what are those processes?

Sam Whitten (6m 3s): As we talked about with Epic and the way that they’ve handled industry in the past, it’s all very new trying to get RPA in there. But there are a couple of different areas where we’ve done our research and found advantages for Blue Prism RPA. Today, we’ll talk about two specific processes.

Example #1: Information and Eligibility Checks

One example of Epic automation could happen when a patient calls into a medical firm to set an appointment.

When that appointment is being set, the individuals at the medical firm have to go out and check the eligibility of that customer for insurance. This information is all within the Epic system. RPA could do those lookups automatically.

Example #2: Patient Insurance Verification

Sam Whitten (7m 17s): Another one would be scheduling orders after the appointment. When you go to an appointment and you meet with the physician, that physician then comes up with a diagnosis of things that he wants to do with that patient moving forward.

Where RPA could come into play there would be the scheduling of those orders, for the next appointment, and also getting pre-authorization for those procedures.

If you have a physician who wanted to order an EKG, the medical firm has to go to Epic and determine whether that procedure is covered within the patient’s insurance. They can also see whether they have pre-authorization to go ahead and do that. 

That’s very easily found within Epic, but a lot of times that that step gets forgotten or somebody looks at the wrong areas. With RPA, it would allow that to be done through a digital worker and there would be no mistakes at that point.

Alex Frazier (8m 4s): So would you consider those be manual tasks where RPA can fit?

Sam Whitten (8m 11s): Absolutely. That’s a great point and yeah, it’s all manual. At this point, the doctor, nurse or staff has to enter the information into a system. Or, they are speaking into a Dictaphone and somebody is having to transcribe. That can all be taken care of through RPA automation.

Example #3: Appointment Setting

Alex Frazier (8m 32s): How exactly will that RPA piece, that digital worker, fit into those processes? Would it take care of the entire process or would it take care of a piece of that process?

Sam Whitten (8m 43s): It would take care of the majority of it. Let’s talk about, for example, appointment setting.

When that happens, it can be done with artificial intelligence. It can be done without a human interaction at all. Somebody could call in and a chat bot could answer the phone and determine if that person is wanting to set an appointment. At that point, that chat bot will hand off to the RPA technology and it would set the appointment. It can also look for areas where they have opened appointments, set that appointment and then automatically go out and do the eligibility check against the information in Epic. That would all be taken care of via the digital worker.

Sam Whitten (9m 26s): Then, you take the second step, which is scheduling of the orders after the appointment and getting the pre-op. Same thing. You can do that with OCR technology or a chat bot.

So to where the physician is either typing the information in, or he’s entering it into as Dictaphone that can all be handed off to a digital worker to then go out, set the orders, set the appointment and also get the pre-authorization through Epic.

It can be done in a number of different ways. It could be done autonomously, where the digital worker handles everything. It can also be done with a human in the loop, where the digital worker (bot) does some handing off to a human and then back and forth.

Humans Working with Digital Counterparts within Epic

Alex Frazier (10m 16s): I have another question based on what you and I were just talking about. Is there ever a place where you would not want RPA in that kind of a process? Is there something that maybe a human would need to look at?

Sam Whitten (10m 29s): Anything that it has to do with human interaction or humans making a decision based on non-factual information, or a gut feel, or knowing the patient. Things along those lines are all subjective and they need to be taken into consideration when mapping an RPA process.

The RPA process needs to go off facts and it needs to go off a set criteria to make its decision. That’s one of the areas in which we’re trying to free up the humans. We want them to be able to make those subjective decisions and have more time to spend with the patient, to be able to give them a better quality of care.

Alex Frazier (11m 12s): Do you have any final thoughts, anything that maybe we have touched on that you would like to elaborate more about or, or maybe there’s something I didn’t ask that you would like to include?

User-Driven Technology

Sam Whitten (11m 24s): RPA is a new industry and it’s the shiny object that everybody is talking about. One of the great things about it is that it allows humans to be freed up for subjective matters and caring for the patient within the healthcare space.

Blue Prism RPA processes can be built by people who are business users. It can be built by people who know the processes well. 

RPA doesn’t have to be a large coding effort, and it allows for more flexible and quicker timeframes to market.

Wrap-Up

Alex Frazier (12m 14s): Great. Sam, thank you so much for your time today. Thank you so much for bringing this information and educating myself and our listeners about how RPA can integrate with Epic and shine through those processes. So thank you so much.

Sam Whitten (12m 28s): Hey, thanks a lot. I appreciate you having me. 

Alex Frazier (12m 35s): Well, that’s all that we have for you guys today. Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. The Orange Chair Podcast is brought to you by KeyMark.

If you liked this podcast, please leave us a rating like and subscribe to our podcast channel, wherever you guys are listening to podcasts, and you can even follow us on Instagram and Facebook. And we would love to hear from you.

This podcast is produced by Greg Aiken, Clay Tuten and me, your host, Alex Frazier. Until next time, bye guys.

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