Empowering clinical support functions with Gen AI

  • Insight
  • December 07, 2023

GenAI: a revolution for support functions in healthcare

In recent years, the development and integration of artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionised various industries—and the healthcare sector is no exception. AI, specifically generative AI (GenAI), has shown great potential in improving clinical support ‘back-office’ functions (e.g. appointment scheduling, records management, payer billing etc.) within hospitals and wider health systems.

GenAI can free up valuable time for healthcare professionals and enhance the overall patient-customer experience by automating and streamlining administrative tasks in these areas. Automating the more traditional ‘back-office’ functions such as HR, IT, and financial services is also plausible. It is often considered a safer place to start using GenAI, where any efficiencies can free up resources to be reinvested in front-line care. Below, we identify seven areas where GenAI can improve back-office functions.

Streamlining appointment scheduling

GenAI offers advanced algorithms that can efficiently manage appointment scheduling. By analysing patient data, availability of healthcare providers and other relevant factors, you can intelligently assign appointments, reduce waiting times and optimise resource utilisation. These improvements could generate a smoother patient/customer experience, improve overall operational efficiency and enable greater patient choice and a reduced wait time.

Efficient medical records management

Managing vast amounts of patient data is a crucial aspect of back-office functions. GenAI can help organise and digitise medical records, making them easily accessible and reducing the risk of errors with manual handling. Natural language processing techniques can extract relevant information from medical documents, improving data accuracy and enabling faster retrieval. Automation enabled by GenAI can also extend to personalised patient care. It could provide tailored treatment plans, medication reminders and remote health monitoring by analysing patient data. These have the potential to improve the quality of care, and contribute to a more patient-centric approach.

Automated billing and claims processing

The billing and claims process is often complex and time-consuming. GenAI can ease this burden by automating tasks such as generating invoices, verifying insurance information and processing claims. By reducing manual intervention, hospitals can minimise errors and expedite reimbursement processes. This ensures timely payments and enhances the financial management of the institution.

Building an extreme focus on customer service

GenAI-powered chatbots can offer instant and accurate responses to patient queries, improving communication and accessibility. This, coupled with virtual assistance for routine tasks, allows hospital staff to focus more on direct patient care, creating a more personalised and efficient healthcare experience.

Inventory management and supply chain optimisation

Efficient inventory management is crucial for hospitals to ensure the availability of essential medical supplies and equipment. GenAI can analyse historical data, predict demand patterns and optimise inventory levels. This helps hospitals avoid shortages or overstocking, reducing costs and ensuring smooth operations. It can also automate reordering processes, saving time and minimising human error.

Enhanced data analytics and decision support

Gen AI’s ability to analyse vast data can provide valuable insights for hospital administrators and decision-makers. By leveraging machine learning algorithms, it can identify trends, patterns and potential areas for improvement in back-office functions. This data-driven approach enables informed decision-making, leading to more efficient resource allocation and process optimisation.

Improved compliance and security

Maintaining compliance with data protection regulations and ensuring the security of sensitive patient information is a top priority for hospitals. GenAI can help identify potential security vulnerabilities and ensure adherence to privacy guidelines. By continuously monitoring and analysing data access patterns, you can detect suspicious activities and enhance the overall cybersecurity of the hospital’s back-office operations.

Key actions businesses can take today

With the potential to use GenAI in many ways and a recent barrage of information about what it is and isn’t, it leaves you with a “so what now?” question. How can you advance the responsible use of GenAI in your organisation? Here are some actions to consider:

  • Formulate your governance model: collaborate with AI solution providers and technology experts specialising in healthcare to understand how governance models for GenAI can be implemented in your hospital and/or health system. This is particularly important when establishing a responsible use framework that considers clinical and operational governance for your organisation and the implications of the upcoming EU Artificial Intelligence Act.

  • Formulate your strategy: build a cohesive plan for how you want to embrace GenAI and how it will be integrated with wider organisational strategies in your hospital and/or health system.

  • Explore Gen AI: research as much as possible to learn more about GenAI and its applications in healthcare, specifically in clinical and non-clinical back-office functions.

  • Stay informed: stay updated with the latest advancements in AI and healthcare through industry conferences, webinars and networking events. PwC regularly hosts events, and with access to our GenAI Business Centre, enabled by Microsoft technology, there is a ready-made testing ground for innovation.

  • Embrace innovation: foster a culture of innovation within your hospital and/or health system and embrace technological advancements that can optimise back-office functions. This can be lined with innovation strategies, continuous improvement programmes and other ways to improve your performance.

  • Take the first step: initiate demonstration projects or small-scale implementations to assess the feasibility and benefits of integrating GenAI into your organisation’s back-office operations.

By considering these actions, hospitals and health systems can take proactive steps towards leveraging GenAI to enhance their back-office functions and ultimately improve overall healthcare outcomes.

We are here to help you

Gen AI holds significant potential to revolutionise back-office functions within hospitals and health systems, resulting in increased operational efficiency, decreased manual workload and improved patient care. This transformation extends across various areas, including streamlining appointment scheduling, automating billing processes, optimising inventory management and offering data-driven insights. Integrating GenAI can redefine hospital operations and foster a more streamlined and effective healthcare ecosystem. This, in turn, benefits both healthcare professionals and patients. Accessing an innovation lab, such as PwC’s GenAI Business Centre, enabled by Microsoft technology, provides a secure environment for testing novel ideas and solutions in this evolving landscape. For more information or to book an appointment, contact us today.

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Yvonne Mowlds

Partner, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

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Director, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

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Director, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

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Director, PwC Ireland (Republic of)

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