The global COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the importance of a strong and reliable healthcare system to deliver essential health services in times of crisis.
Crucial to this are the workers themselves who can’t afford to be burdened by paperwork and administrative tasks, requiring support from systems and processes to make their job of saving lives and improving livelihoods easier.
“The challenges our health systems are facing are consistent across Australia,” Elizabeth Wood, national partner in Operations Advisory – Health, Ageing and Human Services at KPMG Australia, said.
“Workforce shortages are without a doubt the biggest issue facing healthcare in Australia and internationally. In the post-COVID world, the explosion of digital transformation the pandemic has brought can support the workforce in a different way. We still have people doing manual processes that they don’t need to be doing. When we look at service delivery models and how we design them, we can identify intelligent automation processes to take unnecessary tasks away from healthcare workers.”
Labour-intensive processes for onboarding staff, procuring supplies, and supporting patients in their journey through the healthcare system are amongst the tasks that can be improved through intelligent automation.
Automating workflows that help previously disconnected systems to integrate and communicate has been vital to healthcare systems in the United States, United Kingdom and more.
Today, a partnership between Appian and KPMG is helping Australia’s healthcare system to take the same leap – piece-by-piece, simplifying tasks that are preventing doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, and support staff from dedicating their valuable time to the patients who need it the most.
Supporting digital transformation in healthcare
The Appian Low-Code Platform allows customers to quickly and easily build workflows and processes that best meet their requirements. Providing a range of capabilities to support standard operating functions including case management, grants management, procurement, onboarding, correspondence and communication, the platform empowers customers to bring together data across various sources to transform business processes.
“Utilising the Appian platform, we have been able to work with supply chains to get materials management systems down to a level of granularity. For example, a charge nurse can order sterile gloves and not only know when boxes will arrive on master pallets dropped at the loading dock, but also when those individual boxes make it to the floor/ward desk so they can be disseminated amongst the nurses,” Fritz Haimberger, Vice President and Global Industry Lead for Healthcare at Appian, explained.
“That level of visibility has traditionally been extremely difficult to achieve and being able to provide that level of personalisation and specificity to clinicians to help them do their job and take care of patients is an incredible feeling.”
Supporting the needs of customers, workflows and applications built on Appian can work on-premises, in the cloud, or in hybrid environments to support a stepped transition to cloud solutions.
Globally, Appian has supported improved clinician onboarding processes, patient case management procedures, and coordination of staff and equipment in response to increased demand on neighbourhood care created by COVID-19 as well as many more tailored healthcare solutions.
Partnering to design client-focused solutions
Developing solutions that meet the needs of clients in the health sectors requires partners who can help identify client needs and implement Appian-based solutions to make their processes up to 10 times faster.
Since 2015, Appian and KPMG have worked as strategic partners in delivering this goal.
“KPMG has a long history of being phenomenal Appian implementers,” Haimberger said. “Through this partnership we are able to marry up their outstanding capabilities from a management consulting, advisory, and services perspective with Appian’s custom-configurable software platform, and then tie it all together to render tailored solutions for customers.”
As part of the partnership, KPMG supports project and program management, change management, and the end user training.
“We work with an organisation to understand what it is they’re trying to achieve, how they’re currently functioning, and where they want to get to,” Wood explained.
“We explore all aspects of their operating model. Their governance structures, workforce requirements, business processes, and we consider what parts of that model could be improved with intelligent automation. And then the other critical part of that is their technology,” she said.
“What are they currently using? Are they trying to bring in a new technology? Have they already established exactly what technology they want? Or are they just looking to try and figure out what’s best for their service? The thing I love about the Appian solution is its flexibility. Where we work with quite complex systems, having that flexibility can be very, very beneficial – and particularly as we’re increasingly required to support automation.”
From a customer’s point of view, Haimberger said, the partnership is simply one unified team working together and has allowed them to deliver a range of innovative solutions to automate processes in the healthcare sector – including on the implant front.
“We’re helping stitch together multiple systems that are going to let an orthopaedic surgeon pull together x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and clinical notes from the medical records to assist with the development of a customised implant specifically made for a patient – 3D printed in a matter of days,” he said.
Developing solutions for Australia’s healthcare sector
To date, much of the market for intelligent automation has been overseas. But the challenges – and opportunities for efficiency gains – remain the same in Australia.
“Healthcare struggles with manually focused processes, lots of legacy systems, and a variety of different enterprise platforms that people are trying to manage as effectively as they can,” Brad Daffy, Director – Data and Cloud at KPMG Australia explained.
“However, there is a real desire here to try and reduce manual effort – and quickly.”
Onboarding and training of staff are processes that COVID-19 has shown need to be streamlined, with the pandemic requiring staff to perform roles they may not have done before.
“The challenge here is that you not only have to train staff, but also allow them the time to learn and gain experience, which in times of crisis is not easily afforded,” Daffy said. “In these situations, ensuring staff are freed up from manual, repetitive processes become imperative to focus on patient quality and safety aspects.”
As spikes of COVID-19 come and go, along with the pressures created by the re-emergence of normal business, Daffy said health systems are to face additional demands that are yet to come to fruition. “It really is about healthcare organisations thinking about what manual, repetitive, and generally more administrative tasks they can take away from the existing workforce to free them up to meet their patient, staff and training needs.”
Enabling that requires the use of digital solutions, including Appian, to support Australia’s health workforce in more efficient ways – along with the right partners to guide the transition.
Steve Gillett, ANZ Alliances Director at Appian reinforced, “Our strategy is quite complementary in the sense that we’re not about replacing individual technology solutions with a better one. We respect the investments already made and look to leverage the Appian unified platform to rapidly incorporate legacy systems and data, while also enabling the ability to integrate emerging technology in the future.”
“This way, we unlock the value of existing IT investments and provide a ‘digital backbone’ to drive change and transformation.”
Appian and KPMG are partnering to support Australia’s healthcare sector in its transition to intelligent automation. For more information and case studies, please visit the website today or email email@example.com.