Webinar

Automation for healthcare providers

Time

July 20, 2021, 5:00 AM EDT

Past webinar

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Administrative tasks are manual, repetitive, and prone to errors. They slow down your billing, and more importantly, your payments. That’s where automation can help.

While automation may sound great, you likely have questions: Is automation only for large healthcare systems? Do you need a high-tech back office to make it work? Is it HIPPA compliant?

Our panel of healthcare leaders and automation experts will demystify automation and help you understand understand how it can help your bottom line. They will discuss:

  • Why use automation and what tasks are the best candidates
  • How automation can help practices of all sizes
  • How automation has made teams less stressed and more efficient

Speakers

Head of Content Marketing and Partnerships at Robocorp

Peter Steube

Head of Content Marketing and Partnerships at Robocorp

LinkedIn profile
Co-Founder, CEO at Thoughful Automation

Alex Zekoff

Co-Founder, CEO at Thoughful Automation

LinkedIn profile
Director of Financial Services at Trumpet Behavioral Health

Kathrynne Johns

Director of Financial Services at Trumpet Behavioral Health

LinkedIn profile
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Butterfly Effects

Kevin Silver

Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Butterfly Effects

LinkedIn profile

 

Transcript: Automation for healthcare providers

 

Peter Steube  00:00

Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us. My name is Peter Steube and I work with Robocorp. Robocorp is a company that is bringing forth an exciting new approach to the automation industry. We are an open source cloud native and modern technology platform that is disrupting an industry historically dominated by just a few vendors. In our view, these traditional providers have blurred the real vision for a “digital workforce.” Until now, the automation of software processes has frequently been inaccessible in price, difficult to scale and or unsustainable in practice. As we augment this industry for the better, we're thrilled to see technology service providers and their end customers of all shapes and sizes embrace what is an anxiously awaited new approach.

Personally, I'm responsible for Robocorp’s partner relationships and part of that is with great pride, I'm able to frequently highlight the exciting success stories that come from our ecosystem. So, it's with pleasure that we bring to you today's discussion featuring one of our top partners thoughtful automation, and their CEO Alex Zekoff. Alex has selected two top innovators and customers of his own from the healthcare space to join us, Miss Kathrynne Johns (Director of Financial Services at Trumpet Behavioral Health) and Kevin Silver (CFO of Butterfly Effects). Before handing things off to Alex and our guests, I wanted to start by saying that today's webinar is purposefully designed to be informative for those of you who are either one, entirely new to automation or to those of you who have the experience to realize the challenges that lie within what is still one of the fastest growing segments in technology today.

It's with the complete audience in mind that our discussion will highlight what is now possible through the combination of Robocorp’s technology and Thoughtful Automations best in class services. Together, we're delivering automations that are financially sensible, secure, reliable, scalable and above all designed to drive measurable results to your organization in the form of accuracy, time and cost savings. Our format will consist of Alex quickly walking us through what automation is, what it can achieve and what it looks like today through thoughtful automations expert lens including a demonstration and case studies specific to the healthcare industry.

After that, we want to focus most of today's discussion on the opportunity we have to learn from industry leaders Kathrynne and Kevin, who both had the forethought to implement digital workers within their organizations and are here to share with us their journeys, offer guidance, help address any concerns and to talk about the results that they are seeing.

Lastly, we will open up the floor for a brief Q&A. So please don't be shy in the chat if you have anything to submit to us. And finally, if that isn't enough to entice you to stay with us for the entirety of today's session, we will conclude today's webinar by outlining the details of the giveaway worth over $25,000 of implementation services so that those of you who registered can follow in our guests footsteps by becoming innovative champions also.

With that said, I'm going to hand things off to Alex. Alex, if you want to take the floor and walk through your prepared remarks about automation and the demonstration that you have prepared then we'll go into Q&A from there. Thanks so much, Alex, appreciate having you on the line.

 

Alex Zekoff  03:43

Awesome. Thanks, Peter, for the warm welcome. Really excited to have everyone talk about automation healthcare and really appreciate Kathrynne and Kevin for being early adopters of this in their space. So excited to get to the Q&A with them. But first, just want to do a quick intro kind of about automation. I know a lot of you on the line are probably new to this and want to kind of take a step back and start from the beginning. So really want to talk about the problem first.

Healthcare organizations have a massive problem. They're exhausting people and we're treating our human workforce like robots. So interesting facts. 63% of workers are still performing manual data entry and computer systems and 40% of that time is spent on repetitive tasks at least 10 hours. And if you think about it, this is very similar to Henry Ford's assembly line back in the early 1910s. Physical robots were assembling cars on the physical assembly line and now we have the same thing happening in the business process world. People are moving processes along the software assembly line and so we have the same problem happening. We're using people inefficiently at this point.

So, you may or may not have heard of this technology and I want to just talk about the simplest layer. It's Robotic Process Automation or RPA. And what is, is essentially excel macros on steroids. It's code that replicates the same work that our people do on computers by interacting at the graphical user interface and or API layer. And when I say excel macros on steroids I mean, we think about back in the day those macros helping speed up the repetitive processes within Excel. Well think about this across any application in the world can log in, act like a person, can recognize where buttons are, can click things can use OCR and other advanced automation AI tool sets to read data inputs, process those at lightning speed and then add immense value by working in any software application. So, in your electronic healthcare record systems, in your payment systems, your revenue cycle management systems, any of those you can string together with RPA to replicate what a person is doing in those software applications.

So why automate? Why should health care organizations deploy the digital workforce? We like to use the term at Thoughtful Automation digital workforce because these really do complement your human workforce. We train the bots to actually interact with your human workforce where you can leverage both in most meaningful way possible. So, what are the benefits of a digital robotic worker?

  • One, they are more cost effective; at a transaction process player so if you think about and then how much it might take for a person to run through an invoice process. A digital worker typically cost 70-90% less from a transaction cost perspective than a human worker to run that same process.
  • There's no turnover or retraining so once you've trained up the bot to do a synthetic process, it performs that process perfectly. If you need to scale and add second, third, fourth digital worker, that's quite easy to do to copy that software and replicate that quickly.
  • There's 100% reporting and audit so every time a digital worker does something that is reported and you can have that visibility and traceability.
  • 0% error rates; We actually see a lot of our customers in the healthcare space that have deployed digital workers. They actually find issues in their electronic healthcare record system because when the digital worker sees an issue, it can highlight a data integrity issue. So, another benefit from the point of digital workforce.
  • And up to 100 times efficiency. They never sleep and infinitely scalable. So again, just a game changing technology that's really revolutionizing how healthcare organizations are driving down costs and scaling better.

So, the characteristics of a good automation or digital worker opportunity; we're looking for high volume, repeatable rules driven processes and the skills that robotic workers can do. I like to say really endow the possible to anything that’s in typical skills that digital worker has.

  • They can log into any application using the user interface layer.
  • We can also as I mentioned before use the API's to go in directly into the database layer.
  • Analyzing and processing content from documents using OCR technology.
  • Copy paste, just like people do between applications.
  • Manipulating data formats, structures, hierarchies. So think about that like an Excel when a person's putting together a report, a consolidated financial report. These digital workers can take a bunch of disparate sources of data, put them together and manipulate that data just like a person would.
  • Open and send emails and attachments
  • Read and write to databases directly.
  • Make calculations decisions based on business rules. So, when we design our digital workers, just like a person would, we interview our customers ask them what are the different rules within this process the edge cases, so not everything is happy path. So, by installing three or four different edge cases, sometimes we've installed up to 100 different edge cases, the digital worker is actually able to get through the scenario in many different paths.
  • Digital workers scrape data from the web and then as I mentioned, interact with any API to move data faster directly between the databases.

A few use cases where we're seeing digital workers thrive across multiple industries including healthcare. General Accounting workflows, order cash and including invoice processing at the end. So typically, when we see these and then processes such as procure to pay or order-to-cash, RPA, our digital workers do quite well at moving all that data across systems very efficiently and fast versus having multiple departments move it across and then process. As healthcare specific, case management, claims management, payroll department, we've seen a lot of digital workers excel in the payroll department and it also onboarding and offboarding of new associates.

So, I've been talking about it all day but I would love to get a demo out and want to introduce our first speaker Kathrynne Johns to talk a bit about health. Kathrynne first if you want to do a quick intro and when you talk about this demo, talk about sort of the problem that you had when you saw this process and then we can jump into the demo and you can walk through the demo as the bot is working.

 

Kathrynne Johns  10:20

Sure. The system that we use for billing is also used for care and timekeeping. So, it's super clunky and tedious, time consuming process but it's necessary to get all our claims out the door. So, the secondary claim process being entirely manual, we needed to find something that would make it so we could at least keep up with getting those secondary claims out the door in a timely fashion.

 

 

 

Alex Zekoff  11:00

Great! So, as I play this video Kathrynne if you could just walk through sort of what the digital worker is doing. And before I click this off, I believe this is we have a three-minute video. How long did this take before and to have this process done by a human workforce?

 

Kathrynne Johns  11:23

It would take for each timesheet anywhere between 5 minutes and 30 minutes depending on the complexity of the peer relationship to the patient.

 

Alex Zekoff  11:34

Okay, so 5 to 30. So, we can use sort of like a middle range of 15 to 20 minutes on average. And so, as I click this, everyone will see this is about a three-minute video. I'm going to speed this up just for Kathrynne sake here. Kathrynne is going to walk through quickly what the bot is doing.

 

Kathrynne Johns  11:55

So, the bot will pick a patient and a date parameter. So, these claims have to already be processed by the primary payer. It will go through checking to make sure that we actually received something from the primary payer whether it's a denial or payment. Identifies that the provider is credential, identifies that the fee schedule is correct. If not, it's flipping the fee schedule manually within those timesheets. It preps the timesheet to add the ICN or DCN number from the primary payer and then it generates a claim to submit to the secondary payer.

There's also an output list which is ideal for all of the one-off instances where somebody actually has physically touched a timesheet because the bot wasn't able to do the regular general process. So instead of a person going through every single timesheet, a person is only going through the timesheets that we need to touch. The bot does everything else.

 

Alex Zekoff  13:18

Excellent! And while this is finishing up, want to just clarify that at Thoughtful Automation, we build the digital workers leveraging Robocorps game changing technology differences that we have a different delivery model called automation as a service. So, we package all of that technology together with Robocorp and then we deliver that to our end users so sort of that interaction layer. And so Kathrynne and her team are triggering this automation in our platform. We're actually monitoring and maintaining the automation so as automation as a service. You don't have to worry about the maintenance, standing up developers, scaling, setting up infrastructure. We do all that on our side. And then Robocorp again, leading class, open source RPA technology that we leveraged to build our digital workers and so that's just a little bit to describe how the interaction happens. Kathrynne, now that we've deployed this digital worker into your department, what kind of benefits are you seeing from this?

 

Kathrynne Johns  14:18

We're actually getting things caught up. We were several months behind like six or more months behind in submitting secondary claims. We were able to actually alter our daily workflows to include this. So, it's now part of the daily process whereas before it was like fire drill. We have a bunch of claims we need to get out the door. Let's get them out the door. It's part of the daily process now. So, we're ultimately going to see the benefit with payments and with a decrease in that data denials for timely.

 

Alex Zekoff  15:03

That's great. That’s amazing to hear that such a short amount of time getting digital workers stood up and now becoming a part of your daily business process. Amazing to see that happen so quickly.

So now I want to save the bulk of the time for this healthcare panel Q&A. We've already heard from Peter, myself. Kathrynne and Kevin would love to just quickly do your own intros real quick before we get into the question. So, Kathrynne you talk about your role at Trumpet and Kevin talk about your role at Butterfly Effects and then I will kick off the questions after your quick intros.

 

Kathrynne Johns  15:46

I am Kathrynne Johns. I'm the Director of Financial Services at Trumpet Behavioral Health. I oversee accounting, the HR team and payroll here. I have been here for about three years.

 

Kevin Silver  16:00

My name is Kevin Silver. I've been with Butterfly Effects for about eight years now and oversee the finance, accounting strategy, I.T. and revenue cycle departments for the company.

 

 Alex Zekoff  16:20

Awesome! Thank you, Kathrynne and Kevin, appreciate you being here today. Kudos to both of you for being early adopters of not only open source RPA but automation as a service technology. Both Robocorp and T.A. are kind of leading this from an industry perspective. So, thank you for being early adopters and believers in the technology. So, to kick things off, I want to start with you Kevin and talk about what was your pain point or driver for you exploring automate? Kind of like what was life before you automated and why did you come out and want to automate your process and install your first digital worker?

 

Kevin Silver  16:53

Yeah, so the big thing for us and this is I feel like things have changed a lot with the beginning and COVID here from even what the original pain point was but we had a lot of challenges around productivity of the staff as well as retention of the staff. And we'd sit there and train them and all of a sudden, you train them all the way they then quit and you'd have to start from scratch again. And it just kept becoming headache after headache after headache. And even when they did stay, you looked at the results, what they were able to produce and you're scratching your head and why are we not getting double or triple the amount of work done at that time. And I'd never even heard of RPA at that time, I actually just approached Alex knowing his consulting background and I was like hey, do you have any thoughts around what we can do here? And he invited me to RPA at that time and it was a ride from there, I guess.

 

Alex Zekoff  17:57

Yeah, absolutely and I think that's a good place to highlight Kevin is that this technology is pretty much been exclusively for large $2 billion plus revenue enterprises previously and with the sort of not only automation service but Robocorp open source RPA. We've been able to bring this to other providers that aren't just sort of in that $2 billion plus revenue category. So that's been an exciting time to deliver this technology to healthcare providers. Kathrynne would love to talk about that same question with you about what was your pain point? I know when we met, you were exploring RPA about a year prior to meeting Thoughtful Automation. So, we'd love to hear about your kind of full journey and exploring RPA.

 

Kathrynne Johns  18:48

So, for us, the system that we use is very unique to the space that we provide services in. So, it is antiquated, it is tedious and repetitive and very manual to get any billing functionality out of it. After going back to the source of the system owner, we decided to look at automations instead because we weren't getting the automation we felt was necessary to scale the business. We were in pretty significant growth mode before COVID hit. So, trying to keep up with the growth with people like Kevin said, the turnover, the tedious repetitive necessary processes needed to get day to day work done and month to month work done forced us coupled with the COVID downsizing to really seek out something that would help us gain some efficiencies and accuracy in the processes.

 

Peter Steube  20:15

Thanks for that Kathrynne. And Alex had revealed there very quickly that you did have a little bit of prior experience with automation before working with thoughtful and in that case also working with Robocorps technology in a sense as well. So, I'm kind of curious, you know, given your prior experience, what was different this time around or what has changed as you start to move forward more and more with automation? What has become easier? How would you describe it?

 

Kathrynne Johns  20:47

Well, in the space I was in before the automation was a business need for a different reason. So, I knew that the potential for automation was limitless already. It was just finding the tool that we could use for what we needed here. What I'm automating here is entirely different than what I automated where it was before.

 

Peter Steube  21:15

Understood, thank you for that.

 

Alex Zekoff  21:21

Thanks, Peter. Kevin wanted to talk. I know when we first met and talked about automation there was some skepticism. What were your biggest concerns or skepticism when you were considering automation for butterfly effects?

 

Kevin Silver  21:32

It's good question. When we looked at it originally, I mean part of its like would it work at all? And something that since we weren't familiar with the technology, we didn't know and that was a big leap of faith at the get go to see whether it could happen and Alex was very confident. He's like look, I got this, I know it'll work everything else. And we're like well, we'll see when we get to the finish line here. And the other piece was would it continue to work? I mean it's one thing to stand it up but whether it's the systems you're utilizing that aren’t changing or your own process is changing. Could you handle this in an effective way for it to be a sustainable implementation with it? And the last piece was would we get enough value from it and when you look at an implementation of this, there's a couple different things you look at. Some of it is upfront costs, some of it is ongoing cost and it's relative to the size of the organization that you have with it.

And so, a lot of folks who may use RPA could be looking to reduce headcount by a couple people or many people with it. When we did it, we didn't really have that headcount reduction opportunity because the group that we're implementing was fairly thin already with it. But we've sat back and said, you know what, this investment may I think we actually reduced one head from it. We didn't really reduce the person left, we didn't replace the position with it. But our view is that this would allow us to grow far more sustainably and with a lot less headache than if we continue down the current path. And not only did that happen actually I mean it's performed much better than if we continue down the prior track. So, it's been very successful for us.

 

Alex Zekoff  24:04

Awesome, thanks Kevin. I want to highlight Kevin before Thoughtful Automation really innovated on the automation as a service model, typically, within RPA implementation, there's a large call it 50 to $100,000 plus implementation fee for one of these digital workers which prices out a lot of people to get into this technology. And then after that, typically, we would build a bot, Kevin would have to manage it, maintain it, spin up dev resources to keep it going. And I think a lot of the appeal of this Kevin was the fully managed digital worker, you not having to worry sort of the health insurance if you will about it getting broken, sick that that would all be covered and that you can actually rely on this digital worker to add value on a consistent basis. That was, again, something we innovated on Thoughtful Automation was how do we deploy these fully managed digital workers so that our customers don't have to worry about the monitoring, the maintenance, setting up a center of excellence and all that additional cost just reduces the value versus pitching you a price and saying hey, this is what it is on a monthly basis so you can scale that and get the value. Kathrynne, I want to talk about a very similar sort of notion here is now that you've deployed I believe we're on the sixth digital worker at Trumpet, what impact positive or negative has appointed digital workforce had on your associates and what is their reaction been to sort of working with these digital workers?

 

Kathrynne Johns  25:43

So to start, if anybody has ever worked with a medical biller changes stretch for them. And I think that's been the biggest hurdle is getting everybody's buy in like this is a good change, this is a good process, this is going to give you time to do the things that you need to do with payers that you don't have time to do right now because you're sitting there keying things in. I think that after things started getting implemented and the speed of the implementation, most of the people that were very hesitant about embracing that change afterwards were like wow, you're right. This is really cool. This is nice. I don't have to do this or that anymore, I don't have to think about these things. If you think about all the complexities of insurance carriers and rates and fee schedules and things like that, it takes all of that monotony away from their job and helps them focus on the things we actually need people for like reaching out to clients on the phone and easing their burden of understanding how their bill works versus trying to get everything done and leaving messages or sending emails. We can keep our customer interactions more personable.

 

Peter Steube  27:18

That's great Kathrynne. That's a great segue to a question that I had to that I think is a good follow up here I mean. And Kevin, please feel free to chime in as well if you have input here. But you know, how did you manage kind of call them the cultural misconceptions about bringing automation into your organization right? Because there's New York Times articles out there about robots taking our jobs and gives this feel of like Jetsons type of futuristics where there's going to be no more humans anymore. It's just all bots. So, can you talk a little bit further. I think you've got a great thread going there in terms of giving people the time to do creative tasks and tasks that they should be doing to support your customers. But talk a little bit more about how you addressed this before even bringing automation to the platform and the pushback that you may have gotten from your associates or even your board members and other constituents.

 

Kathrynne Johns  28:18

So, I want to say that the two things that that I did that I would highly recommend is record everything. Because it helps people to visualize that this robot is doing what a person is doing. And the other thing, which will probably sound super silly is we actually named our bots. We don't have them numbered. We have them named. So the team came up with names like one of the names is Rosie from the Jetsons. So it's more like this robot is a colleague, it's a coworker, this robot is helping them do their job better. It's helping them to be a better customer service representative for our company because it's giving them time to do the things that we need them to do with our clients.

 

 

Kevin Silver  29:21

Yeah, I mean, from my perspective at Butterfly, it was pretty easy for us because we had turnover within that group. So, the new employees kind of started and we're like hey, here's what the job is so we didn't have much pushback from that. And I'd say, it started from the very top and I discussed this with the chairman of the board and I said hey, we're looking at adding some automation. He's like as much as you possibly can. I mean, he just recognized the value of one, there's no stress. There's no employee relation issues with that. I mean there's just constant things that come up, people calling out people quitting, all sorts of HR issues. You have none of that even if the bot was performing to the same level as a person. And what I've seen at least in the functions that we've automated is that their job can be completed now in under 30 minutes that they were spending the entire day on. And so, in terms of the manager stress levels are much lower because if that employee ever walks out now, they could just step in, do their job and very short bit of time and spend the rest of the time on higher level tasks that are a little more difficult and do require human.

 

Alex Zekoff  30:53

Great! Thanks, Kevin. Next question for both you Kevin and Kathrynne. Kevin, we'll start with you. What areas within the business do you see automation fitting in well and how do you go about prioritizing which candidates to automate? Is that time cost, savings, accuracy, etc?

 

Kevin Silver  31:11

It's a good question. I mean for us, the key thing is we're just the pain points in the business that the technology platforms we have fall short. Every time I hear people copying and pasting the same information across multiple platforms where the integrations are just not there, I think about boy, this is a perfect opportunity to overlay this to make things better. The other area with that is and you just are very frustrated with the productivity of the team and you see tasks there. I think the hard piece is figuring out the art of the possible. These tasks are just some sound simple but are complex. Others feel complex that and Alex looked at it. He's like this is simple and that piece is probably in your head. It's more difficult to get over than some of the other elements with it.

 

Alex Zekoff  32:17

Yeah, that's a great point Kevin about the art of the possible and I think technology is advanced so much at this point that really a lot of the automations that we're designing at T.A. and leveraging with Robocorps technology are very heavy hitting automations that are doing what sort of sometimes one to four people can do. So, it really is an awesome time the technology that what it can do and specifically, we have a very unique approach and how we sort of document those processes in mind that. Kathrynne, you had a good point about recording screens and then interviewing people about what's in their head and how they think about doing their work. And then when you combine those two things, you really get a nice process design that can be developed into a digital worker. Kathrynne, same question to you. What areas in the business do you see automation fitting in well and how do you prioritize those candidates for automation?

 

Kathrynne Johns  33:15

I think of it like pie in the sky. A robot can do anything a person can do. So, focus on the tedious, repetitive, necessary processes and focus on the areas on the team where you have high turnover because of those tedious, repetitive, necessary processes. The benefits are your accuracy goes up, you don't have turnover, the timing of the process decreases, the efficiency of your team improves and this can be applied to any department in any company.

 

Alex Zekoff  34:01

Yeah, that's great. Kathrynne we'll start with you this next question. We've discussed some of the general benefits to automation earlier but what is the biggest impact so far automation has had on trumpet behavioral health and then Kevin will ask you the same question as well after.

 

Kathrynne Johns  34:19

I would say the best benefit has actually been the cost of training new hires. For our business, the ABA space is very small and very unique and it takes three to six months to spin up a medical billing person in our department whereas the bot, we only had to train at once and we don't ever have to train it again. It's done. I don't have to worry about turnover that I don't have that cost anymore. That's the best part of it firing (35:00) away.

 

Alex Zekoff  35:02

That's great to hear.

 

Kevin Silver  35:01

I think Kathrynne made a good point on that with the cost trends. Very true and the other element that's somewhat of an extension of that is in this day and age with labor costs going up, we don't have to pay for as much just experienced generally. I mean the process is just so much simpler that you really don't need experience. You can just step in and you're kind of like a bot operator and you can kind of learn on the job to add more things with it. So that's just a big piece to it for us.

 

Alex Zekoff  35:40

Great to hear. It's always awesome to get on these panels and hear about the benefits that I don't even think about sometimes the cost of training and stuff that we don't even think about but yeah, that just it's easier to onboard new people and get them kind of built into your systems and processes. And that's an incredible I think benefit that sometimes we always go about what is the actual pure time savings and cost savings but that's great to hear.

 

Kevin Silver  36:07

One of the things I was going to say is I mean, the results are just better and that's a baseline to it. I mean, we look at fact that it's easier I mean that certainly is a big. I'd say that's for us as managers, it just reduces our stress levels. But ultimately, it's just doing a better job than we were doing before which is reassuring. I mean it feels a lot better to see positive results than the level of frustration of just why did you only get X amount of work done?

 

Alex Zekoff  36:46

Right. Absolutely, peace of mind. And I think at the end of the day, freeing up that time for that value-add creative work. Both of you Kathrynne and Kevin, you're not stressing about people getting their jobs done versus the ability to think about adding new value creative add solutions is even again another intangible benefit. So that is really great to hear. Kevin, this one's first for you and then I'll ask you the same thing Kathrynne. Biggest challenges right now I think post COVID world or sort of ending sort of COVID going down is it's difficult to hire right now not only in healthcare but across many other industries. How do you think automation plays a role in that as people start to come back to work?

 

Kevin Silver  37:32

I'm not sure it has that big of an impact for us with it generally. I think it's more just about when we're trying to find talent just not having to rely as much on specialized experience, looking for people with just the right cultural fit and want to be here than people who've been at this similar organization for 10 years and are willing to jump for 50 cents more to another organization. And like we talked about before, when that happens it'd be easier to swap somebody in should that happen. It was one of the challenges that when we're dealing with the automation is, we're automating a skinny department that left us with fewer people. And the concern was if one of those fewer people left, it'd be more difficult for us to re pick up the process and it hasn't been a worry with that. So, it's been nice.

 

Alex Zekoff  38:40

Great. Kathrynne, same question to you about how do you think automation plays a role as people are kind of moving between jobs or if there's a hiring issue? Have you seen any benefit there?

 

Kathrynne Johns  38:59

Well, for us, the more we scale with the bots on the overhead side, the more we can invest in the people who are actually providing the services. So, where that competition that we're seeing in hiring is with the direct face to face employees, we can invest more with them because we're able to save through our scaling and innovation in the overhead costs.

 

Alex Zekoff  39:30

Great. Well, this is last question we have for the panel Q&A We'll start with you Kevin and then finish to Kathrynne. We've got a lot of people in line and I'm sure they're very interested now. hearing all the great positive stories from both of you. What will be your best piece or several pieces of advice for anyone considering starting automation for their organization?

 

Kevin Silver  39:53

Yeah, I think in terms of starting it is ensuring that you get the right people around the table when you begin with it to get the process fully scoped out the correct way with it because you get a lot of people who have different views of the process somewhat internally and the toughest piece is getting that alignment so that you can actually put it to a process. I feel like that's probably the toughest piece to get through is kind of your own process being ironclad so that they can take it from there.

 

Alex Zekoff  40:30

Yeah, that's a great piece of advice Kevin. I think it's always good to select people who have called for your process automation Center of Excellence or committee that are compelled to kind of bring the best process on board, pipeline the best ideas, trust in the process reengineering, all of those things to have a really great automation initiative at your organization. So that's a great point. Kathrynne, what would you say best piece of advice for kicking off automation at your organization would be?

 

Kathrynne Johns  41:03

I would say know your system, know your systems inside and out. If you don't know your system inside now and you don't know the best way to use it, find the best most efficient way to use your system first then build your process around that and then automate everything that can't already be automated within the existing system.

 

Alex Zekoff  41:28

Great piece of advice. I definitely believe in getting the most out of your technology first and then their processes, human capital to stitch those two together. So, it's a great piece of advice and this concludes our healthcare panel Q&A. I want to thank both you Kevin and Kathrynne for joining. And also, just for again, starting these automation initiatives at organizations last year and being the advocates for Trumpet and Butterfly Effects. This is, again, it's a lot of pre work but as we're seeing now almost a year later, massive benefits when it comes to scaling, cost savings, all of that. So, really appreciate your early adoption, your time today and looking forward to continuing to build out automation at both your company. So, thank you. Absolutely. So, Peter, I have opened Q&A. So, I don’t know if you want to kick off this section?

 

Peter Steube  42:27

Yeah, well, I want to give credit to our featured guests here today because you've spurred quite a bit of Q&A submitted to us. So, I'm going to do my best to get this answered for everybody on the line. We're going to do things in the order in which they came in. So, the first one that came in was how do you measure and monitor KPIs through automation? And there wasn't much context added to this question but my assumption here would be how are you measuring more or less the ROI or more or less what you're able to achieve through automation? So, Kathrynne, Kevin, will leave this and Alex too because I think that you'll be able to pitch in on a lot of these questions. Why don't we just do kind of jump ball? Whoever has an answer first, we'll let you guys fight over it.

 

Kevin Silver  43:24

Yeah, I can answer this here. I mean it really is the same KPI metrics that you had in place pre-RPA adoption because it’s using the same system that you have set up. So, we're still looking at the metrics we have running through our Business Intelligence Suite with it. And you can see that there's a significant incremental improvement on what we're doing. And you can also see within the bot, it's showing you the time, real time as you're doing it, how long it's taking for each of the processes to get handled with it. So, for us, it's pretty clear to see what's happening.

 

Kathrynne Johns  44:10

I would say look at your cost. Your cost, you're looking at a cost for a bot versus a cost versus employee and you'll see the ROI in that immediately as well as if you're doing this for medical billing for an example everybody looks at DSO, our DSO is decreased. Look at how quickly you're collecting money, the speed of collections will increase. So, to Kevin's point, you're looking at the same KPIs. You're going to see incremental improvement as you implement bots.

 

Peter Steube  44:50

Awesome. Awesome. Great. And the next one moving along here is just talking about the implementation process. And I think that you know, we can probably start from our featured guests’ perspective of working with Thoughtful and what was the asks from your side in terms of what you had to contribute to getting these bots deployed? How did you manage the resources necessary? And I think that Alex, maybe if you could come in at the end here and talk about Thoughtful Automations process and how you help your customers both one optimize the resources that they're contributing and make sure that they're getting the return on the time and energy that they're putting into documenting these use cases and getting them into production. Kathrynne, if you're comfortable you want to start this time?

 

Kathrynne Johns  45:42

I can do that. I highly recommend recording your processes. We have a system where we didn't have a sandbox. So we did iterative gold lives, which, in hindsight, I will do every time because we were able to spin up bots in six weeks, eight weeks. I had limited time with my staff because we recorded the processes prior to go live. So, all I did was give the Thoughtful Automation team lots of recordings. And when we did meet, the meetings were shorter because they were concise. We were just going back and forth with very specific questions. And then when we went into implementation because it was an iterative, go live, we just did one chunk of the process at a time and tested as we went which is significantly faster than doing the whole thing in one shot.

 

 

Kevin Silver  46:44

For us at butterfly effects, it’s pretty easy. It's more just about producing the right people to put in front of Thoughtful Automation and making sure that they fully understood their own processes. And it sounds funny to say that but it's more about the fringe cases that you want Thoughtful Automation to account for. The main pathway is so easy to figure out. But it's like well, what if this or what if that and the Thoughtful Automation team has to create a decision tree each time that they see those pieces with it. And so just making sure that the team understands their process well enough is probably the biggest challenge as you work through that. But because they're just doing screen grabs for a big portion of that and walking through it, it's pretty low time investment from the company side. It's more making sure that you just handle all the fringe items.

 

Alex Zekoff  47:48

Yeah, you both bring up great points. And just to highlight this part of our process at Thoughtful Automation is one, we have some of the world's leading process engineers or designers and part of that process mining experience the first week, we got in with your team,  we look at those recordings that you both did for us which is super helpful. I think Katherine it was interesting, we were like oh yeah, you have them all written down and like that takes an immense amount of time. And I think I said just like you can just record the screens because it's like that's what we use to code the bots. And then like you said Kevin, once we see that recording, all we're asking you these questions about the same thing a person would do in their head is typically there's like these decision points and we have to interview your team to understand what are all those decision points so we can build the edge cases. And so those two things give us the ability to build the high-quality digital worker. And then Kathrynne, you alluded to we do an iterative deployment model as much as we can so that we can actually get the digital worker in the hands of your human workforce so they can start being trained. There's that change management piece and just getting feedback quicker. So, the faster we can get it into the hands of a person and getting more feedback, the higher chance of the successful deployment. We've only had 100% successful deployments with Thoughtful Automation. We have 100% utilization and that's because like you said Kevin earlier is getting the right people in front of it, getting the right recordings and then getting the right questions answered and then it's going to be a successful automation initiative.

 

Peter Steube  49:24

Great, Alex, thanks so much. And in terms of making sure that those automations remain successful, one of the submitted question was, how do you manage the risk of a bot being down? So, let's talk about like a mission critical process or how do you think about if a bot stops right because they can break but this is where we highlight the flexibility of Robocorps technology and the expertise that Thoughtful Automation has in terms of harnessing it to make sure that that doesn't happen. But I'm more or less curious from you guys perspective. Do you factor that in at all in terms of the processes that you might prioritize one or the other? How do you think about figuring out technical issues with the bottom (50:13) of course, that's a responsible T.A. but just talk a little bit from your perspective if that entered your mind when you were going through the process of defining?

 

Kevin Silver  50:27

I can start with that. I mean it's a good question with it. Because certainly, if you automate the entire team and then something happens, you're kind of left without a lot of knowledge in your organization or people. And so, we view it as supplemental to our people and really putting our people on steroids so that they can just do a lot more. issues around downtime, we really haven't had it except for very early in the process implementation with it where fringe cases tend to pop up and you start to see issues that come out there that you need to work with Alex and his team to correct but those have been corrected pretty quickly.

But it was one of the big issues early on that we looked at is that like we expected significant downtime when we started the project. And that's why we started with one and we began expanding from there when we saw positive performance with it but certainly a worry that even that not necessarily the bot itself having an issue but called a software upgrade on the technology platforms, you're using that if everything changes on the screen, what do you do? And so, we haven't had anything major on that I guess today with it.

 

Peter Steube  52:14

It's great to hear. And Kathrynne were there any measures or thoughts that you had going into in terms of the risk of bots breaking or things like that? Or did you feel confident in Thoughtful implementation service kind of just how did you manage the risk yourself?

 

Kathrynne Johns  52:33

So, we're more reliant on thoughtful than our existing platform. We've had more downtime from our existing platform and some Thoughtful Automation at all and that's a fact. Anytime the bot stops working it's because our platform is down or our platform has latency issues or our platform has done system wide update of some sorts. Thoughtful Automation has not been a source of downtime because we've done all these recorded processes. We actually took a step back after each of the implementations and just recorded the process in its entirety manually. So, we have backup in the event that we have downtime but like I said our downtime has been actually because of the system that we've layered the robotics on and not the robotics themselves. So, if the robot can't do it, we can't do it either if the system's down.

 

Peter Steube  53:51

Excellent! So we can move along to the next question. We have just two or three more minutes here. So, this may very well be the final one that we have today. With open source RPA and with Thoughtful Automations automation as a service approach, there's obviously a lower upfront costs and lower TCL of thoughts right. But talk about scalability, security, some of the other things that you factor into a longer term relationship with your automation as a service provider, is there anything else that maybe Kathrynne or Kevin you could highlight that thoughtful has brought here to market or help you have a longer term, broader, grander relationship with them. Is there anything that you can highlight here aside from just the outright lower upfront costs and TCL. What can we talk about that thoughtful does great today to enhance your digital worker experience?

 

Kathrynne Johns  54:51

I can take that. I would say far and away their response time. When we do have a problem or an issue of any sort, we have an email address that's kind of coupled between our systems and we get a response immediately. So, if we have concerns or downtime or something is broken, the customer service, the service that they provide to ensure that holistically the buyer is working properly is far and away one of the main reasons.

 

Peter Steube  55:36

Thanks. And Kevin, is there anything that maybe you'd like to add to that before we wrap up for today?

 

Kevin Silver  55:43

 No, I don't think there is anything to add to that

 

Peter Steube  55:47

That's perfectly fine. One final very quick question I think Alex might be able to answer this. In terms of from the RPA world, we have two possible use cases. Unattended use cases that are the vision of just bots running without maybe even users realizing it and then attended use cases where you have a person clicking go on the bot. From your perspective of working with customers like Kathrynne and Kevin, can you talk a bit about these being more attended or unattended use cases? What's your sense in the market right now is what's being most valuable to healthcare providers?

 

Alex Zekoff  56:26

I think there's definitely use cases for both but I think from what we've seen in the market, and what we've built with our own digital worker management platform with Thoughtful Automation is an intended experience. So, what I've seen I've been in automation for the last four years is that the most successful automations actually have a human in the loop experience. Humans are really good at certain things creative and there's parts where just humans are better at a process and then there's parts where digital workers are better. And when you combine those two, you actually get a beautiful seamless end to end process. That's how it should be designed.

So as much as I think unintended is that like dystopian view where robots take over the world and everything is processed by robots, I think the more eloquent solution always is attended and that's why we at Thoughtful are really investing in that attended experience with the human workforce and the digital workforce. So, it is a nice, seamless experience. So that's what I've seen. That's what is working with our customers and why we've seen such 100% utilization rates of our digital workers in market right now.

 

 

Peter Steube  57:31

That's awesome to hear. Thanks, so much for that Alex. Thank you, Kathrynne, thank you, Kevin for your expertise and thought leadership here and sharing your experience with your peers. What we're going to do is wrap up with an exciting giveaway for all the registrants here today. So, if you are at a minimum intrigue with Thoughtful Automations offering and this radically new and valuable approach to automation as a service powered by Robocorp, we encourage you to keep an eye out for our follow up of both the replay and then also this form for a giveaway. So, if you share with us your details and your pain points and how you believe that automation can help your organization, it will qualify you for Thoughtful generously given up to $25,000 worth of implementation services free for first time bots. So, we want to get people on boarded and moving towards the vision for automation as fast as possible. So, Alex, is there anything else you want to say about the giveaway? What it includes is project scoping development, deployment, everything you need to get up and running with your first automation with Thoughtful powered by Robocorp. But is there anything else to add Alex and I'll give it to you to kind of closing remarks for the day as well.

 

Alex Zekoff  58:49

It's great here. As you fill in this form, just think of what are the processes that we chatted about today in your organization that are pain points across systems where people clicking too much and spending five to 30 minutes to an hour just running their software and running computer systems. So, we really challenge everyone to kind of put their best use cases in place and it really is an amazing giveaway. We're excited to give away this digital worker and get you plugged in and excited just to continue to help the healthcare space automate and add value there.

So, appreciate everyone who joined today. Looking forward to seeing these use case entries and form submissions and thank you everyone for your time. Really appreciate it.

 

Peter Steube  59:36

Thank you very much. We'll conclude. Thank you, Kathrynne. Thank you, Kevin. Have a great rest of your day. Thanks, Alex.