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Automation in the healthcare industry

Enterprise IT leaders across the globe are increasingly looking for new ways to optimize operational efficiency, increase employee productivity, and accelerate the speed of innovation to stay competitive and meet customer demands. To achieve these goals, leaders across industries are embracing automation as a way to reshape their digital strategies in the face of extraordinary risk and challenge.  Automation removes the barriers of legacy systems, manual processes, and a shortage in skilled technical staff so that organizations can accelerate their digital transformations – and healthcare leaders should take note. Because the healthcare industry has been traditionally slow to embrace digital, its CIOs and IT leaders are now facing unprecedented challenges: According to Gartner, 63% of healthcare providers have faced severe disruptions due to internal organizational changes, cost pressure, regulation and compliance requirements, funding issues, or shifting consumer demands. Savvy healthcare organizations are increasingly turning to solutions such as no-code automation to help address these disruptions and usher the healthcare industry into a new digital era. Google Cloud’s AppSheet’s no-code platform makes it easy for caregivers, receptionists, billing teams, and others working in healthcare to create easy-to-use applications and automations that streamline and speed up workflows – all without needing help from the IT department. Below are just a few ways that teams in healthcare are leveraging automation to drive efficiency today, while laying the groundwork for a healthier tomorrow: Appointment scheduling: Automating appointment scheduling not only reduces scheduling errors, but also increases staff efficiency, effectively fills provider schedules, reduces no-shows, and improves patient satisfaction. According to a recent Accenture Health analysis, nearly 40% of the top 100 U.S. health systems and 10% of remaining U.S. health systems offer patients the ability to digitally self-schedule appointments, and these numbers are predicted to sharply increase over the next few years. Claims processing: Healthcare providers are facing increased competition and customer demands, but often struggle to keep up due to a lack of operational efficiency. Automation software can help speed up the processing of insurance claims and billing, leading to improved customer satisfaction, as well as more efficient bookkeeping. Automated anomaly detection can also flag potential errors — a benefit impossible to achieve with paper-based systems. Post-visit information: Today, consumers expect seamless, personalized digital experiences, whether they’re checking out in a store or at the doctor’s office. Just as a retail store might send consumers a digital receipt after a purchase, healthcare providers are now using automation to automatically send exiting patients push notifications with after-visit summaries, information about prescribed medications, and billing updates.  Treatment analysis: With automation software, healthcare providers can track an individual’s health and treatment history. Over time, this data can inform improved treatment plans and methods of care. Additionally, the data can be anonymized to study health trends in populations to inform complex decisions around public health issues such as vaccination, the benefits of exercise, and the impact of nutrition and diet changes. Automating healthcare workflows: Stagnating legacy systems are notorious for creating bottlenecks that stifle IT’s ability to support new initiatives or drive innovative solutions. Yet many current healthcare workflows and tools – including patient intake forms, medical history lookup or reference, patient communications, surveys, and insurance verification – depend on legacy systems that require time-consuming repetitive and error-prone manual tasks. Digitally-mature healthcare organizations are automating these tasks to streamline processes, reduce error, and allow employees more time to focus on patient care and other high-value, strategic activities.  Staffing: Automation in healthcare staffing can be invaluable, as automation systems can leverage machine learning (ML) to project staffing needs based on a number of changing variables. With automation, providers can more accurately predict staffing needs in the event of a patient influx due to, for example, flu season. Appropriate staffing can not only reduce patient wait times, but can also save lives. COVID-19 screening: COVID-19 has created a new set of challenges, as providers must screen every patient based on symptoms, body temperature, and potential exposure. To alleviate strain, clinics are using chatbots and other communication apps that can screen patients and automatically connect them with a COVID test or physician’s appointment. This type of automation can be applied to other types of health screenings – for example, chatbots are being used effectively to screen for depression – as well as to scale and streamline patient flow. Ordering prescriptions: To provide immediate service to every patient — regardless of location — many providers are choosing to automate prescription renewal requests. This allows patients to easily request refills when they need, without having to call into an office, an approach that  saves time for providers and patients alike. Automating workflows not only accelerates healthcare’s digital transformation and increases patient satisfaction, it also reduces manual processes and drives operational efficiency. To help organizations achieve their digital transformation goals, Google Cloud’s AppSheet combines the power of artificial intelligence (AI) with the benefits of no-code development to enable all employees to quickly automate existing processes without having to write code. This means that all employees, regardless of technical skill, can automate work in order to keep patients — and the industry — in good health. Ready to start your own no-code automation project? AppSheet is always free to start:

How AppSheet Helped a Dental Laser Company Improve Its Sales Operations and Reporting

      BIOLASE Inc. is a medical device company that develops, manufactures, markets, and sells laser systems to dental clinics. Its solutions enable clinicians to repair and restore patients’ dental conditions, reducing pain and anxiety in the process. The company is in the business of providing state of the art technology. So, taking and transmitting customer orders using pen and paper didn’t align with the innovative image BIOLASE wanted to convey. Additionally, the company’s field sales people and executives were already using their mobile phones to get work done, said Robert Malak, the company’s manager of financial planning and analysis (FP&A). Unfortunately, the spreadsheets that Malak (who also helps with sales operations such as prospecting, reporting, and tracking) created didn’t render properly and were hard to read on their mobile phones. It was clear that BIOLASE needed a more efficient, high tech, and mobile-friendly solution. The company found that in AppSheet. “A friend of mine recommended AppSheet,” Malak said. “Using AppSheet, anybody can develop an app and potentially replace their spreadsheets with it.” BIOLASE has only two full-time IT team members, and they didn’t have time to work on apps, so Malak took on that job himself during evenings and weekends. “It ended up kind of being a fun thing,” he said, “so I didn’t mind putting in the extra hours just to see where we could take the technology.” To date, Malak has created a handful of apps using the AppSheet platform. One of those apps is an order-taking app. It prevents sales reps in the field from having to write out customer orders, and then send them in using dental office fax machines. “We were looking for a way to do orders remotely instead of the old pen and paper way,” he said. “We were in 2017 at the time. And decided that we should have technology working for us, because we are selling technology.” Malak built the BIOLASE order app with AppSheet’s no code development platform. That app now shows all of the BIOLASE products and connects with the tax service provider BIOLASE uses to access the needed tax information. It’s also integrated with the Square Credit Card app, so BIOLASE can accept full or partial payments at the time of the sale. AppSheet also enables BIOLASE leadership to easily review data on their mobile devices. “If you’re in the FP&A field and you’re still sending only spreadsheets out, technology is moving fast enough to the point where nobody wants to look at those spreadsheets all the time when they’re mobile,” said Malak. “Our CFO is out on the road all the time, and he wants to pull them up on his phone.” “If you can figure out a way to translate that data into something that looks good on a mobile phone,” Malak added, “you’re going to advance yourself, your company, and your career.”

Simplifying Healthcare Staffing with an AppSheet White Label App

  As a recruiter, I've always tried to find innovative ways to locate and hire the best possible candidates for jobs. What makes being a travel nurse recruiter so unique is that we typically have hundreds—if not thousands—of jobs to offer our candidates. To make this task easier, I started searching for a way to share our massive database of available job openings while simultaneously driving qualified candidates in my direction. I have no programming background but have a lot of experience working with Google Docs and building websites (since 1997). What made AppSheet so appealing is the way it's core functions are wrapped around a database. This allowed me to populate the back end with fresh information on a daily basis without releasing new updates to the app itself. The app I created allows job seekers to see job openings and then apply for those positions. In order to reach those candidates, I had to submit my app to the coveted App Store—a slightly terrifying experience! But I persevered and this is my AppSheet app creation story. Developing My App: Learning as I Go My first step was to find a way to organize and format our company's internal database of jobs in a way that would be easy for job-seekers to search or browse. That involved some tricky decisions about which nursing specialties to feature and how locations would be sorted. I ended up making browsable categories for the most common types of nursing units. I also created a location-based menu that allowed nurses to browse jobs by state, city, and finally, unit type. I had the most fun creating the custom icons for the map feature. There are a lot of health-related icons already built into AppSheet, and trying to match the colors and icons to a particular kind of nursing unit was one of the more creative parts of the app building process. Critical Care jobs, for example, got a red ambulance icon, while Endoscopy jobs required a bit more discretion! One thing that makes AppSheet so powerful is its ability to run Excel formulas right inside the app. Although I have plenty of experience with Excel, I'm not exactly a master. Fortunately, there are plenty of online communities dedicated to helping newbies like me with simple or complex questions. Putting Excel formulas inside my Google Sheets database made all the difference: instead of an app that just sort of sits there displaying jobs, my app intuitively guides candidates through the job search workflow so they can submit an application. Once the Travel Nursing Jobs App was out of testing phase (I have to thank my husband for his help as a beta tester), I released it on the App Store and on Google Play as a white label app. During the publishing process, there were a series of technical challenges to jump through (Android is fairly straightforward but iOS sets strict requirements for an app to appear in the App Store). But despite my complete lack of experience or education as an app developer, I was able to create developer accounts and go through the entire process on my own. Yes, it was very stressful at times, but the AppSheet team was always there to help with questions and look into the backend when something wasn't working. My App's Market Performance The Travel Nursing Jobs App has been on the market for nearly a year and it has consistently been the #1 staffing app for travel nursing jobs for Android and the iPhone. It's more functional and easier to use than other travel nurse apps built by major healthcare corporations—apps which serve the exact same function, but cost tens of thousands of dollars to create. In contrast, the only costs incurred with my app was the time I spent creating and deploying it—far less expensive than those apps built by healthcare companies! In the past year, 10% of all travel nurses in the United States used the Travel Nursing Jobs App to search for their next assignment, and the nurses who have actually been hired through the app have generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. In short, not only does the app do exactly what it's supposed to do, it's doing it better than the competition. Pretty impressive for a white label app created by a non-developer with no money! Speaking of money: one of the most challenging features to add to the app was displaying a salary range for each open job. It was impossible to create thousands of different pay packages and upload them each day for each position, so I had to get creative. A few months after the app was released, I wrote an extremely complicated Excel formula that allows me to instantly generate accurate pay ranges for each position. AppSheet's custom icon function made it possible to highlight the highest-paying jobs, which is a very popular feature for travel nurses looking to score a big paycheck while they're on the road. The Travel Nursing Jobs App is currently the only travel nurse staffing app with this feature. The Travel Nurse Industry Hospitals are perpetually looking for qualified nurses, and they're happy to pay staffing companies to help find them short-term help. However, over the past five years, the industry has exploded as more and more baby boomers require medical care and more Americans have health insurance and access to hospitals. This surge in hospital visits has resulted in a near-constant need for temporary staffing solutions. Travel nurses are that solution. Healthcare staffing has undergone a major shift in the past few years. Cold calls and mass e-mails used to be the only way to find a nurse who might be interested in a job, and because travel nurse contracts are typically 13-weeks long, they are always looking for their next assignment. Facebook and other social media sites have drastically changed the nature of travel nurse recruiting: now a nurse can join a travel nursing jobs group and instantly have access to dozens of recruiters from every major staffing company. However, the big drawback to social media recruiting is that a recruiter can only post so many jobs in one day and there's a ton of competition from other recruiters who frequent the same job boards. Recruiting apps, like the Travel Nursing Jobs App, provide a simple, easy way to let nurses see every single job, updated daily, right on their cell phones. And when nurses express interest in a position, only the app's owner receives their information. When it comes to nurse recruiting, it’s clear that mobile apps are the way of the future. Related stories: How Saad Healthcare Uses AppSheet to Deliver Exceptional Patient Care An App to Schedule Cardiovascular Surgeries Citizen Developer

How Saad Healthcare Uses AppSheet to Deliver Exceptional Patient Care

  Generally speaking, most mistakes in business can be corrected. Customers can usually be reimbursed for things like late deliveries, missed calls or negative experiences. Here in the hospice unit at SaaD Healthcare, where I work as Vice President, we don’t have that luxury. Missed communications, in other words, can have significant consequences for the patients and families that we look after. And we don’t always get a second chance to make up for a mistake if it happens. So it goes without saying that communication is vital to the success of our operation. Team members need to always be kept informed about the status of our patients, so they can make key decisions and spring to action as soon as it is necessary. The better we communicate, the more effective we can be as a team. Our challenge Understand that information, in this sense, does not mean medical data that you would find in a patient’s medical chart. For the most part, that information has a static quality — it’s reference material as opposed to the actionable data that often changes by the day. At first, our team used a paper-based log system to manage and share our actionable data. Eventually, we upgraded to Google Sheets but quickly discovered that while it’s a great program for storing information, it’s not ideal for sharing it. Google Sheets works fine in the office, but it is not optimal for workers in the field who are using Android tablets. What we needed was a medium to disseminate data in near real-time across our entire organization in a way that was efficient, reliable and also user friendly. We needed an app. Like many AppSheet customers, I am not a software designer by trade. I am a busy man who is trying to run a business. I am also on a budget, meaning I don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on an internal business process app. So, I turned to the no code app market for help and discovered AppSheet. I ultimately selected AppSheet for its close integration with Google Sheets. Our organization was already using Google for Business, and so it was a natural fit. The project was an immediate success. Even with my limited knowledge about coding, I was able to dive right in and start making apps with the data we already had. It was very easy, because I knew how to use spreadsheets. If you can do that, you won’t have any problem at all getting started with AppSheet. Right off the bat, I was blown away by how easy and intuitive the software is to operate. AppSheet lets you visualize your app on the same screen as you design it. So you can tweak the design and layout as you need to. First, I used AppSheet to overhaul our internal communication and patient notification system. Now, for instance, a nurse can use the app to record a note like “Patient’s blood pressure is down today, individual is not acting normal.” A whole slew of things will happen after that, but the initial event happens right there in the app. This helps us deliver exceptional care, as soon as it’s needed. It’s also useful from a legal perspective, too. With this app, we can prove exactly which actions were taken, and when they were taken. This app is also helpful for admitting new patients to hospice. As soon as a new patient gets entered into the system, the update gets “tagged” as a new patient entry. This automatically triggers email alerts to other relevant departments in the organization. This is useful for the start of care, and also for the end of care. For instance, suppose a patient passes away. As soon as a nurse enters the information into the app, the app then sends out multiple notifications about next steps — for things like notifying family members and picking up medical equipment. As you can see, these are sensitive issues that need to be dealt with in a timely manner. Before, notifying team members was a multi-step process — and one that was also subject to human error. But with AppSheet, we are able to consolidate it into one process while also mitigating mistakes. Our communication log has become a core tool for our team. It’s the first tool that employees access when they come to work, as they use it to check in and make sure patients are getting the attention they need. Additional use cases The internal communications log was such a success, I decided to use AppSheet to streamline some other areas of the business as well. Some of the other apps are used for: Wound care: Our nurses have to document wounds for patients’ medical records, and this requires taking pictures. In the past, our nurses had to take pictures with their company issued tablets and upload them separately into appropriate databases. With AppSheet, I created a special program that allows our nurses to take pictures directly inside of the app. The app even renames pictures automatically, so they can be easily discovered and categorized. From a security perspective, this is much safer as pictures can be stored in Google instead of on an employee’s device. So if an employee takes a picture of a wound, and then his or her device goes missing, the picture will still be accessible from within Google and the device can be wiped without loss of the pictures. Fleet management: Right now I am also putting the finishing touches on a low-level fleet management app that will allow our team to more effectively track medical equipment deliveries. This app will allow managers to check in and make sure that deliveries get completed on time and it will give drivers quick access to details like addresses, phone numbers and equipment needs. Here, the app is organized by driver. I see this app being expanded to notify customers when they are the next stop for a driver. Why I love AppSheet As you can see, there are a variety of different ways that healthcare agencies can use apps. What’s great about AppSheet, though, is that it gives you the freedom to make changes to your app as soon as you need them. With most apps, it should be noted, it can take several weeks or even months to make structural changes. But with AppSheet, you can simply log in, make an edit and it will update on end users’ systems as soon as they sync their data. AppSheet gives my team the flexibility to make changes on the fly, which is an incredibly powerful service. The key takeaway here is that AppSheet is an amazing product, especially if you are already using Google in your business. AppSheet will let you go from a basic Google spreadsheet to a powerful, fully-functioning app. I would recommend AppSheet to anyone. We’ve pulled together a number of resources that will help you make your first app, regardless of the app making platform you choose (we like to think that our platform is the best but leave the final decision up to you). If you’re a new app creator about to embark on your first custom app, this page is for you!

Using Mobile Applications to Increase Hospital Productivity

Reblogged from the Huffington Post, by Ron Avignone We’ve shown you how one AppSheet user improved a hospital’s efficiency with a DIY mobile app designed for cardiovascular surgery scheduling. In his Huffington Post article, Using Mobile Applications to Increase Hospital Productivity, Giva founder and CEO Ron Avignone posits that even though mobile apps have already boosted productivity for medical personnel significantly, the best is yet to come. Avignone imagines the kinds of medical apps that could continue advancing the medical profession and what types of challenges they might tackle. Featured below… Since Apple launched the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010, mobile applications have significantly increased the productivity of medical professionals as well as back office operations personnel. However, the most significant mobile app innovations in healthcare are yet to be realized. We will review some ways that mobile apps are improving healthcare operations today, and how they may be improved in the future. Mobile Applications in the Hospital Front Office Mobile devices have dramatically changed the practice of medicine. They have led to the rapid development of killer software apps to meet real problems of clinicians: time management, eHealthrecord access, real-time communications and data sharing, reference/information access, patient monitoring, decision-making, and education/training. Overall, the increased access to point-of-care tools, which improve clinical decision-making and patient outcomes, has had the most impact. Head over to The Huffington Post to read the full story.

App Innovator: Kim Harford with

Close to eight million people worldwide die from cancer each year. It’s a shocking statistic, and even after thousands of years, we still don't know all the causes and haven't pulled all the links together, so the cure is still very much a fight. Kim Harford is one of the many contributing her time to data research and sharing her findings with the cancer community in hopes of advancing the cause. She runs the site, which aims to spread knowledge about new treatments for cancer, to write about links and technical advances in non-technical ways, and to find the causes or co-factors involved in cancer. The site also tracks explosive growth in new drugs in immunotherapy, stem cells, combination trials, and other spaces that may benefit patients. Kim knows that the key to making advances is information-- information being discovered, researched, and ultimately-- shared. Sharing that information in consumable ways is the goal of But she wanted to make that data even more readily available, so she did a bit of research, found AppSheet, and created her first app. The app contains the massive database of information found on and provides a convenient platform scientists, doctors, and patients can use to search for the topics that concern them. It also allows for data collection from patients, which in turn can be published to the network in order to advance discovery and research. Kim says the mobile app provides wider access to the important information various professionals and those interested in cancer might be looking for. She’s used the app to create concise categories, groupings, and formatting rules which allow for greater ease of use. For example, when a drug trial has not demonstrated statistical significance, a small flag icon will appear next to it. After five months of use, Kim is delighted with how AppSheet has been able to compliment and provide broader access to her important work. “AppSheet is flexible and adds new features all the time with fantastic support from AppSheet and the community.”   

App Innovator: An App to Schedule Cardiovascular Surgeries

  Levent is an avid motorcycle rider and instructor Levent Kulaçoglu is one of the most active members of our community and an expert in AppSheet. Based in Istanbul, Turkey, he's currently the Project Director for one of the largest construction projects in Europe. He's been developing apps with AppSheet to serve all kinds of purposes, such as financial modeling or recording training activities in his motorcycle club. To date, however, his most successful app was one he designed to help his wife, a cardiovascular surgeon, keep track of her hospital's scheduled surgeries. Levent's wife is responsible for scheduling all cardiovascular surgeries and distributing the surgery schedule to her colleagues on a daily basis. As she is very busy each day performing surgeries, conducting intensive care unit visits, and seeing patients, she was sending the list to Levent via WhatsApp, who was then writing the schedule to an Excel sheet and then e-mailing the schedule back to her as PDF document. As a Project Director, Levent is also quite busy, so this was a time-consuming process! Levent found AppSheet and decided to try his hand at creating a mobile app for his wife's scheduling needs. He constructed a Google Sheet, added a few features like workflow emails and time-triggered scripts, and was surprised to find "within a couple of hours it was working. Voila!!!" He hadn't realized he could create a working mobile app to solve his wife's scheduling issues all on his own, and within a day or less. Levent's wife has been using the app every day for about five months. It's now the hospital's primary cardiovascular surgery scheduling system. Says Levent, "she is extremely happy with it because she can do the scheduling work in five minutes-- even during a coffee break." Levent has bigger plans for the app, too. The hospital is currently using a Hospital Management Software called Nucleus. Levent has negotiated with both the hospital's CEO and the software developers to implement a very small part of this system-- post-op diagnostic results of the patients-- with AppSheet. This will open up the app to other surgeons as well, allowing them a more comprehensive, interactive role with the scheduling app Levent developed with AppSheet. If you would like to be featured as our App Innovator of the Week, please send an email to for consideration.

Apps for Health: Helping Diagnose TB Patients in Venezuela

  From left to right: Dr. Sergio Poli, a patient, and a child from one of the indigenous communities For as long as he can remember, Sergio Poli, a doctor and researcher in Caracas, Venezuela, was using paper forms to interview his patients about their health histories. Sergio is helping to diagnose and eliminate cases of Tuberculosis, which-- though not a dire threat here in the United States-- continues to be a leading cause of death in developing countries. Sergio is using a cutting-edge device called the E-Nose to potentially diagnose TB. The E-Nose is able to identify patterns in human breath that detect, in 15 minutes or less, the presence (or lack thereof) of TB in a patient. Sergio is conducting extensive research in Caracas and in indigenous Amerindian communities to prove the use of this device is indeed effective in TB diagnosis. The process requires careful data capture along with the administration of the E-Nose. Because the health history interview consists of 300+ questions, and because his work is often conducted in difficult conditions, Sergio was looking for a way to automate the process and replace the paper forms. He used AppSheet to convert his form into a mobile app he and his research partners are now using to capture important information from patients who may have TB. He uses the data collected in the app and compares it against the data produced from the E-Nose. He is hoping to be able to use this data to soon prove that the E-Nose is an effective tool for diagnosis. Of course, manual collection of this amount of sensitive information would be almost impossible via handwriting. Not to mention the painstaking work of transcribing it into a database later on-- a process prone to human error. "Before AppSheet we were doing histories on paper. It was a lot of work, and we had to find time to transcribe the piles of paper. When you're doing clinical research, transcribing data is painful," he says. Sergio says the app he built with AppSheet is saving his team at least three times of the work they were doing before. And it's giving him the ability to glean valuable information from the data. He says, "AppSheet simplifies everything. It allows me to go inside Google Sheets and produce graphs and charts from our data in minutes or less. That would take me three or four days if I were using paper."   Click here to get started creating your own apps!