Autonomics ultimately aims to develop computer systems capable of self-management and was started by IBM in 2001. These self-regulating autonomic components are driving the research of multi-agent systems (MAS). MAS are computerized systems composed of multiple interacting intelligent agents within an environment. Robotic process automation (RPA) is capable of automating activities (by creating software agents) that once required human judgment. This is the evolution of automation: the automation of automation.\nTransactional to analytical\nIn 1990, traditional onshore labor was the norm. By 2000 offshore labor was ripping through every industry including healthcare. Huge cost savings were realized shifting from the traditional onshore model to an offshore model. The next revolution of digital labor is called \u201cno shore.\u201d This robotic process automation is autonomic, self-learning, and self-healing system.\nThe Institute for Robotic Process Automation (IRPA) published an excellent report highlighting the top ten benefits of robotic process automation that cross industries.\n1. Decreased operational costs \u2013 no shore models (digital software agents)\n2. Improved data analytics \u2013 task executed by robots allow for analysis\n3. Increased regulatory compliance \u2013 steps are tracked, traceable, and documented\n4. Increased efficiency \u2013 software robots never need\u00a0time off\n5. Higher employee productivity \u2013 software agents address repetitive activities, freeing workers to participate in more value-added activities\n6. Improved accuracy \u2013 employees are human, and all humans make mistakes\n7. Increased customer satisfaction \u2013 decreased errors build deeper customer relationships, improving retention and customer happiness\n8. IT support and management \u2013 it\u2019s easier to scale software than it is people\n9. Logistical upside \u2013 minimize or eliminate complications with offshore labor\n10. RPA and business processors \u2013 presentation-layer automation software, mimicking the steps of rules-based non-subjective processes\nAutomation process cycle\nWhen do labor efficiencies become labor elimination? To better understand how RPA can enable your organization we first need to identify the five phases of the automation process cycle:\n1. Manual execution \u2013 one off, no repeatable processes\n2. Scripting \u2013 linear tasks, standard and repeatable\n3. Orchestration \u2013 activities that are complex, standard, and multi-scripted\n4. Autonomics \u2013 dynamic processes that are non-standard, contextual, and inference based\n5. Cognitive \u2013 self-aware systems, that are predictive, self-learning, and self-healing\nIf we want our employees engaged in activities that involve personal interactions, problem-solving, and decision-making we need first to get them out of the tedious and repetitive activities.\nWhat if you were told there will be a new team member joining your team. You\u2019re not sure where they are geographically located, but you managed to get some intel from your colleague. You are told they never complain, didn\u2019t want a desk, never need coaching, and love daily performance reviews. This is the resume of the modern robot, a leader in process automation. The competition just got stiffer.\nMulti-agent systems\nRobotic process automation begins with an understanding of agents. Typically, multi-agent systems refer to software agents, but these systems could equally be robots or hybrid robot and human teams.\nThere are three primary types of agents: passive agents (simple \u2013 agents without goals), active agents (advanced - agents with simple goals, and cognitive agendas (complex - with complex calculations and activities). Agent environments where these types of agents reside can be divided into three environments: virtual environment, discrete environment, and the continuous environment. Also, each agent environment has one or more associative properties:\n1. Accessibility\u00a0\u2013 when possible to gather complete information about the environment\n2. Determinism\u00a0\u2013 if an action performed in the environment causes a definite effect\n3. Dynamics\u00a0\u2013 how many entities influence the environment at the moment\n4. Discreteness\u00a0\u2013 whether the number of possible actions in the environment is finite\n5. Episodicity\u00a0\u2013 whether agent actions in certain time periods influence other periods\n6. Dimensionality\u00a0\u2013 whether spatial characteristics are important factors of the environment and the agent considers space in its decision-making\nRPA applied to healthcare\nTransparency Market Research, predicts that the global IT robotic automation market to be worth USD $4.98 billion by 2020. Robotic automation is a powerful alternative to offshore outsourcing. It is curious how these processes managed to escape automation. Regardless, there are many areas where RPA can be applied to healthcare including account management, claims processing, underwriter support, customer support, billing, collections, reconciliation, and reporting and analytics consolidation.\nThe HfS Blueprint Report helps us identify precisely where RPA can be applied within the healthcare ecosystem.\n1. Claims administration \u2013 claims adjudication and processing, payment integrity complaints, and appeals\n2. Member management \u2013 account setup, eligibility, and enrollment, billing, benefit management, and customer service\n3. Provider management \u2013 provider credentialing, provider data management, contracting audits, and network management\n4. Health & care management \u2013 population health and wellness, utilization management, care coordination and case management, and remote monitoring\n5. Administration \u2013 finance, accounting, and training\nIntelligent automation is entering the business world, and CFOs are happy because RPA is delivering\u00a0the promised cost savings. However, cost-only value propositions are no longer attractive to top executives. They are looking for cost-plus value propositions (transactional plus judgement-intensive plus analytics). Global labor arbitrage, the disintegration of barriers to international trade or moving to where costs of doing business are\u00a0low, is no longer sufficient. In this quest for greater cost-plus value propositions, technology plays a critical role.\nStart by getting to understand where repetitive task hurt your organization. First, identify the opportunity, second validate the opportunity, third design the mode, and fourth deploy a pilot. Health plans and providers are discovering software agents as a cost-effective alternative to enhancing or replacing platforms.\nThe conversation has expanded beyond cost reduction to quality, engagement, and innovation. This new phase of sourcing will engage and manage resources to shift workers from the mundane task to activities with deeper customer interactions.\nHealth innovators are using robotics process automation to drive the next stage of transformation \u2013 at affordable costs. Robotic process automation isn\u2019t coming soon; it\u2019s here.