Leveraging Automation for a More Agile NHS

Even without the added challenges of Covid-19, healthcare environments have been strained and stretched to the fullest for a considerable time. But with frontline staff having so many responsibilities, how can the NHS become more agile, while they juggle all their daily tasks?

The key is taking the monotonous, repetitive tasks out of their hands and giving them to a computer to perform. While the concept of automation isn’t new, the underlying technology and applications have advanced considerably in recent years and are becoming increasingly viable from a financial perspective.

So, what kinds of tasks can NHS Trusts automate? How can they deploy these solutions with confidence and increase agility? Keep on reading to find out!

What is automation?

Robotic Process Automation (or RPA for short) is a shorthand for software that follows a strict set of rules to interpret and process data and trigger the desired outcome. This removes boring, everyday tasks from the workloads of staff, so that they can focus on delivering the best possible clinical services.

For example, one solution we’re currently working with serval NHS Trusts to develop is a vastly streamlined referrals system.

The number of process and touchpoints between a clinician making an initial referral request to the service user receiving their appointment is far lengthier than you might imagine.

How automation enhances the patient experience

Through automation, this process can happen in a matter of minutes, not weeks while guaranteeing accurate information by reducing the chances of human error and instantly sharing patient information across sites.

But this is only one use-case, and we’re exploring many others where automation can transform the patient experience, drastically cut wait-times and free up more resources. Allowing Trusts to retarget funds from back-end admin into frontline clinical services to enhance service delivery. And this principle can be extended to any logic-based task that is admin-intensive or requires information to be sent to multiple locations.

In these trials, we’re leveraging Microsoft’s Power BI platform to provide a “single source of truth” where patient records can be accessed Trust-wide, and management reporting across disparate systems is in a single place, where performance across all of a Trust’s sites can be assessed in real-time for up-to-date visibility on team productivity and efficiency.

What do NHS Trusts need to consider?

Firstly, what process would you like to automate? A good rule of thumb is ‘If This then That’. In other words, if your tasks have a repeatable outcome based on a decision, the likelihood is that the process can be automated. Multiple conditions can be set, so that for example, the system checks for missing information and adds it from patient records before completing the next step.

There may be hundreds of steps in the entire process and the more decisions or steps in the process, the more potential there is for automation to speed up getting to the final result.

Secondly, there’s capabilities. Depending on the size, talent and experience within your IT team, there’s a good chance that current responsibilities, skill-gaps and budget would prevent you from deploying a solution like this in-house. Which is exactly where BDR can assist.

With multiple NHS Trust partnerships that have lasted more than two decades, BDR’s engineering team and system designers have the experience to deploy the right services within budget and on time.

In fact, the quality of our solutions was so impressive that BDR Group won multiple industry awards in 2020 for its work with the NHS, including the CRN ‘Best Covid-19 Initiative’ and CBA ‘Keeping Britain Working’ award. So, you know your operation, and your patient’s data is in safe hands.

Get in touch today to see just how much BDR Group could impact your service delivery and enhance your patient’s experience and ultimately, their health.