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Tuesday 19 May 2020

NHS reaches for the robots

Blue PrismAnecdotally, we have heard that the NHS response to COVID-19 has been helping drive adoption of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) (see here) within the sector as healthcare providers look to automate an increasing number of processes to free up time for staff. 

Information out today from RPA software provider Blue Prism outlines the scale of recent adoption within UK healthcare with more than 50 NHS Trusts now employing the provider’s robots to automate an increasing variety of processes. Examples of recent automations include things like:

  • Accelerating the on-boarding of NHS staff through automating new starter accounts and assigning staff to relevant roles.
  • Respiratory data sharing helping identify cases and moving data across London.
  • Connecting patient admin systems across the NHS to improve access to psychological therapies.
  • Automation giving 800 Care homes access to NHS Mail to speed up patient referrals from care homes into hospitals.

Key to driving adoption has been the creation of a dedicated NHS Digital Exchange allowing NHS tech teams access to a library of pre-built automation assets across over 40 different processes. Automations enabling key back office support for things like recruitment, HR onboarding, and finance processing are also available through the NHS DX. This pre-built, reusing and repackeging of existing automation has been key to stopping “wheels being reinvented” as Trusts no longer have to start from scratch, promoting collaboration across the sector and driving much better value for money for the taxpayer.

The other major enabler has been a significant recent cultural shift within healthcare providers as automation, and RPA in particular, is seen less as a “threat to jobs” and more as a “saver of time”.

Posted by: Marc Hardwick

Tags: automation   RPA  

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