Robots could soon boost the efficiency of healthcare services in Auckland and Northland if the technology passes muster.
Shared services organisation HealthAlliance is testing the market for robotic process automation (RPA) technology to increase the efficiency of services delivered for northern region district health boards.
RPA uses software to process transactions, manipulate data, trigger responses within enterprise systems and to communicate with other digital systems.
HealthAlliance, which manages a large volume of transactional processes for Northland, Waitemata, Auckland and Counties Manukau DHBs, is looking to RPA to cut costs and increase revenue recovery.
"There are on-going discussions and innovations that suggest the global future will see increasing use of artificial intelligence and automation of activities," a request for expressions of interest published yesterday said.
"At HealthAlliance we would like to understand the potential impacts and opportunities that RPA could provide, which includes finding out what systems are available in the market."
The RPA solution should reduce effort expended performing manual and repetitive tasks and enable resources to be shifted from process-driven to higher value activities.
HealthAlliance aims to run a proof of concept focusing on its supply chain and finance functions, such as logging into multiple systems, for queries and to process transactional changes, populate spreadsheets and to initiate and responding to Microsoft Outlook communication.
The proof of concept will be used to help the organisation to understand the technology and to frame a future roadmap for adoption.
The HealthAlliance move may signal local organisations are shifting from studying to actively exploring new automation technologies such as RPA. A survey from last October found nearly half of New Zealand businesses were interested in investing in robotic processes and automation within the next 12 months.