Hutt Valley DHB has identified the potential for nearly $1.6 million and 9800 hours a year in savings as it expands the use of robotic process automation (RPA).
The DHB, which provides health services to a population of more than 146,000 people across Hutt City and Upper Hutt City, has already freed clinical support staff from some manual processing to spend more time on patient care.
Systems used by GPs and Hutt Valley hospitals are unable to talk to each other easily, so patient information for appointments had to be moved manually between systems.
Partner Quanton implemented Blue Prism RPA technology to automate the collection of e-referrals.
Quanton founder and managing director Garry Green said the processes required for electronic referrals was highly repetitive and rules-based, making it ideal for RPA.
Software robots now complete validation checks, update the DHB's demographic data and create the referral processes.
The status of the referral was then automatically updated in the DHB’s Concerto system with any registrations that could not be completed – where information is missing or incorrect – referred back to staff for assessment.
“The human workforce is not completely discounted from the end-to-end process,” said Green. “They remain critical in completing business exceptions and tertiary tasks, such as confirming data quality and assessing input related issues that affect data quality."
Hutt Valley DHB estimated RPA would return more than 3300 hours to the organisation per year just from e-referral processing.
Quanton said the use of RPA was not about reducing staff as demand for support was already stretching resources. Instead, RPA uses software robots to perform repetitive tasks, freeing employees up to do more complex, value adding jobs.
That had the added benefit of improving staff satisfaction as they are able to focus on more engaging and customer focused work.
Processing quality has improved, with all processes completed by automation 100 per cent compliant to regulatory and process requirements and 100 per cent accurate.
The system also provided strong auditing records, providing the DHB with a level of control, visibility and auditability higher than is possible with manual processing. Advanced analytics and newly available data have also increased transparency, reporting and governance.
Hutt Valley DHB is now looking to expand the application of RPA with an opportunity assessment identifying eight processes for automation with nearly $1.6 million in possible benefits.
These include refreshing Excel reports, updating contact details and clinical coding to free up of more than 9800 hours of manual work.
Green said Capital Coast DHB and Wairarapa DHB are also looking at deploying RPA. Quanton added UiPath technology to its RPA line-up last October.