Bradford District Care NHS FT RPA Team

BDCFT Robotic Process Automation Team

Briefly describe the initiative/ project/service; please include your aims and objectives

The Robotic Process Automation work at Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust was originally set up to implement process automation, as the name suggests. However, while use cases were investigated for RPA the more immediate requirement emerged for online e-form development to allow services to move on from large paper consent collections and clunky paper referral processes. Although the Trust has been comfortable with paper lite and electronic patient records for some years, until now, extending digital records out to service users hadn’t been a priority.

Benefits of such e-form developments range from ease of submission for the public to ease of preparation for forth coming RPA projects. But the benefit that underwrites both of these is the vast reduction in the handling of reams of paper, from are source, staffing and environmental perspective these create a reduction in cost. This allows resource to be directed to where it’s needed, the clinical front line.

What are the key achievements?

e-Consent – Fluoride Varnish Team
The dental service providing fluoride varnish painting for the children of the Bradford locality burned significant administration resource annually with gathering parental consents in conjunction with the locality’s schools and educational settings. Replacing the bulk of paper handling with a link shared with schools to the e-consent and allergies recording e-forms paves the way for data to be easily utilised in service spreadsheets and provides a standard data template for loading (or input by RPA) into our Fluoride Varnish EPR.

Self Referral to the autism pathway
Significant levels of evaluation and self-reflection are needed when considering referral to support services for the autistic spectrum. At Clinical Commissioning Group request we are providing access to the self-referral e-forms through a trust link. These e-forms provide the functionality to ‘save’ and ‘submit later’ a feature that allows those completing such referrals to contemplate their submission and hit the send button only when the content feels right.

How innovative is your initiative?

The innovation from these implementations is shifting the mindset away from accepted ways of working. In the dental example, shifting of mass the paper forms to the automated delivery of structured data and doing this as part of a regular administrative process. In the self referral process, we are moving the form filling on to an electronic platform which still allows service user families to consider their submission at their own pace in an un-pressured and supportive way. Both changes produce data which is structured and which can underpin the next stage which is Robotic Automated input into the electronic patient record.

What are the key learning points?

The concepts and technicalities for both these example innovations can undoubtedly be replicated. The key perceived hearts and minds anxieties need to be managed, RPA innovation must always be considered as a method for appropriately refocusing existing skills to areas which require the attention of a skilled, experienced individual. The key pitfall from internal customers is always a failure to recognise the initial investment of time required to take existing processes to an automated outcome. Both knowledge of the business process and a handover of the technical ‘clicks’ is needed before the implementation team can create their product. Then time taken to test and iron out the glitches is critical to ongoing success.