Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, have praised the introduction of robotics software in their Outpatients department. Their Robotics Process Automation (RPA) project helped speed up processes, and free up extra time so staff were able to focus on patient care and experience.

It removed the need for tedious, repetitive actions to be carried out manually by staff. As a result of the technology patients who faced extended waiting times in getting appointments due to the pandemic, have been able to receive faster access to treatment.

The robots successfully processed more than 2,300 referrals in the first two weeks of the programme, saving the trust over 200 hours. It allowed teams to respond quicker because of the robots operating 24 hours a day. Julia Doe, Head of Patient Administration, said:

“In Outpatients, we were spending almost 3,000 hours a year extracting these e-Referrals, so the introduction of RPA is a game-changer for us. We’re looking forward to automating a number of other processes which currently take up resources that can be better utilised in improving patient care.”

Claire Leigh, Service Support Manager, added:

“I am extremely proud that Outpatients has taken on the first Robotics Process Automation in the trust. I have already seen the positive impact this has had on my team, and have no doubt this will be the first of many RPAs in the trust, completely overhauling the way we work.”

The software has also been used in the Outpatients department to gather referrals from the NHS e-Referral Service, where patients are referred by a GP or self-referred online. The use of robotics to automate the extraction of e-Referrals has been described as a “game-changer” by the Outpatients department, and it is hoped to be rolled out to other areas of their hospital.

Adam Souris, the Associate Director for Workforce Control Improvement Programme, and robotics programme lead commented:

“The implementation of robotics in Outpatients is a fantastic example of cross-functional multidisciplinary teams working together to drive improvements in the way we deliver our services.”

He added that in relation to the initial proposal to the delivery of automation, the team has been enthusiastic and committed to supporting the project. He thinks it is exciting to see the benefit that robotics can bring to our patients and we look forward to utilising automation across the trust.

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