The focus of the day was on the exciting and innovative work using automation technologies taking place within the NHS, with case studies and analysis presented by NHS England, Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, The Royal Free, North London Partners Shared Services, and The Brooke Surgery.
It was interesting to hear about the work carried out to date and where NHSE saw automation work going in the future through a presentation from NHSE Senior Programme Manager for Digital Productivity, Lucy Rose Hewitt. A spotlight was shone on the Centres of Excellence across the country, including the Royal Free, but it was highlighted that this work can be siloed within regions which is an area for improvement going forward.
There was quite a lot of talk about benefits identification, tracking, and realisation. This is a topic I was excited to hear about as I am part of a team within a large central government department that helped identify and realise £3 million of benefits in Year 1 through a robust benefits management process.
Whilst there was a focus on ROI from automation projects, hearing the case studies from healthcare providers made it clear that patient experience and quality of care was at the heart of all they do. As well as automating certain processes to free up clinical time where the ROI was obvious and fairly significant, work was also being done to smooth out processes using automation for smaller services, such as pediatric oncology, where even small disruptions could cause a significant issue.
It was apparent more work was needed on benefits and developing case studies to showcase the positive impact, as these are key to helping unlock future funding for initiatives. There seemed to be an interest in expanding where automation was used into more areas of the healthcare system, such as Primary Care, which is exciting and the potential benefits could make major improvements to patient and staff experiences.
Leveraging Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can solve problems and rapidly enhance processes and services. At Methods we combine our experience and knowledge, alongside innovative technology such as RPA, to make a positive impact within public sector organisations. This conference provided me with an opportunity to see how the work we are doing is truly impacting our healthcare services. I am excited to continue working with emerging and innovative technologies such as RPA, to optimise, improve, and drive forward not only our healthcare system, but public sector organisations across the country.
Amelia Campbell is a Senior Business Analyst in Methods Change & Innovation portfolio.