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Automated Scheduling for Elective Care Appointments

By Russ Boreham, Automation Anywhere Added 25th Jun, 2021 Updated 28th Jun, 2021

COVID-19 has generated a significant backlog of elective patients that need appointments generated as quickly as possible.  Trusts are keen to avoid hiring more staff to solve the problem and are looking to digital workers instead.  Bots can assist with the recovery of elective care in a predictable and consistent way.  For example, Automation Anywhere's Robotic Interface (AARI) can be used to extract patient details from referral systems, before cross-checking details against SPINE.  Once validated, bookings can be made within the PAS terminal.  All bookings and referrals are triaged in e-RS (e-Referral Service) with the outcome.

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The concept of resource utilisation and capacity management is not new to the NHS, however in the face of post-pandemic recovery, many trusts are prioritising efforts to free up staff to focus on more value-added activity.  Particularly with the need to clear a significant backlog of care in mind, and to do so within tight financial constraints, digital workers offer the ability to offload administrative and clerical work from human staff. In this way, digital workers operate as a fourth type of NHS worker, operating in harmony with substantive, bank, and agency staff to support delivery of our core objectives.

Automation Anywhere gives staff time to concentrate on the patient while bots manage everything else—like validating data, responding to chats, chasing down approvals, and managing escalations—all in real time.  For example, the cancer treatment pathway often requires information to be downloaded from initiating systems to Business Objects and interrogated separately. Due to the complexity and time required, the process is at risk of human error, resulting in missed patients and inefficient service provision.  A large teaching hospital is using Automation Anywhere to download cancer patient data from e-RS, identify the dates of last appointment and determine if a new appointment is required to meet pathway minimum waiting times.  This reduces effort for a high-pressure and sensitive process, delivers 24/7 service provision and reduces missed patient bookings. 

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