Blog | Jun 3, 2021

Beating the Backlog: the Role of Technology in Getting the NHS Back on Track

Beating the Backlog: the Role of Technology in Getting the NHS Back on Track

Unlocking data, streamlining processes, building capacity, and enabling partnership working will be the key to NHS recovery

As the UK slowly emerges out of lockdown, the NHS is finally ready to open its doors to the vast number of people who have had treatments postponed due to Covid-19. But with a backlog consisting of up to 4.7million, our healthcare service faces the mammoth task of ensuring all these individuals are validated, prioritized and then scheduled for care in a timely, safe fashion.

It has long been said that technology will be the key to creating operational efficiencies for the healthcare sector, and now is the time for it to step up to the plate.

At Blue Prism, we see automation playing 4 fundamental roles: unlocking, standardizing, operationalizing and democratizing data.

Unlocking data

33% of healthcare organizations believe that their inability to efficiently access and use data is a fundamental barrier to creating value for their patients and organization. This inability often ends up creating long and manual processes, wherein staff must plug systems gaps and manually move patient data from one system to another.

When it comes to beating the backlog, ensuring that data is available for those who need it will be fundamental to efficient processing. A digital workforce puts the power of data back in the hands of those who need it by bridging system gaps and creating a single patient view. From checking disparate sources for missing information, validating patient details on the waiting list, and updating internal systems, automation helps to cut out the highly manual checks that are necessary to moving patients along their care pathway.

What’s more is this can all take place 27/4, significantly increasing capacity and enabling your human teams to get back to doing what they do best.

Standardizing data

Now that you’ve unlocked your data, it’s time to get it ready for use. The first hurdle to getting here is to standardize your data. Different stakeholders and systems will store and present data differently, making it difficult to move information from one system to another and generate meaningful insights.

Using AI capabilities, digital workers can reformat and migrate data, ensuring that it works alongside your other data sets. This can enable faster decision making, and wide-scale analytics to take place. From here, digital workers can hand off to your highly trained staff to make crucial decisions around prioritization and backlog management or can even do some of this work for them.

Operationalizing data

With your data clean and ready to go, it’s time to set it in motion. More than 35% of healthcare organizations believe that inefficient and manual processes are critical challenges to effectively utilizing their data.

By enabling end-to-end workflows that take data from a-to-b seamlessly and enable actionable insights, digital workers are helping to streamline processes and accelerate patient processing. At Blue Prism, we’ve seen workflows be reduced from 45 to just 1 minute with the help of automation. In the case of the backlog, cutting processing times will be critical in successfully clearing the waiting list.

One-way digital workers can help to operationalize data is by helping to determine the clinical priority of those on the waiting list. Using a clinically agreed criteria and key word and key phrase recognition to analyze reviews and determine the patient's clinical priority ranking, automation can effectively assess where an individual should be in the queue. Digital workers can then help with a plethora of follow-up actions, including patient communications, appointment scheduling and issuing, validating, collating and uploading e-forms or questionnaires.

Democratizing data

In many cases, patients will experience care across multiple different settings, and successfully orchestrating that care will require pulling together to ensure that scheduling and communications are managed in the most effective way possible. To do this, data will need to be accessible for stakeholders outside of your department or organizations, and by patients themselves.

From setting up secure portals that enable patients to have greater control of their care to deposit and receive information, to feeding shared patient records and anything in-between, Blue Prism is here to ensure that patient care goes off without a hitch.

Interested in learning more? Check out our webinar with East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust and Suffolk County on how they’re using automation to enhance partnership working across their NHS.

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So, whether you need to unlock, standardize, or use your data more effectively, Blue Prism is here to help.

To learn more, you can get in touch with a member of our team, or tune into our webinar with Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust is association with HSJ on how they’re using automation to beat the backlog.

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