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Case Study

Cancer Patients Referred for Treatment in 24 Hours Using RPA

24 hours to process referrals
Time returned to the cancer team
Consistency of patient information across systems

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is frightening — and research suggests that half of the people born in the U.K. after 1960 will be diagnosed during their lifetime. A positive outcome depends on early detection and swift treatment, but patients are continually facing long wait times for routine screenings and delays in receiving urgent referrals, which can restrict access to treatment. To expedite critical cancer referrals, a U.K. healthcare provider has leaned on a team of speedy SS&C Blue Prism digital workers.


According to Cancer Research U.K., there are 375,400 new cancer cases in the country each year. The healthcare provider’s hospital cancer hub receives nearly 900 cancer or suspected cancer referrals each week. Since timely diagnosis and immediate treatment access are essential, each referral must be processed within 24 hours of receipt. Two highly skilled employees dedicated themselves every day to manually processing each referral. When referral volumes increased, the team pulled three other staff members in to help. Workload spikes could cause delays which frustrated patients and their healthcare providers alike.

Paperwork was also stacked up since all documents had to be printed. Employees scanned each printed page into a single file and uploaded it into an electronic medical record (EMR) system. Since each patient’s file could be more than 30 pages, the process was time-consuming and required more than 2000 sheets of paper each week.


A team of SS&C Blue Prism digital workers was tasked with rapidly processing all cancer referrals within 24 hours of receipt. Since digital workers operate 24/7, they can process referrals over the weekend and after hours, speeding up response time.

Digital workers now log into the healthcare provider’s referral system, extract the key information relating to each referral, combine all documentation and save it as one PDF. Next, they log into the EMR system, search for the patient and attach the pdf with the referral-related information to the patient’s record. Additionally, they update other key patient information systems to ensure patient information is consistent and current across the organization.

Patients can rest assured that their cancer referrals will be processed within 24 hours and care will not be delayed by referrals stuck in the queue. Valuable time is now returned to the cancer team, allowing them to spend more time innovating patient care. And since digital workers create and upload a PDF, there’s no need to print the documentation, saving environmental resources and supporting the healthcare provider’s goal to be a paperless organization.

The automation team was able to quickly bring this process online by reusing portions of other automations. They then duplicated the process for the cancer services team at another local hospital and doubled the impact.

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