Robotics and automation transform patient care
Robotics and automation have the potential to transform healthcare, allowing staff to shift from repetitive administrative tasks to spending more time with patients.
That’s according to Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, which recently deployed a “state-of-the-art” IT tool – Robotic Process Automation Tool (RPA) – to automate repetitive processes, such as processing invoices or booking appointments.
“The system was originally piloted by the Trust to look at processing invoices for the finance team, and the first process actually went live last year related to our COVID testing booking system,” said Joanne Millar, the trust’s lead for robotic automation and integrated development.
“This process gives a real opportunity for us to help with our clinical and elective restoration programmes and take over some of the traditional ‘back-office’ functions in order to hand back clinical time to colleagues who can then spend more time with our patients.”
The trust said that its radiology department debuted the system after it queried the challenge of streamlining its appointments processing. Now, when a message goes out to a patient by the normal process, once a response is received the RPA system takes over.
The system has handled over 5,500 appointments which has allowed staff to recoup a “significant” amount of clinical time.
Michelle Ball, radiology admin manager, added: “The project has been very successful for us in Radiology, it has been a real boost to the department.
She also alludes to just how beneficial the system has been, suggesting staff “can continue to enter referrals, book appointments and receive patients without the worry” of sacrificing time that could be spent elsewhere.
Robotic tools have recently been deployed in a variety of sectors. In hospitality, Uber partnered with Serve Robotics for automated delivery service, and construction saw a $64 million funding for self-driving diggers. It may not be long before we see similar activity in healthcare, such as this system gaining a presence across a number of hospitals.
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