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Automation will empower people to work better

Topics: Industry insights

Our 2-way integration functionality is now live. We're able to empower patients to control and manage their care. Appointment times and locations can be chosen by the patient, and automatically updated into the local Patient Administration System (PAS) or Electronic Patient Record (EPR). We can see a hospital where routine, straightforward tasks are automated, there are fewer human errors, and processes are faster and smoother. 

However, alongside these benefits, there’s a question that comes up time and time again: What does this mean for staff and their jobs? 

I find three key aspects of this: 

Firstly, there needs to be a focus on the current unmet demand

Within our current climate, patients are struggling to get in contact with their care providers. This refers to everything from getting appointments in the first place to merely asking where they need to go for it. It can be a stressful time for a patient; their letter may not have arrived in the post yet, they might need to take time off work to get to the hospital and more importantly in most cases they will be suffering physically or mentally.  

From the provider’s point of view, their booking teams are struggling themselves with capacity, it’s hard to prioritise the complex patients as there’s nothing to help them with the routine tasks. Especially as we are heading into the winter period which is known as a notoriously challenging time for both; patients and the NHS. The first automation improvements therefore focus on improving the patient experience, making sure that patients are given easier access to more information about their care.  

Secondly, we need to focus on the complex tasks that need people involved

Automation will mean that these booking teams can use their specific skillset to perform activities that are of higher value. In reality, there are so many complex tasks under hospital staff remits, and this is about allowing staff to focus on delivering these well, and not worrying about things that can be automated. It will give staff the opportunity to focus on delivering care where it’s really needed.  

When patients stop calling in to check when their appointment is, booking teams can now spend their time on Tim, who needs a porter for transport around the hospital, or Lisa, who needs to reorganise all of her 4 appointments to be on the same day so that she doesn’t have to take four days off work. 

Thirdly, we need to understand the potential with natural attrition

So far, I’ve focused on empowering staff to deliver the best service, making sure the focus is on the more complex tasks and patients. When the initial demand is met, further automation means that it is possible to reduce staffing levels. Natural attrition in a team is typically 10%-20% so providers can reduce the team size gradually, and with care, giving a more streamlined organisation. It’s important to recognise this potential, and enable staff and providers to move forward positively. 

Embrace the change

The NHS is changing. More and more people are talking about AI, Machine Learning, and what it means for the future. New technologies and solutions are going to be brought in over time, and it is up to staff to really embrace this change. Go with the technology and find out for yourself where you can spend the time that is released to best help your patients.  

At DrDoctor, we look forward to a future where hospital staff are using their high levels of skill, in whichever area that lies, to perform high value tasks and make an incredible difference in the way care is delivered. The amazing technology that lies behind our 2-way integration empowers staff to spend more time on helping patients who really need that help, while bringing their own natural creativity into the workplace. At a time where capacity is crippling front-line staff across the NHS, deep integration and automation gives time back to the front-line, and allows focus on essential, rewarding, and empowering tasks.