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Wall-to-wall Automation 360™ saves Newcastle Hospitals 7,000 hours annually, improving staff work/life balance

ABOUT

Newcastle-upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is a leading digital innovator and HIMSS Stage 6 accredited – the global standard for digital maturity - across all its sites. The Trust is one of the busiest, largest, and most successful teaching NHS foundation trusts in the country, with around 16,000 staff and an annual income of £1billion. Rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), staff oversee around 1.84m patients ‘contacts’ each year, delivering high standards of healthcare and is second largest provider of specialized services in the country.

THE CHALLENGE

Newcastle Hospitals, one of the largest Trusts in the United Kingdom, manages over 1.5 million patient engagements each year. After several years of exhausting pandemic, the Trust wanted to find a way to support and improve the work life of its 16,000 employees by reducing much of their mundane and repetitive tasks.

7,000

Hours saved annually by all bots

4,000

Hours saved annually by Appraisal bot

780

Hours saved annually with PP0028 (Cancer Referral Bot)

700

Hours saved in 2 months with NIVS bot

Sonny Yuan

“We achieved a direct saving of 15,000 hours since the launch of our first bot in March 2020.”

- Sonny Yuan, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Lead quote

THE SOLUTION

Newcastle Hospitals chose Automation 360 software and services to pioneer a strategic framework of wall-to-wall automations in its Human Resources, Occupational Health, Cancer Information Center, and Appointment Booking Centre.

Processes Automated

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Staff Appraisal update

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National Vaccination and Immunization Record update

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Patient referrals DNA Registration

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Cancer Referrals Creation

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Competency Records update

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Employee Hire and Termination

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Financial Code update

 

THE WHOLE STORY

Before launching its Trust-wide automation journey, Newcastle Hospitals automated steps in the Human Resource department’s Staff Appraisal process. The process, which was chosen because it could benefit each employee, trimmed the appraisal process to just one minute, saving 15 minutes per employee with an email confirmation of appraisal details arriving the very next working day. The process saved 4,000 hours per year directly and was an extremely successful proof of concept.

When Covid hit, the Trust was charged with vaccinating all 16,000 of its staff and quickly sending the vaccination records to both local and national systems. Without automation, this process would have required training over 100 vaccinators on new systems - manual and national systems. The NIVS (National Immunization and Vaccination System) bot, which didn’t require extra training for vaccinators, accessed the internal system, retrieved data, and then accessed the national system to input over 11,000 records, one by one, in less than two months.

On the heels of these multiple automation successes, the Trust’s Cancer Information Center most recently launched the cancer patient referral bot, PP0028, updating cancer referrals on an almost daily basis, digitally transforming the process to a near-live level. The staff, who used to manually handle 400-500 referrals per week, have gained two working days each week, reducing their need to work longer hours during the day and have more time to focus on quality patient care.

THE FUTURE

Newcastle Hospitals will continue to deliver automation solutions to meet its ’Pioneer’ strategic framework goal of becoming truly digital. Factors such as releasing staff time or automating processes which will allow them to have a better day at work are the top priority. It is estimated that the PIFU (Patient Initiated Follow Up) process will be using RPA to automatically manage 10,000 discharges per month. The Finance department which currently runs a reporting bot, is preparing to leverage IQ Bot™ to read financial documents and automate more complex processes.

Donna Watson

“Automation gives our staff the time to focus on rewarding work, positively impacting the quality of our patient care.”

- Donna Watson, Head of Workforce Engagement, and Information Systems quote

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