Using robotic process automation (RPA) saves 72% of time taken to register new staff for elearning
Every new clinical member of staff at Mid Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust must be suitably trained to use key clinical systems before commencing duties. These include:
- eMeds (electronic prescribing system)
- ICE Order Communications (for ordering bloods/radiology exams and other service orders)
- PPM+ (Electronic Patient Record)
- Symphony (A&E system)
The Digital Learning Team need to register up to 300 new members of staff. User registration can be a labour intensive task, complicated when foundation doctors rotate their placements several times each year.
Each new registered staff member had to be booked onto individual courses (depending on their job role). The Digital Training Team were processing all of the registration requests manually. The whole process would take about five minutes per learner which meant it would take a team of 3 people 1.5 days on average to complete 200 registrations. As this work was also repetitive and monotonous, it had a negative impact on staff's mental health and meant that errors were more likely to occur. In addition, given the volumes of new staff registrations, it was always possible for registrations to be missed.
To automate the registration process on the Digital Learning System application to create a streamlined approach and to reduce the total time taken to register applications.
To make it quicker for health care staff to access online training and help improve the mental health and wellbeing of the Digital Learning Team, decreasing the number of errors made.
Solution and impact
Using NDL’s Robotic Process Automation (RPA) toolkit, Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust designed a streamlined approach:
- Registration requests are populated into a database, where a bot automatically creates a unique account for each learner with the required information.
- Each registered user is then booked onto the appropriate courses for their job title. Once registered, the platform triggers an automatic email to the learners, providing them with their login details and account confirmation.
- Any duplications or errors are detected by bots and flagged to the Digital Learning Team who then investigate further.
The RPA solution has had the following impact:
- During a test, a doctor’s account was enrolled from registration request onto four required eLearning courses.
- The bot completed the task and sent a confirmation email within 1 minute and 29 seconds - where the same process took an experienced administrator 5 minutes and 24 seconds, resulting in a time reduction of 72.5%.
- 200 registrations can now be completed in 5 hours, as opposed to the one and a half days it previously took to do manually.
- Using RPA also means registrations can be processed 24/7 and not just in office hours so more registrations are able to be completed.
- There is a significant reduction in resource and time demands on staff, increasing the capacity for training.
- The number of failed registrations and account errors are reduced.
Repetitive and monotonous tasks are eliminated, having a positive impact on the mental health and wellbeing of staff.
- Computer based automation
- Processes that operate 24/7
- Flags errors to staff to investigate
- Users are registered for a new account
- Bookings onto relevant training for each user are done automatically
- Confirmation emails are sent with log in details
- Errors are flagged to be checked by a member of staff in the elearning team
Scope of capacity
The bot is used by the Digital Learning Team at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals when processing Digital Learning System registrations but RPA can be used to automate any manual repetitive process.
Key learning points
The initial requirement was to program a bot to enrol all staff (existing and new). It soon became apparent that it was not possible to identify a unique id for those staff already registered. At this point the project was stalled while different processes were considered.
After giving this some thought, it was deemed appropriate not to forgo the project but rather concentrate on the registration of new members of staff only.
When scoping for a robotic process, do not be disheartened by tasks that the robots cannot perform. Concentrate on the elements of the process where the bots can excel. In this case we managed to automate 70% of the process and experienced great benefits.
Key figures/ quotes
RPA system delivers over 70% time saving
Not only is it a big timesaver for the team, and an improvement for their mental health as they don’t have to sit and do all of this manually – but it also provides them with more time to provide extra courses and training to staff. It just frees up a lot of time, it’s actually quite amazing.
Gareth Cinnamon - Digital Programme Manager
Find out more
Gareth Cinnamon, Digital Programme Manager, Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust
Tom Wright, Head of Digital Engagement, NDL
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Page last updated: October 2022