The aim of RPA is to automate repetitive processes to boost efficiency. In this project we are using RPA to provide automated digital support to patients at the first point of contact with their GP practice, whether that is via the telephone, the practice website or in the surgery. Whilst the EDATT model enables patients to complete administrative tasks themselves, integration with Blinx PACO to create EDATT+ also offers them a direct routine appointment booking platform via a patient-facing chatbot. The chatbot automatically navigates patients to appropriate services that they can directly book into without waiting in a call queue to speak to a call handler. By offering a wider range of service options, the platform aims to reduce the booking of unnecessary GP appointments, free up clinical resource,reduce the pressure on administrative staff when demand exceeds capacity and improve the patient experience of accessing healthcare.
Hanley Consulting and Blinx Healthcare worked with Aylesbury Central PCN (comprising Whitehill Surgery and Berrycroft Medical Centre) from the 1st April – 30th September 2023. The PCN was awarded funding by BOB ICB to implement an RPA pilot in order to embark on a transformative project to streamline the patient journey and empower them through automated technology.
The PCN faces the same challenges as many primary care organisations nationally. Staff burnout, patients voicing frustration around accessibility, the inefficient use of clinician’s time on non-clinical tasks and challenges in encouraging patient to use online health platforms are all reflective of issues identified in The Fuller Stocktake report when it comes to the pressures faced by General Practice. The aims of the RPA pilot, therefore, were to
After a needs analysis was conducted with the PCN, which included a consultation with their Patient Participation Group, the RPA pilot focussed on automating the following processes:
Further details on the methodology used in the implementation of the project can be found in our full RPA pilot report.
We were delighted to receive some very positive feedback from both patients and practice team members during the course of the pilot:
“This service is a huge help to me as I really struggle to book appointments over the phone due to hearing problems.” Patient feedback
“Call queues are shorter, therefore patients are happier” Practice team member
Our analysis of data collected from direct patient engagement, and dashboards designed to measure against the project KPIs also showed significant improvement in all areas the project set out to support:
We will conduct a survey into staff wellbeing in early 2024, but verbatim feedback in this regard has also been very positive:
“My staff are so much happier, so much so that retention has increased” Practice manager