NHS Northampton General
Faster pandemic response with automation
"Automation helps to ease pressures. Not only has this project helped free up valuable time, but now we can also explore other ways of using technology in healthcare. We want to thank the whole team involved in bringing together the knowledge and ideas to support this project."
- Spokesperson for Northampton General Hospital
Northampton General Hospital (NGH) provides general healthcare services to 380,000 people locally, and specialist stroke, vascular and renal services to almost twice as many throughout Northamptonshire.
As you can imagine, NGH has also played an essential part in treating the UK's 250,000+ COVID-19 patients throughout 2020.
Alongside Automation Anywhere, we are incredibly proud to have been NGH's chosen technology partner and played some small role in supporting their tremendous efforts last year.
The Challenge: more time needed for patient care
Coronavirus has led to rapid growth in the number of patients admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties and those requiring oxygen support.
NGH has two large oxygen tanks which supply ventilation machines, and the way that the hospital assigns patients to different wards is based on maintaining an equal distribution of that oxygen.
This is a crucial activity that the hospital can only carry out if it’s always aware of how much oxygen is available but, unfortunately, monitoring oxygen tanks has always been a manual process. Frontline healthcare workers must log into relevant systems and physically collect a reading from the tanks once per hour, every day.
An inconvenience at ordinary times, this process became a substantial challenge for NGH to manage during the pandemic. A new system was required to free up resources, and boxxe were thrilled to play a part in helping the hospital find better, more efficient ways of working.
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The Solution: Robot Process Automation (RPA)
Robot Process Automation (RPA) can be a powerful solution for any organisation with many high priority business processes to manage every day. For NGH, we recognised that a bot could take responsibility for monitoring oxygen tank levels and give their frontline healthcare workers more time to focus on patient care.
With Automation Anywhere's powerful software, any organisation can automate a process as long as that process meets certain criteria:
Consistent digital data
Robotic process automation is perfect for managing processes that aren't likely to change and rely on digital data.
Automation is built to support people, not replace them. RPA works best where complex decision-making or human judgment isn't needed.
Based on these criteria, it might seem like the oxygen monitoring process at NGH couldn't be automated because it involved human intervention. However, NGH measured oxygen levels digitally, and the only part of the process involving people was data collection.
Recognising this opened the doors for the entire process to be automated.
The Delivery: automation in 12 hours
Although NGH had established their need, working with a new technology can be a challenge. Having an expert partner on board to guide its implementation is the best way to ensure success.
We worked with NGH to develop a detailed project proposal to take to our partner's Automation Anywhere. Just 12 hours after the project started, Automation Anywhere had built a bot that automated the hospitals entire oxygen monitoring process.
Even better, once the bot detects that oxygen levels have fallen under a certain level, it automatically creates a new order for more oxygen in the hospitals purchasing system.
With the entire process taken care of by RPA, the team at NGH could spend more time focusing on patient care.