How tech can help reduce the strain at a time of high demand
Health and Social Care services across the country are experiencing a level of pressure never felt before and this is increasing by the day. The number of people requiring help is being compounded by frontline and support resources having to self-isolate, whilst those who are available adapt to new working practices to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Less well publicised is the work going on behind the scenes within technology teams and their partners, to deliver solutions to the many problems being created by COVID-19. The global tech community has mobilised to support frontline services, often offering to provide services at heavily reduced rates or even free. And it’s not just creating accounts for Microsoft Teams! Over the last year, health boards and local authorities across the UK and internationally have begun automating repetitive business tasks. Progress has often been slow due to these initiatives vying for prioritisation against immediate needs. Automation has therefore been viewed (and marketed) as a cost cutting measure. But this, in my view, is incorrect and has actually hampered progress and adoption. Automation should be utilised for its ability to free up people from administrative tasks, so they can focus on the organisation’s mission. It is also useful in mitigating points of failure by removing key person dependencies which in the current context is essential. Now more than ever before, automation can help. We are currently working with UiPath and the incredibly dedicated NHS24 Digital Team in Scotland to automate tasks which will result in more capacity to answer the increased volume of calls. Work is also underway in England, Ireland, USA and elsewhere to automate infection control administration, prevent bed blocking, report on COVID-19 test results, onboarding of volunteer and paid staff, assessment of patients’ need for a COVID-19 test using chatbots and many many other processes. All utilising the skills of a variety of technology vendors and delivery partners. But much more can be done. The global automation community is heeding the call and we are here to help. We need to know the pressure points so we can find solutions. Please speak to technology vendors direct or speak to a specialist implementation partner. Many of the partner organisations – big and small – are actively augmenting each others’ teams and are offering heavily discounted rates for COVID-19 related work. Now is the time to collaborate on automation, not compete. So use us and let us help you free up people to concentrate on the mission. Alex Croucher is a Director at VKY Intelligent Automation, an independent Scottish implementation partner of UiPath, Automation Anywhere and Liveperson.