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ELFS Shared Services makes Ask AP widely available to NHS England Trusts and suppliers

ELFS Shared Services (an operating division of the Northern Care Alliance) has made Ask AP, its automated finance solution, available to all 236 Trusts in NHS England and 45,000 suppliers to the NHS.

ELFS has pioneered the use of Artificial Intelligence technology to change the way it manages the relationship between the 15 NHS Trusts using its Finance business service, and the 27,000 suppliers to the NHS with which ELFS deals with on their behalf. This technology solution is a self-service portal called Ask Accounts Payable (Ask AP) delivered by Brightmast, uses intelligent automation to provide instant answers and solutions to queries that previously took hours and days to resolve.

By implementing a service that is a positive improvement at every level from price to deployment and timescale, ELFS have revolutionised relationships with NHS suppliers by providing a more streamlined, cost effective service that is available from any device 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not only are suppliers saving in excess of 80% of time on invoice queries, but ELFS staff are noticing an improvement in work quality of life as they are able to spend time on value-added tasks, and ELFS has been able to use that performance improvement to encourage sustained growth.

Graham Gornall, Managing Director of NHS ELFS Shared Services said:

“We have pioneered the use of this smart technology to change the way in which we provide our services. We have taken time to work with suppliers to the NHS and the NHS Trusts we support to ensure that the service provided by the technology meets both of our needs. Introducing this technology needed careful thought and planning and we needed to be sure that it could perform the tasks that have previously been carried out by people without any disruption.

“Our staff are able to focus on the things that are really important in the department as the pressure and demands previously placed on them are huge, so their quality of life in the workplace has improved. Suppliers are saving in excess of 80% of their time as they are no longer constrained by the availability of our people to answer queries and keep the supply chain moving. Having proved the technology, we are delighted to be able to make it widely available to other NHS Trusts and suppliers to the NHS. “

Simon Robinson, CEO of Brightmast said:

“We are delighted to be able to be able to play a part in the transformation of the NHS. Our technology is described by experts as disruptive, and what we have proved with ELFS is it can be applied at scale in the NHS which is an economy in its own right. The positive disruption is not limited to changing the way in which people work, but it is also changing the way in which customers buy. Programmes of this nature have previously cost many millions of pounds to build and deploy.

“With advanced in technology and the reductions in costs that AI and Cloud services are delivering, we are able to offer these services to Trusts for hundreds of pounds a year, rather than the six and seven figure sums that would have previously been paid. We look forward to continuing to introduce change and innovation into the NHS and to our corporate clients in the commercial sector.”

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