Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) has achieved significant time savings, as much as 75% against some of its business-critical processes, as a result of two digital transformation projects.
The Trust is the second largest community and mental health trust in the country, providing physical and mental health, children’s & families, learning disability, specialist, adult social care and community services. It was created following the merger of two Trusts in the West Midlands in 2018.
Expansive Data Migration to create a unified Electronic Patient Record System:
In 2020 it completed the migration of 6.5million files into a single unified, Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system – a process that would have taken 20 people working full time for six months to complete.
Its two legacy EPR systems had been unable to communicate with each other to transfer the data, and with a pressing need to ensure patient records across the Trust were accurate, a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) workflow was constructed.
The RPA solution reviewed all files and cross checked the data against the central NHS ‘Spine’ to ensure only the most accurate were retained. Where conflicting data records were held, the newest was transferred to the system. Similarly, if the Trust held newer data than the NHS Spine, central records were updated.
MPFT audited the data first to ensure a clean data set ahead of writing scripts that controlled the robots. The RPA process was built using NDL’s RPA toolkit, SX. It has enabled the Trust to achieve significant improvements to its data integrity across multiple different types of data including appointments, progress notes, referrals and patient registration forms. One, up-to-date system ensures that records are reliable and can be viewed and altered in real-time.
The Trust has further increased ROI by using RPA for other migration projects.
Document scanning reduces process time by 75%:
Following the merger, the Health Records Team had a backlog of 40,000 documents to scan and add to the correct patient file. Each would take approximately four minutes to process, creating an opportunity for risk in instances where it would take weeks for some records to appear on the EPR system.
The process would take one person more than 170 days to complete, with new files coming in all the time.
RPA has reduced the process time to one minute per document – achieving a 75% time saving and enabling the team of two handling the work to focus on other business critical processes such as Freedom of Information requests.
Real time data quality is vastly improved and clinical risk reduced as a result of the system that has cleared the backlog and now completes 200 – 300 files per day so that no future backlog is created.
The RPA takes a PDF of a scanned document, navigates the EPR and attaches it to the correct patient file. The workflow follows a strict business logic to replicate the same behaviour of the Health Records Team. Staff audit the system at intervals to ensure integrity.
An initial proof of concept was live within two weeks of briefing NDL and the Trust and NDL worked in partnership across four weeks to scale up to create 40 robots – each compatible with the MPFT’s smart card security system and split between migration and scanning tasks.
Looking to the future:
After achieving significant value from RPA across its two digital transformation projects, MPFT is now identifying further use cases for the technology with an emphasis on timelier processes for updating clinical data. The Digital Transformation project is being led by Martyn Perry, Associate Director of Information Management and Technology Transformation.
The merger resulted in a single Trust with now 10,800 staff. Future projects include updating the Electronic Staff Record System and library system, as well as adding employee finance forms to its Electronic Document Management System.
Martyn Perry, Associate Director of Information Management &Technology Transformation at Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said:
“NDL’s SX gave the Trust the flexibility to meet the urgent demands needed to move to one Electronic Patient Record with excellent tools and support to make the process painless. Following the success of the initial project, we continue to build and transfer our skills to other areas within the Trust. Our document scanning project is the first example of that, and our proof of concept was live within two weeks of briefing NDL.”
Tom Wright, Head of Digital Engagement at NDL, said:
“The Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has made incredible improvements to efficiency through its strategic use of automation technology, as well as cleansing an expansive data set. Timeliness and accuracy is critical to delivering the best in patient care and we are proud to have partnered with the team to ensure its staff have access to the right information when it is needed. Our focus is to ensure the team are equipped to best use their resources, reducing the administrative burden to free up their valuable time for the benefit of residents in the region.”