NHSX has set up an online community of practice to encourage the adoption of robotic process automation (RPA) in health and social care.
Dr Maddy Borhani (pictured), senior manager in the digital productivity team at NHSX, highlighted the move in her presentation at UKAuthority’s online Digital Health and Care Conference on Friday.
She said the community was launched the previous week on the Future NHS collaboration platform. This came after a recent survey of RPA in healthcare revealed the need for a forum in which officials could share experiences, knowledge and ideas.
“It will provide a safe space for anyone in the NHS and social care who wants to know more about RPA, wants to connect and collaborate with peers, or share stories, good and bad,” she said. “We will use this space to share our findings, delivery plan, guidance, and to secure input, ideas and feedback.”
The move is part of a strategic delivery plan for the near term, which also involves: NHSX working with other organisations to produce guidance in best practice for using RPA: the commissioning of two centres of excellence for sharing expertise: the creation of a steering group to support its adoption in social care; and plans to publish national guidance on how the technology should be used.
The latter point results from one of the key findings of the survey – that there have been concerns about how the use of RPA relates to important issues such as clinical safety and cyber security.
“We listened to the survey which showed the challenges and barriers and has helped us to develop a roadmap to help with the automation journey,” Borhani said.
She also pointed to how the technology has been used as part of the sector’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This included the allocation of NHSmail accounts to care homes, saving over 1,000 hours of admin time, and the booking of antibody testing for over 6,000 health and care staff, saving over 52 hours of admin work per day and around £22,000 per month.
Borhani encouraged anyone wishing to get involved in the community of practice to contact her at [email protected].
Image from nhs.uk, Open Government Licence v3.0