Teams working together in BSW to free up time for GP receptionists

The BSW Digital Transformation team have been working with GP surgeries and the Great Western Hospital on an exciting new project to use computer technology to automate how some medical tests are managed.

Being able to automate some simple everyday tasks in the test results processes for areas such as bowel disease and cholesterol means GP reception staff can concentrate on other areas.

We caught up with Karolina Fulluck, a project manager on the team, to find out more.

What is the project looking to achieve and how is it progressing?

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology that uses automation to mimic the tasks of human workers, such as extracting data, filling in forms and moving files. It involves the use of software robots or “bots” to mimic human interactions with digital systems and applications. The RPA project in BSW is currently focusing on automating the processes that staff who work at GP surgeries carry out when dealing with some test results including bowel screening and cholesterol and lipid levels. The project is currently live in two practices across BSW. The implementation of RPA in practices and the ICB has the potential to provide significant benefits, including increased efficiency, improved accuracy as well as standardising processes.

Who has been involved in the project?

The project team involves staff from across BSW Together ICS. The RPA team from Great Western Hospital provides the technical development, Dr James Harrop of St Michael’s surgery in Bath is the Clinical Lead and Dr Shan Mantri is the Clinical Safety Officer. Bryan Taylor, Karolina Fulluck and Jason Young from BSW ICB complete the team.

What have you learned from working jointly with colleagues from different organisations?

There is a wide variety of skills and expertise across the ICS that can be utilised rather than repeating the same processes in individual organisations. Also, that partnership working on the RPA project presents an opportunity to develop a system-wide service and expertise rather than compete over the same people and resources.

What are the next steps?

The RPA project is currently funded until March 2024 so the team is pulling together a business case to demonstrate the value the technology offers to general practice in the hope to be able to roll it out to more practices. Lots of organisations in BSW and across the NHS use RPA so this provides an opportunity to work together on this time-saving and innovative technology.