How Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust saved 226 days a year from a single automation project

The Client 

Through multiple engagements with National Health Service (NHS) trusts, DigPacks has developed expertise in using low-code solutions to improve efficiency in healthcare organisations. One of our most successful collaborations is with Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, whose 4,500 staff members provide a wide range of services to Berkshire residents.

As one of the first of seven community and mental health NHS trusts in England to achieve the Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) accreditation, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust understands the power of digital transformation. As part of these efforts, the healthcare provider wanted to spin up an RPA program to introduce efficiency and productivity improvements that would return time to clinical care. The health organisation had already used Power Apps to rapidly develop an app to track COVID test results, so when they investigated the RPA capabilities of Power Automate, there was a strong case for moving forward with Power Platform.

The brief

After several successful POCs, the newly formed Berkshire Healthcare intelligent automation team began evaluating business scenarios where automation could help introduce further clinical efficiency. In the first year, the team implemented multiple successful automation projects, including an RPA process that automates the onboarding of new hires and an automatic process for updating separate electronic patient record (EPR) systems for short-term, crisis, and long-term care at once. 

Berkshire Healthcare is growing its team of developers to address the many automation opportunities the organisation identifies and DigPacks continues to play an important role in providing guidance and development support to tackle the approved projects. “The organisation has seen the benefits of using Power Platform automation to free up Berkshire staff to do more productive, valuable work,” said Sanjay Tailor, Founder and Power Platform Specialist at DigPacks. “There is already a backlog of more than 100 processes that stakeholders have submitted as candidates for automation— so there is so much impact that we can still help them achieve.”

Empowering our clinicians to update separate EPRs with a single click of a button has been transformational. We are directly giving back clinical time that can be better spent directly on patient health, while also reducing risk of manual error in entering this data.

Impact – 20 minutes per referral reduced to 2.3

To prove the capabilities of the Power Platform solution, DigPacks initiated POCs to automate several inefficient business processes, the first of which focused on patient referrals. The client had a large team of people dedicated to manually processing patient referrals, and each referral took about 20 minutes because of highly complex business rules which included 38 separate possible referral pathways. We used Power Automate Desktop to digitise every step of the referral process, using a “robot” to take each action. The solution, which has since been moved to production, has reduced the average time to process each referral to just two minutes and 20 seconds.

>> With hundreds of referrals submitted each week, this saves Berkshire Healthcare NHS Trust an average of 226 days of work annually

With this Power Platform-enabled automation, we are providing patients much more immediate service, helping us improve overall clinical care

Expanding The Power Platform Footprint

Many of the projects DigPacks delivers for NHS trusts can be shared directly with other trusts who have similar needs, which increases the return on investment (ROI) for each trust that invests in Power Platform. “We built an eObservations app for one trust that allows clinicians to input observations on newly-admitted patients that replaced a very manual, paper-based process,” said Bill Irvine, Founder and Power Platform Specialist at DigPacks. “We were able to share that code with a few additional trusts who needed a similar solution—helping them with immediate ROI and gaining a wider footprint for Power Platform at the same time.”

In just a short period of time, this Power App has enabled the recording of over 65,000 observations in a handful of patient wards. “This has significantly improved the accuracy of the logged data and resulted in time given back to the service,” continued Sanjay Tailor. We are always looking at ways to further leverage Power Platform to deliver value to its healthcare clients. 

This includes using the recently launched Power Pages to create a portal where patients can book and manage their own outpatient appointments, as well as investigating how Power Virtual Agents, including new Copilot features, can answer free-form search inquiries on NHS websites with more accurate, relevant information. “The development time that we can save customers in using the new innovations released by Microsoft are just another cog in the Power Platform engine that gives us opportunity to expand our NHS offerings,” said Tailor. 

“We see a lot of growth for our business being driven by new customers, but a big part of it is increased work with existing customers as these new capabilities like Power Pages become available,” continued Tailor. “As the tool set expands, so does our workload. The future is very bright with Power Platform.”