How I contributed to the fight against COVID with RPA

By Alfred Lau posted 08-08-2022 07:52


How I contributed to the fight against COVID with RPA:

October 2020, amidst the fluctuation between lockdown and curfew, we knew the best way to fight the pandemic was to stay at home.

I wished I could play a greater part in improving the lives of others than simply staying at home. While staying at home an extraordinary opportunity came when I was asked to deliver an implementation project under the Blue Prism COVID-19 Response Program that allowed me to do exactly that when I was asked to deliver an implementation project under the Blue Prism COVID-19 Response Program.

The COVID-19 Response Program helped to fight the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by donating digital worker licenses and professional services, Blue Prism made intelligent automation technology available to public sector, healthcare, education, financial services, and non-profit organizations.

 The program was suited for healthcare organizations looking to manage patient scheduling, remote physician consultations, logistics and supply management, vaccine research, workforce planning, and other frontline healthcare needs.

Ensure the protection of healthcare professionals by ensuring a continuous supply of PPE

A public health agency asked us for help. This organization notably administers the supply and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Primary Cares Services (Doctors, Dentists, Pharmacies) across over 2000 sites to ensure that both staff and patients are protected against the virus in adherence to the national guidance.

The resource intensive ordering process of manually creating individual sales orders for each site was not equipped for the spike in demand they were experiencing. The information used to place orders could become outdated or incorrect at any time, and, by a snowball effect, have a negative impact on strategies for preventing and limiting the transmission of COVID, and even on patient care.

Use case: automate PPE orders to relieve teams

The organisation looked at automating the ordering process as much as technically feasible, to reduce the overhead on resources and manual effort.  A robotics process would be able to put in place the required level of automation to create the sales orders into the organisation’s systems from multiple spreadsheets on a daily basis.

This is where my expertise in intelligent automation came into play.

Once the program committee gave me the green light, , I got together with stakeholders in the public health organisation to define and validate the scope. The defined scope allowed me to estimate the amount of work and to establish a project timeline.

Next, I worked the organisation’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to ensure that the process was correctly documented, and that the infrastructure was ready. In parallel, to speed up deployment, I formalised the Solution Design as well as the User Acceptance Test.

After all pre-requisites were met, I spent one and a half week in build-and-test, to implement the automation of the PPE ordering process and to ensure that it fulfilled the acceptance criteria. The automated process was consequently deployed into production.

Convincing results as soon as the process is deployed

Over the period of November and December 2020, the robotic process has:

  • Processed 1000 orders
  • Directed the delivery to over 1000+ practice sites
  • Save 75% of FTE

In the coming one year with the robotic process in production, it was estimated to:

  • Process 42,000 orders annually (increased from present 25,000 in 2020)
  • Direct deliveries to approx. 2500 sites
  • Save 80% of FTE annually amounting to 18,000 euros

The feedback from the organisation was that the project has enabled them to meet its obligations in providing suitable PPE to employees during Covid-19 pandemic. This has driven efficiency and quality through the effect use of Robotic Process Automation for the PPE provision to accommodate 2000+ sites. This served also as a beginning of a longer-term sustainable service provision supply model which would help to further the organisation’s ambition - to deliver excellence through a focus on service improvement, automation, and use of technology.

Agility through Intelligent Automation

The potential of Intelligent Automation is not  limited to strengthening current resources or to reducing cost. We have seen it boost the operation agility of a public health organisation in crisis, thanks to its speed of deployment, its low-code approach, and its flexibility.

The most rewarding feeling of this delivery is that, thanks to the Covid-19 Response Programme, my expertise in RPA has contributed to a governmental effort on keeping healthcare workers safe during the current challenging climate.

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