Northampton General Hospital have started using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology to plan the care of COVID-19 patients.
The RPA technology uses software robots to replicate the way humans interact with computers. This means that computer systems can support staff in completing tasks which traditionally would have required human input. Using RPA means that staff time can be used more efficiently and accurate data can be gathered quickly.
The development of this new software was initiated as the hospital started to treat more patients with COVID-19. Many patients who come to hospital with COVID-19 often experience breathing problems and need ventilation treatment to help them breathe more easily. As the number of patients needing this treatment increases the oxygen usage also increases.
Although there are no anticipated problems with supply, the team wanted to ensure they had as much data as possible about the oxygen levels on site. Historically this process involved a person manually logging onto a system every hour for 24 hours and physically going to the tanks to capture a reading. While this method worked the team saw an opportunity to use RPA to make the process more efficient and minimise the human input required.
In just 12 hours, and by working through the night in conjunction with technology company Automation Anywhere, the team created a bot which allowed them to monitor the oxygen levels 24 hours a day without human intervention. This means that the team can use their time to support other areas of the hospital while still gaining an accurate and constant flow of information.
Chief Information Officer, Hugo Mathias explained how this technology will support staff and patients “Managing the supply and flow of oxygen has never been more important. Automating the collection and sharing of this data has given valuable hours back and increased confidence that we offer the best level of patient care”
A hospital spokeswoman said: “We are proud to have been able to create and implement something so quickly to support the hospital. We would like to thank the whole team involved in bringing together the knowledge and ideas to support this project.
“We know that using automated systems and robotic technology helps to ease pressures. Now is the perfect time to be using technology to support us in making things easier for our staff. Not only will this free up their valuable time but we can now also look at exploring other way of using technology in healthcare”.
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