Our IT systems are holding us back – automating clinical and administrative processes for NHS Primary Care
What is work
Using Primary Care as an example – both Clinicians and Administrative teams follow strict guidelines to deliver the best possible service to their patients (i.e., Consultations, long-term condition management, assessments, filing, expectation setting and planning).
For this article, please consider each of the above as a task or workflow, a way of working within the parameters of that workflow with an expected deliverable. Perhaps being able to contact predefined groups is a specific way of managing results appropriately and having time to consult and define appropriate next steps.
This way of looking at work is applicable inside and outside the NHS. We all have a deliverable expectation based on all the “tasks or workflows” we follow with varying levels of complexity.
Why do we do it like this
We group and work like this to share tasks with varying levels of complexity best suited to different people. To support us in delivering these tasks, we use technology—telephone, SMS, databases, predefined templates, SYSTMONE, EMIS (WEB) and more. I.e., to deliver a “task”, you need to log into a database, look for something and follow an action…click…click…click!
Technology is limited
Many aren’t aware that we are limited by the technology we use. Most of our “deliverables” are underpinned by the tech we use. But we spend more time than we should updating databases with minimal experience or judgement. If the logic to do something has already been defined, why do we still need people to do it?
Our systems are limited – they need someone to sit there and click on multiple items, read things and follow predefined workflows.
We are wasting time, doing work beneath us, and limiting what can be done. We could do more work in less time by removing the things we don’t need to do. Now we can use automation tools. We don’t need to work in this way anymore and don’t need to click buttons for large portions of each day, every day!
JifJaff NHS productised plug-in automation tools tailored for healthcare; you can remove large chunks of work. Imagine all negative blood filed without being reviewed by a clinical. Call recalls running by themselves, Docman filing done by itself, repeat prescriptions and more – well, it’s possible.
With technological advances, we can use the same systems but remove large portions of work where the predefined logic/ rules have already been defined. For example, only review blood that needs to be looked at, spend less time filing, and more. A mix of the computer and us working together, rather than us using the computer to do our work.
This is happening now, practices, PCNs removing parts of whole workflows. Free time, remove errors and do more with the same people.
Let’s work together to get the mix right again. Save time and money and help to free time so that more work can be done that requires people, not robots!