Thoughtonomy has launched a new ‘shared marketplace’ that will allow NHS trusts to automate processes for free to release staff capacity.

The cloud-based platform can be used by trusts to speed up both front and back-office processes without the need to design and build automation services from scratch.

It includes a range of automated processes that have been configured to access common NHS systems, including System C Medway, Kainos Evolve, electronic referral systems, Lorenzo, SystmOne and EMIS Web.

By automating time-intensive, repetitive tasks, it’s hoped that trusts can unburden staff from routine, time-consuming administrative duties and allow them to focus on delivering quality patient care.

The launch of the platform marks the first time NHS trusts have been able to share automation processes in this way.

The first automation available on the platform relates to GP referrals.

Initially built by a team at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT), the process reduces the amount of time that healthcare staff have to spend processing paperwork and uploading data between different IT systems when dealing with GP referrals.

ESNEFT released more than 500 hours of medical secretaries’ time within three months of implementing the automation system and saved £220,000 in associated direct costs.

Darren Atkins, chief technology officer at ESNEFT and the “driving force” behind the new NHS marketplace, said: “By sharing our learning and jointly working on automations to satisfy a common goal, we are able to release time for our clinical and corporate staff faster, more efficiently and at a reduced cost.

“All the processes and objects freely shared in the platform belong to the NHS and may only be used by healthcare organisations for no commercial gain.”

Thoughtonomy recently signed new contracts with Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Additional processes that are being targeted by ESNEFT and other participating trusts include patient reminders, invoicing and the processing of cardio-respiratory referrals and the auto-creation of diagnostic tests.

Patrick Shepherd, UK Healthcare Leader at Thoughtonomy, said: “The shared marketplace is a great example of how NHS Trusts can work together to drive efficiencies, protect and support front-line staff and improve patient care through intelligent automation.

“We’re delighted to support and facilitate this initiative. We’ve already seen how the fantastic automation work being done in one trust can easily be applied elsewhere to deliver game-changing results to staff and patients at other trusts.

“We hope that this becomes the foundation for allowing highly engaged trusts to share, collaborate and inspire each other. It is in everyone’s interests to see them realise the enormous benefits that intelligent automation can deliver, in particular addressing and overcoming many of the major budgetary and skills-related challenges facing the NHS today.”

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