GPs in South West England are using robots to gain access to the Dorset Care Record.

Don’t worry, it’s not an I, Robot situation on our hands. Doctors aren’t using physical robots but instead a form of automation that makes their jobs much easier.

GPs in the region are being given click through access to the record (DCR) using robotic process automation (RPA) or artificial intelligence (AI).

The process was created for GPs by IT specialists at Dorset CCG using a solution from global leader in intelligence automation Blue Prism.

Paul Wyman, RPA architect at Dorset CCG, has been working in automation in Dorset with the NHS since 2012 and explains the virtual software robots, which are based in the cloud, can perform a range of jobs.

“You can teach them to perform a task – they have artificial intelligence with an understanding of sentiment,” he said.

“In other industries you can talk to them – they’re currently used in telephone systems answering and diverting calls and they can even read letters.”

Using the robots Wyman was able to create 1,500 accounts – one for every GP in Dorset – as part of plans to enable GPS to log onto the DCR using single sign on.

“We create a script for them [the robots] and the lead worker shares the work across the team. The workers search through the current users of the system and, if the new user’s record is not found, they will create the account with all of the details required,” Wyman said.

“Any problems encountered are reported back so that they can be dealt with manually.”

Wyman has also been working on processes to automate Covid-19 antibody testing for social care staff across the Our Dorset partnership and booked thousands of antibody tests appointments.

Andy Cowling, DCR head of service, added: “This will help us set up over a thousand user records in a fraction of the time it would normally take and I’m delighted we have been successful in working so closely with Paul and his team of digital workers.”

The move to provide single sign on to GPs and Dorset HealthCare staff means that every DCR partner now has the ability to enable its staff to join the DCR from their own system at a touch of a button.