Digital Front Door: CYPT services

Streamlining pathways for Children and Young People Therapies Services (CYPT), Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) combined eForm and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technologies to create end-to-end patient referrals. Created as part of its Digital Front Door initiative, the process improves collaborative working across the public sector to accelerate access to essential services for CYPT.

The challenge

HCT CYPT services include Speech & Language Therapy, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy. CYPT receives over 11,500 referrals for these services every year. A large portion of these referrals were received via email, with referral information captured in Word document attachments. Administrative teams monitored the Children’s Referral Hub inbox, manually copying information from these documents into its back-office clinical system, SystmOne.

The process was subject to several challenges. With such a high volume of referrals being received, the process was incredibly time-consuming for the administrative team, especially when referrals were received with incorrect or missing mandatory information. In this event, administrators had to contact referrers directly to request further detail.

Processes requiring manual rekeying are significantly more prone to errors, due to their repetitive nature. With so many referrals to process, errors such as mismarking referrals in progress as ‘complete’ were easy to make. Plus, administrative teams could only process referrals during working hours. Referrals received outside of office times were not processed until the next working day.

The solution

As a longstanding digital pioneer within the NDL Community, the Trust identified the process as one that would benefit highly from end-to-end digital transformation. Combining eForm and RPA technology, it implemented a solution that provides improved patient care through streamlined processing for both referrers and administrative staff.

CYPT referral eForm

The Trust created a bespoke, user-friendly eForm with NDL Digitise to replace the original document – allowing external parties to submit referrals online at any time. While the structure of the form was largely unchanged, the eForm’s features directly address several of HCT’s original challenges:

  • Mandated fields mean referrals are submitted with far less incorrect or missing information
  • A validated GP dropdown ensures referrals aren’t submitted for patients outside of the Trust’s catchment area
  • Validation rules decrease the likelihood of misinterpreting questions and providing inaccurate information
Hct Digi
Hct Automate

SystmOne automation

With a streamlined method of data collection now receiving structured information with improved accuracy, the Trust created an Automate process to automate its input into SystmOne. Gaining approval to create a dedicated smartcard for the Automate Bot, it’s now able to complete the entire referral process directly within the system.

The Automate Bot takes the referral information received through the eForm, beginning the synchronisation process whenever a new referral is received. The bot registers the patient within the correct SystmOne unit depending on the CYPT service required, uploads referral documents for the Trust’s electronic patient record (EPR) system and adds patients to the relevant waiting lists. In instances where a data verification error occurs (such as incorrect NHS numbers or birth dates) the bot flags these referrals as exceptions for the administrative team to follow up.


Working with NDL to create a CYP Integrated Therapy Service referral forms via Digitise has improved the quality and relevance of information received on referrals. The process for data validation has ensured that there is a more efficient streamlined triage process for therapists. The referral automation has redirected capacity within the referral administration hub to concentrate on more high-value tasks.” Karen Woollard - Children and Young People’s Integrated Therapy Services Manager

The benefits

HCT’s one-click referral process makes it easier than ever to refer CYP for essential services. The project has delivered a number of tangible benefits, including:

  • Faster processing: Referrals now reach the system instantaneously, eliminating the original wait between working hours to improve patient experience
  • Time-savings: Rekeying referral information into SystmOne used to take administrative professionals around seven minutes on average, whereas the bot takes around three
  • Increased resource: Now administrative teams only deal with mismatches, they have more time for more engaging, patient-centric work
  • Quality data: Accuracy has improved, with an increase in successful referrals meaning both administrative staff and referrers are inconvenienced less often
  • Easier collaboration: The accessible eForm makes it easier for public sector organisations to work together, benefiting both parties with structured data capture

What’s next?

The CYPT referrals project has demonstrated the power of combining products within the NDL Evolve Platform to achieve end-to-end digital transformation. The Trust intends to roll the process out across several other services and plans to further optimise its eRS. The Trust has just upgraded its Evolve Platform with Flow, ensuring it has flexibility when overcoming constantly evolving front-end, workflow and integration challenges. To learn more about HCT’s work with the NDL Evolve Digital Transformation Platform, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Need to see Evolve in action? Join us at our next public sector event, or book a tailored demo today.


HCT Case Study

Working in partnership with NDL and the CYPT service has allowed us to transform the referral process, allowing ease of access for our referrers and starting on our exciting automation journey which will allow us to deliver significant organisational benefits.”

Simon Carey – Deputy Director, Technology & Innovation