South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Keeping pace with NIVS: Trust utilises RPA in national COVID-19 vaccination reporting

 

Delivering over 230 services to more than 50,000 patients across Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, and Croydon every year, it was crucial South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLAM) rapidly vaccinated its staff and key workers at the height of the pandemic. In order to ensure thousands of COVID-19 vaccinations were uploaded into the National Immunisation and Vaccination System (NIVS) correctly, the Trust implemented use of robotic process automation (RPA) to significantly cut administrative burdens and human error.

The challenge

As COVID-19 vaccinations became available for NHS staff and key workers, the Trust introduced its bespoke MyVaccine system to collect booking and administration data and streamline its vaccination appointments. This information also was required for NIVS and needed to be uploaded before 10pm each day. At the height of the pandemic, the Trust was vaccinating around 350 people per day, with appointments running as late as 7pm, seven days a week – making the 10pm deadline almost impossible to meet.  

With only a small administration team on hand to complete this high-volume task, the Trust also relied on volunteered support from other departments to cope with such a substantial workload. As the process remained manual, and with many volunteers new to the NIVS system, the Trust were susceptible to human error, and therefore poor data quality throughout the vaccination programme.

This caused a large backlog of entries yet to be uploaded or requiring amends, due to incorrect names or date of birth formatting. As a number of variables are matched with existing GP records during the NIVS verification process, incorrect data captured within MyVaccine fails to upload. In this event, recipients must be contacted for requested updates, increasing admin overheads even further.

The solution

To ensure the timely and accurate upload of vaccination data into NIVS, SLAM sought to implement a digital solution that would integrate seamlessly with its existing MyVaccine system. To meet these requirements, and significantly reduce the need for human intervention throughout the process, the Trust launched its NIVS automation project with the use of NDL’s RPA platform.

Completed by a digital workforce of bots, the uploading process was triggered automatically as soon as information was received from MyVaccine. Emulating the manual input process, bots extracted target information and entered it into the correct NIVS fields, before confirming pre-screening information and successfully submitting the vaccination entry.

Any data that failed to match criteria within the NIVS system was then sent to the administration team within regular reports, allowing the team to contact vaccination recipients for updated information more efficiently. However, if all fields matched correctly, no further actions were required – completely relieving administrative demand.

The benefits

This automation project was able to relieve a massive workload within the Trust, allowing it to remain compliant and efficient during times of crisis. Saving approximately two minutes per entry, SLAM estimated time savings of up to 20 hours per day during its busiest COVID-19 vaccination period – and its backlog of around 18,000 entries was uploaded in just 3 hours.

With such notable improvements in efficiency, the Trust was then able to quickly apply the process to a number of other vaccinations – including the uploading of patient vaccinations, flu vaccinations, and COVID-19 booster vaccinations. The Trust also observed a number of additional benefits, such as:

  • Administrative relief for NHS staff during the pandemic’s height
  • Improved staff & patient experience
  • Improvements in national vaccination reporting
  • Better allocation of administrative resources
  • Improved data practices and accuracy

These records were a huge burden on the very small team we did have, resulting in working us 12-hour days. Since using RPA, the pressure on the small vaccination team is much less. We are able to report accurately, this really helped the Trust during VCOD (vaccination as a condition of deployment) as our records were up to date so we knew who was fully, partially or not vaccinated at all.

NDL have been fantastic to work with and had developed processes quickly where there have been national changes and changes to the NIVS system. NDL have adapted the bot to upload not only the first and second doses but also the boosters and flu vaccination. Since January 2021 we have administered to staff; 5767 first doses, 5084 second dose, 2637 boosters and 1875 flu vaccines. The majority of these have been automatically uploaded and the records that we have to upload are minimal which is amazing!” - Jill Tedder, Business Operations Lead

What’s next?

As the Trust continues to apply its NIVS automation process to continuing flu and COVID-19 booster vaccinations, it also plans to undertake several new integration and administration projects across the breadth of its services. To learn more about automation, and how your organisation could benefit from RPA, get in touch with a member of the team or join us at one of our forthcoming events. For more public sector digital transformation examples, get inspired with our other Success Stories.

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“Throughout working alongside NDL on projects for SLaM I have been impressed.  Professional, friendly, and responsive in delivering solutions on time that meet the requirements, with tangible value.” 

Garry Moriarty, Clinical Systems Manager