Primary Care News

Primary care automation pilots announced

A series of health tech projects have been announced through the London Digital First Primary Care Automation Grant programme.

Announced by the Health Innovation Network, and supported by NHS England, each project will receive up to £65,000 to pilot automation solutions that support primary care.

11 projects are to receive funding, with projects ranging from technology to establish automation of online registration into the primary care clinical system, to automation for workforce rota management, to building on the EMIS e-safety netting template to track the outcome of important cancer documents via the Health Information Exchange.

The programme focuses on automation technology, where the design and implementation of solutions has minimal human involvement, focusing on high-volume, repetitive tasks.

Health Innovation Network said: “Grant applications were assessed upon the scope, scale, impact, sustainability, and opportunities for spread and adoption of their projects. Pilots will be monitored against agreed metrics over the next 12 months, before being evaluated.”

Matt Nye, Director, London Digital First Programme, added: “The grants programme provides a unique opportunity for us to pilot a variety of innovative automation solutions that can transform the way practices manage their workload. We hope that through this work patient care and staff morale will be improved by automated processes freeing up both clinical and administrative staff from some of the most time consuming and repetitive tasks they currently undertake.”

The projects include:

Dr Lucy Goodeve-Docker, Lambeth Digital Lead, Lambeth Healthcare Federation South East London

Lambeth Healthcare Federation are using Healthtech-1 automation technology to establish full automation of online registration into the clinical system (EMIS). It aims to “automate online patient registrations to allow patients to register within minutes, remove user data errors, reduce administrative data input time, allow accurate demographic collection, and ensure households are appropriately aligned to support safeguarding principles”.

Lucy McLaughlin, Cancer Recovery Program Lead for North Central London (NCL), North Central London ICB – Performance & Transformation Directorate

NCL plan to improve patient appointment non-attendance for cervical screening in Islington by using a SPRYTs AI-powered virtual receptionist named Asa, which interacts with patients via WhatsApp and email.

Dr Nisha Patel, GP Partner and Trainer, Nightingale Practice in City and Hackney and City and Hackney GP Confederation Clinical Lead

The Nightingale Practice is working with Edenbridge (APEX), to automate workforce rota management, predict patient demand and workforce requirements, highlighting surplus and deficit staffing levels. It applies “rules” around capacity requirements and leave-booking.

Dr Sian Knight, Executive Partner, Modality Medical Services, Lewisham, SEL

Modality Medical Services are working with their in-house Robotic Process Automation Team to automate pathology results filing, specifically the automation of bowel cancer screening results. A bot will file ‘normal’ bowel cancer results, automatically send an SMS to patients with normal BCS results (with guidance on when to contact the GP) and communicate with patients that have been identified as not having participated in the BCS.

Dr Raza Toosy, lead GP, Sutton IT Solutions, and Jagdish Kumar, Head of New Business for Sutton PCNs

The Park Road Medical Centre are working with PatientChase to improve long term condition management and risk stratification in Sutton, Wallington, Cheam, and Carshalton.

Dr Robbie Howell, Clinical IT Lead; and Anastasia Remos, Asthma WAF Project Lead for N1 PCN & Islington GP Federation, NCL

North 1 PCN & Islington GP Federation will be using GP Automate’s Robotic Process Automation functionality to automate processes for clinical and admin staff through 5 automated products: Lab Reports, New Patient Registration, Accurx Asthma Floreys, Accurx BP Floreys and Accurx Diabetes pre-appointment questionnaires.

Dr Joanna Yong, GP Partner at St Andrews Medical Practice, Barnet PCN 2, NCL

Barnet PCN 2 is using Blue Prism’s cloud-based intelligent software to automate the clinical document workflow process. A bot will determine: no action; coding only, identify specific documents which are coded and go to an allocated team member for a decision; and further action for low risk pathways such as smear results, appointment letters and follow-ups eg breast screening mammogram results and long term conditions. 

Dr Kiran Nakrani, NCL GP Website Clinical Lead, Barnet PCN 2, NCL

This automation project builds on the EMIS e-safety netting template which aims to track the outcome of important cancer documents via the Health Information Exchange (HIE) Cerner portal for patients referred via the two-week target pathway. A bot will mimic current process of identifying the clinical letter; filtering it into the correct process for DNA vs Clinician Workflow; identifying the outcome of the target referral as either DNA or patient contact made by secondary care; and advising the referring clinician on next steps.

Dr Rob Seal, GP at Lavender Hill Group Practice and joint Clinical Director at Battersea PCN; and Dr Soleman Begg, GP at St John’s Hill Surgery, Wandsworth PCN and Battersea PCN, SWL

Wandsworth PCN and Battersea PCN are working with JiffJaff and Automation Anywhere to automate high volume and repetitive tasks that can be clinically significant.

Dr Manotheethan Jegasothy, GP in Kingston and Richmond; and Dr Soleman Begg, GP at St John’s Hill Surgery, Chessington and Surbiton PCN

Chessington and Surbiton PCNs are working with JiffJaff and Automation Anywhere to automate the filing of ‘normal’ pathology results.

Dr Jwala Gupta, Clinical Director, Havering North PCN; Dr Gurmeet Singh, Clinical Director, Havering North PCN; Dr Pratheep Sunthara-Moorthy, Co-Founder of Care IQ

Havering North Network will be using the CareIQ proprietary automation engine to provide automated recall of patients with hypertension, diabetes and atrial fibrillation.