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RPA Strategy for Healthcare

The NHS is creating impactful strategies with RPA ato improve patient outcomes

Read this strategy guide if you work in  NHS organisation, and want guidance on creating an impactful RPA strategy that delivers

By following this strategy guide, you will have everything everything you need to improve productivity, staff morale, and, most importantly, patient outcomes with RPA.

By the end of the guide, you will know: 


  • Step-by-step, how to build an RPA strategy that works
  • How to measure your automation strategy and see if it’s working
  • How to win stakeholder buy-in for RPA and build an automation-friendly 
  • How other other NHS organisations are applying RPA

What is Robotic Process Automation (RPA)?

Quick recap:

RPA is a type of automation technology that can mimic the same interactions a human has with a computer.

With it, anyone can record the steps they follow to complete a work process once, then have a virtual worker follow those same steps and take care of that process for them.

Some of the main benefits are:

  • Speed and accuracy:  RPA 'bots' can help people perform tasks much faster, and with zero errors
  • Increased productivity:  Get more done with the same working hours and number of staff
  • Increased colleague morale:  Automate tasks that workers don’t enjoy and free them to focus on the ones they do
  • Integrate people and processes:  Look at how work is being done and improve effeciency by removing silos
  • Increased compliance:  Bots can be fully tracked and audited

Automation in the NHS - Common Challenges


A 2020 NHS survey on the use of RPA grouped respondents into four categories:

Not considering automation
Like the name implies, these reported no interest in automation technologies as part of any upcoming strategy.

These reported an interest in RPA, and have plans to implement it within the next two years.

These are currently experimenting with RPA for the first time, and are either in the planning or proof of concept stage of their RPA strategy (don't worry, we'll cover the different stages in more detail later).

These already have automated processes in place, and are actively exploring other ways that automation can improve productivity and patient experience.

What’s interesting is that all organisations, regardless of RPA maturity level, reported that they’d struggled with the same common problems: 

  • Lack of guidance around benefit realisation, and building a framework to
    measure the impact of RPA once deployed
  • Limited diversity within governance teams, making strategic and impactful
    deployment of RPA difficult
  • Difficulty finding automation success stories from other NHS organisations to inspire their strategy

Addressing those challenges with effective strategy

If you’re reading this automation strategy guide, likely recognise the potential benefits that RPA could offer your organisation already.

At this point, your challenge is likely to convince others of the same.

Automation technologies like RPA aren’t new, but they’re not common yet either.  Innovators must be able to evidence value quickly to win over stakeholders, and effective strategy is the key to doing that successfully.

We will show you how to make sure your first RPA implementation strategy has best possible odds of success by showing you: 

  • How to measure the impact of your RPA strategy
  • How to get internal stakeholders on board early
  • How to get the most out of RPA

After a quick case study, we’ll get started with Planning - what to prepare and who to get involved in your RPA project first.

“Automating the collection and sharing of this data has given valuable hours back and increased confidence that we can offer the best level of patient care.” 

- Hugo Matias, CIO for Northampton General Hospital

Northampton General Hospital

Recently, we helped Northampton General Hospital (NGH) to win back time for patient care by automating a time-consuming manual task.  NGH has two large oxygen tanks which supply ventilation machines, and the hospital assigns  patients to different wards based on maintaining an equal distribution of that oxygen.

Unfortunately, monitoring oxygen tanks has always been a manual process. Frontline healthcare workers must log into relevant systems and collect a reading from the tanks once per hour, every day.

We worked with NGH to develop a detailed project proposal to take to our partners, Automation Anywhere. Just 12 hours after the project started, Automation Anywhere had built a bot that automated the hospitals entire oxygen monitoring process.


|  Preparation

Build your team

Whether you have a dedicated team to support your RPA strategy or colleagues that can only contribute a few hours each week, you should start your strategy by ‘recruiting’ two colleagues for the following roles in your strategy team:

1.  An RPA sponsor:  This is the senior level champion for RPA within your organisation.  This person can help secure buy-in from other
senior stakeholders for important decisions, and have budgeting influence.

2.  An RPA evangelist:  This is your project lead, and the person responsible for driving the project forward (likely the person reading this strategy guide).  Another important task they have is to speak with other teams in your organisation and identify processes for automation.


'Scout' governance team candidates with a workshop

Next, start your automation strategy on the right foot by assessing organisational fit, appetite and readiness for RPA. The best way to do this is by hosting an internal workshop with potential candidates of your RPA strategy governance team.

Depending on the resources you have available, your workshop can be led by a specialist RPA vendor like boxxe, or by your project lead.  Either way, you want to make sure that you have someone in the room with RPA expertise to help guide the conversation.



To help develop your own automation expertise ahead of this workshop, use Automation Anywhere's extensive library of free digital RPA training courses

We recommend that representatives from these departments get an invite:

  • Human Resources:  Keep your community and colleagues at the heart of your plans by working with HR from the start. This partnership will help you address common automation concerns, and communicate the value of RPA across the organisation

  • Communications:  A common misconception around automation is that it’s a gateway to job loss, and not simply a tool for getting more done. Bring your communications team into conversations early to help them understand and communicate these benefits to your colleagues

  • IT/Project Manager:  RPA is most valuable when it works across a number of different programs and systems. It’ll be a huge help if you have someone in the room who understands the systems a ‘virtual worker’ might need to work with to help build your RPA implementation model (i.e.  the process of deploying RPA out into operations)

  • A rep from another company that is using RPA successfully (optional extra):  A growing number of offices are using RPA successfully, consider asking if a colleague at one could join your workshop virtually and offer guidance.

“One of the many benefits of RPA is it is completely limitless in terms of the applications it can work with and access - this breaks down barriers and allows us to think more creatively about the way we work.” 

- Neil Picton, Head of Workforce Engagement and Information

Newcastle Hospitals

Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust recognised that time-consuming admin and systems maintainance was taking valuable time that could 
better be spent on patient care.

Seeing the value of RPA as a solution, Newcastle Hospitals used a Center of Excellence model to get staff involved in its implementation.  By upskilling them as bot creators and using their insight to really get to the heart of their work processes, Newcastle Hospitals were able to accelerate progress and increase job satisfaction for those involved. 

Starting with their HR processes, the hospital has already achieved a 95% decrease in data input time and saved 4,000 of staff time annually

What to prepare ahead of your workshop

A 5-10 minute presentation to introduce RPA

Start by defining RPA, talking through relevant case studies, and introducing the aims of the workshop.

Workshop objectives

Clearly state what you hope to achieve by the end of the session.  This can be as simple as getting answers to questions like: 

  • Could automation benefit our workplace?
  • Are there any specific processes that could be automated?
  • Are there areas of our organisation where staff are stretched and automation could help?

An elevator pitch

What would you say to a senior manager, customer or colleague if you had just a few minutes to win them over to RPA?  Drive your opening presentation home with a concise pitch about what you hope RPA can help your organisation to achieve.  (Don’t be afraid to set ambitious targets and inspire those around you.)

(Optional extra)  Run an internal survey ahead of your meeting

What’s the easiest way to communicate the value of automation?  Evidence a clear problem for it to solve.  Ahead of your workshop, consider emailing a short survey to colleagues across your organisation and asking questions like:
  • Do you feel like any parts of your work could be more efficient?
  • Do you feel like your department has any inefficient processes?
  • Do you believe that you could contribute more value to your workplace if less of your
    time was spent on administrative tasks?
There are free platforms which you can use to do this, like Survey Monkey and Microsoft Forms.  Bring the results with you and use them to help build your case for RPA.


|  Planning

Choose a process to automate first

The best processes to start automating carry high organisational value. Avoid low-risk/low-reward examples which will make it tough to make your business case for RPA later.  Example processes you could automate are:

  • Patient onboarding

    Create a bot to check whether new patients have entered all required information when registering for a service, and send automatic flags to staff when information is missing. 

  • Billing and statement

    Automate payment requests, correcting overcharges and supplier payment.

  • Payroll

    RPA bots can verify data, validate time records, and automate paychecks with 100% accuracy. 

    To helpl we've created a checklist to help you find out whether RPA is a good fit for your chose process.  The our 
    Automation Checklist

Define success with SMART objectives

Before implementing RPA, set clear objectives that clearly define what success looks like, and you’ll achieve it.  An easy framework for drafting these is SMART.  A SMART objective is:

  • Specific:  Try not to create a more generic strategy statement like ‘we will make 
    customer invoicing faster’.

    Instead, be specific about the aspects or areas of your service that you aim to 
    improve with RPA.  This will stop project drift and make it easier to choose KPIs for 
    measuring success.  Speaking of …

  • Measurable:  Set a numerical goal for your automation strategy where possible.  It should be time-specific, measurable, and define the staff/customers that will be impacted.  This will help you avoid scope creep and monitor progress while your strategy is ongoing.

  • Achievable:  If you’re unsure about the potential of automation, work with your vendor to understand the technology and set realistic targets in the timescale you have.

  • Relevant:  You should link your automation strategy to service outcomes or costsaving in a way that demonstrates clear value to stakeholders.  This is where your RPA sponsor will come in handy, getting steer from a senior member of staff will help your automation strategy secure buy-in from other parts of the organisation.

  • Timely:  Set a clear time-frame for when the objectives of your automation strategy should be achieved. 


Reduce administrative time spent measuring oxygen tank levels in patient wards by 60% before 30 June 2023.

Test with Proof of Concept

RPA is already a proven technology, but can it solve your organisational needs?  A Proof of Concept (PoC) will put your business case assumptions to the test, validate your implementation model and help you to understand how your colleagues in the operation react to RPA.

A PoC project is a little tricky to advise on in a general sense, so instead we’ll offer two useful tips to help get you started:

Tip #1:  If you don’t want to test RPA on a patient-facing process, we recommend
starting with a smaller, less risky process in departments like billing and statements or payroll.

Tip #2:  Any roll-out of automation, whether it’s a PoC or full deployment, requires that
the affected staff receive effective training in advance.

Whether you use a vendor to run a ‘train-the-trainer’ approach or you encourage everyone 
to make full use of free online courses, a digital transformation like this requires on-going training and development to be successful.

Need advice?  Arrange a free call with a boxxe Automation Specialist for advice on running an RPA Proof of Concept project in the NHS.

|  Deployment

Use what you’ve learned in a (hopefully) successful PoC, and move onto a full deployment.  If you’ve followed the steps before, by now you’ll have: 

  • An effective governance team and support system in place to enable an
    effective RPA deployment
  • Contacts in Human Resources and Communications to help you create
    an automation-friendly culture in the workplace
  • A chosen process, or set of processes, that you plan to automate
  • Clear criteria for measuring success in your RPA implementation strategy
If you’re using a vendor then they’ll be on hand to support, but otherwise you’re ready to start automating and benefiting from increased efficiency, better professional outcomes and increased staff satisfaction.

Our Automation Experts are on hand to support you at any point in your strategy, and we offer a free RPA Discovery Workshop to help start your automation journey.  Find more information about automation or complete the form below to arrange your FREE workshop now.

|   About boxxe


Our expertise in enabling fast, effective digital transformation has been proven over the past 30 years.

Our 5 areas of delivery, (Hybrid Cloud, Modern Workplace, Cybersecurity, Software Licensing & Services, and Hardware Services), form an integrated whole that can secure the future of corporate services.

You can read more about how these 5 elements work together and what we do.


RPA Strategy Guide for Healthcare: Read the Guide and interested in RPA for NHS organisations?

Start your digital transformation by booking a FREE RPA Discovery Workshop with a boxxe Automation Specialist.  Simply call us on the number below or complete the form to get in touch today.

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