A large European hospital accelerates its focus on patient-centric care by taking paperwork out of processes using the FlowForma Process Automation tool, to meet clinician needs.
The Pain Points:
The Next Steps:
The hospital will continue to use FlowForma Process Automation to replace paper-based processes and advance the hospital’s digital transformation journey.
An iconic European healthcare institution, home to pioneering treatments and a progressive approach to patient care. With thousands of staff and nearly 1,000 beds, it’s on the frontline of services, providing emergency and acute care services across over 50 medical specialities.
Like many state-funded hospitals, the challenge is maintaining the highest standards of clinical care within financial constraints. For the IT team, the goal is to better enable ‘white coats’ – clinicians, nurses, doctors – and help them do their jobs more efficiently. A crucial part of this is replacing inefficient paper-based processes. Forms generated at the point of patient care in one part of the hospital, need to be accessed by administration in another. Like any manual process there is the risk of errors or paper getting lost.
“You have better outcomes when clinicians have access to digital data and are not running around looking for bits of paper to treat patients. That’s our driver,” said the Head of IT. “In the next 10 years we’ll be looking to digitize as much as we can.”
Passionate about digital transformation but restricted by funding, IT has to find ways to work around ageing IT systems that are too expensive to replace. FlowForma Process Automation was a perfect fit for what IT needed, a way to integrate new digital processes into legacy systems.
The IT team has found a way to digitize processes and improve patient care, by using the FlowForma Process Automation tool to span multiple IT systems. Sitting on the hospital’s Microsoft SharePoint platform – already used extensively by administrators and clinical staff – it has been instrumental in facilitating new ways of working.
FlowForma Process Automation has been all about ‘doing more with less’, using the no-code application to speed up processes without having to invest in complex system upgrades. A by-product of the new workflows is clinicians being able to access clinical data, in as close to real time as possible within the current architectural constraints.
No system or process gets approved without the adoption of users. In the past, IT staff would come up with an idea and develop something that wouldn’t get used. Now, a small team of FlowForma Process Automation trained staff who know the business intimately are responsible for digitizing the processes.
The Head of IT has enough experience of IT projects to know that ‘buy-in’ from stakeholders is key, in this case the doctors and nurses that use the FlowForma Process Automation tool every day. With this in mind, the IT department hosts monthly meetings with healthcare teams and listen to their needs. They return a month later with an idea for a solution. “We build systems based on what they tell us, not on what we think they need,” said the Head of IT.
The business side of the hospital is also kept in the loop because processes have to span the front and back office of the hospital, mirroring patient journeys. To date, numerous forms have been launched across 14 different IT systems, ranging from clinical flows at the point of patient contact to around 20 back office forms for HR.
FlowForma Process Automation’s integration into existing systems was designed to be as seamless as possible. Doctors now have the option of an e-Form button on their screen that automatically launches five types of forms, including Waiting Lists, which provides patient referral details in advance of their admission, and Theatre Notes, filled in by doctors immediately after surgery. All the forms start with fields pre-populated with patient details, brought in from other systems.
The hospital has taken significant steps on its mission to digitize processes that allow clinicians to focus more on patient care. The Head of IT has used the FlowForma Process Automation tool to simplify form-filling around recurring medical tasks, bringing a new efficiency that is widely appreciated by healthcare staff, particularly those on the frontline.
The electronic forms are easier for clinicians to fill out, freeing them up to spend more time with patients. The Head of IT praises FlowForma Process Automation for ease of use, for “simple interaction” and being “crisp and attractive” in its design. “It has to be a great user experience,” said the Head of IT.
The time saved and efficiencies gained have been enormous. The Waiting List process takes around 30 seconds for the doctor to fill it in and send to admissions – no more cards or paper trails – with a PDF summary sheet stored digitally against the patient’s record.
Theatre Notes is used for filling in procedure details, such as the name of surgeon, assistant, and anaesthetist, along with the theatre where it took place and details of the operation. By the time the patient returns to the ward all the information has been forwarded to the nurses who know exactly what needs to be done. “The whole process typically takes around two minutes with a PDF made available in the document repository,” said the Head of IT.
FlowForma Process Automation’s no code development has given the hospital a more agile approach, traversing legacy systems and replacing manual processes in the service of patient care. “There is a huge amount of paper in every hospital and electronic processes won’t replace everything in the short term, but we’re chipping away at it,” said the Head of IT. The results have often been spectacular.
The Head of IT talks in terms of a 10-year digitization process of incremental improvement, not just replacement. “You don’t put new IT on top of a bad process; you want to improve the process at the same time. It’s been really positive and we’ve had lots of positive feedback from doctors, “ said the Head of IT. “We know it’s something that’s used and will make a difference.”
‘‘You have better outcomes when clinicians have access to digital data and are not running around looking for bits of paper to treat patients. That’s our driver."
“There is a huge amount of paper in every hospital and electronic processes won’t replace everything in the short term, but we’re chipping away at it.”