Providing NHS staff with smartcards to access NHS Spine information systems relies on a robust approach to identity checks and access profiles, overseen by Registration Authorities.
Arden & GEM’s IT service worked with a Registration Authority team to capture their current workflows in a process flow diagram which was then used to develop robotic automation of monthly reporting activities. The Registration Authority now has a more efficient way of undertaking reporting to ensure compliance, which has also released time savings of 450 hours per year.
Within the NHS, over 800,000 users have smartcards which give them secure and auditable access to NHS Spine information systems such as local health records. Dedicated Registration Authority functions are responsible for carrying out identity checks on prospective smartcard users and ensuring they have the appropriate access profile assigned to them. The Registration Authority (RA) team at Arden & GEM carries out these tasks for clients in 19 systems working across primary, community and secondary care as well as commissioning.
To demonstrate performance, contract compliance and robust auditing processes, the RA gathered over 300 reports at the start of each month from the Care Identity Service (CIS) online portal. While the report request and generation process was straightforward, the volume of reports involved and the need to filter and create combined outputs meant that this task was taking the team several days to complete each month.
With experience of successfully creating bespoke robotic process automation (RPA) solutions for a range of different reporting scenarios, Arden & GEM’s IT service was tasked with developing a new, more efficient, automated process.
Our RPA experts worked in partnership with the RA to outline the process including:
- Start to finish steps
- Weblinks used
- Locations of files
- Naming conventions for files and folders
- Error corrections along the way if needed
- Accesses required (SharePoint and SBS).
This information enabled us to build a process flow diagram which comprised the following stages and was agreed with the client before any development work began.
- Downloading the files from the portal – working through report names to identify the right organisations
- Organising the files into the necessary folder structure
- Filtering documents by the current month to create a new master file
- Compiling a list of incomplete reports and reasons why
- Emailing an agreed target recipient to notify them the process is complete.
This process flow diagram underpinned the coding undertaken to build a software robot to execute each of the five stages.
As a result of creating and implementing the new automated process, the RA has:
- A more efficient way of downloading, combining and storing reports
- A robust store of information for KPI, SLA, auditing and compliance purposes
- Realised time savings equivalent 450 hours per year or one week’s worth of work per month
- Released staff to work on more value adding tasks.
"The monthly reporting we undertake was proving very time-consuming but is absolutely critical in ensuring we are delivering a robust and effective service that achieves the performance levels and indicators agreed with our clients.
The RPA team worked with us to fully understand both our needs and current processes before developing a solution. By using the robot, we have been able to save a week’s worth of hours each month; time which is now spent on providing a faster and more efficient service to our customers."
Vaughan Ireson, Head of Registration Authority at NHS Arden & GEM CSU