Client: CENTRAL DENMARK REGION Region: Europe Industry: Public sector

RPA helps little things make a huge difference for CDR

Digital transformation is about more than replacing paper. RPA helps administrators and clinicians see how they can improve their work and get more from their processes.

CDR is responsible for managing all the hospital and medical facilities within the region. It’s committed to providing the highest standards of service and care to its citizens. For the Customer and Support department, this translates to quickly delivering effective solutions to hospital administrators and clinicians that help them better serve their customers. Working with UiPath, automation is empowering hospitals and medical staff to rethink and improve their daily processes.

When asked about RPA,Børge Knudsen, Head of the Customer and Support department at CDR jokes that it allows them to create ’quick and dirty’ solutions but he’s quick to clarify that it has enabled the county to do ‘small things that have a great effect’. He points to one process within the pharmacy department where a task that used to take over 1 million keystrokes p.a. now takes 40,000 to complete.

Børge Knudsen
Børge Knudsen, Head of the Customer and Support Department

That one robot has reduced someone’s work by a factor of 50. It really showed the power of RPA to help achieve our digitization strategy – not just to us but to our customers in the hospitals. It showed we could deliver the agility and efficiency that they need.

Børge KnudsenHead of the Customer and Support Department

Since beginning RPA in 2019, CDR has been able to automate almost 80 processes across its hospitals. In 2020 alone, robots were able to handle over 85,000 tasks, which brought back more than 50,000 hours into the business.

Time back to the business means we can do current process more efficiently as well as address tasks that we simply didn’t have to resource previously. But the real benefit to this is the work satisfaction and wellbeing we can bring to our staff. They feel less pressured and more able to provide better service.

Børge KnudsenHead of the Customer and Support Department

An example of this is an automation within the orders of blood at the Intensive Care Unit, where the robot ensure that all relevant data is entered to the correct programs, ex. to order a porter, and other programs. That unifies the way to do it, and make it easier, because the data always come in the same way. It streamlines the process, reduces the work pressure and also increases quality and patient safety.

RPA. Fulfilling the promise of digital transformation

One key goal of the CDR´s digitization strategy was to get closer to their internal customers to better address their requirements. This involved two elements: First, Børge and his team needed a solution that could deliver solutions quickly meeting the local needs of each individual hospital. Secondly, they needed staff to understand the purpose of digital transformation, engage and take ownership.

RPA proved an ideal technology to address both elements.

We quickly learned that we could speed the delivery of new automations with RPA. With traditional development the system could take 24 months to arrive. Now we could have a new automate within 10 working days from concept to production. Our customers were really happy at the speed we could work.

Børge KnudsenHead of the Customer and Support Department

Using RPA, CDR could redefine how they improved processes for their customers. Previously the Development division would create deep integration with back-end systems that although providing excellent results was could be slow and costly. By focusing on the front-end, RPA was able to deliver a good deal of the functionality in a very agile manner.

That’s why I call RPA ‘quick and dirty’. It has meant that we can deliver to our customers in a way that we would not have achieved through traditional approaches. In the region we have around 1400 applications so there’s no way we could have used deep integration alone to meet the goals of our digitization strategy.

Børge KnudsenHead of the Customer and Support Department

He does, however, feel that the agility and proven record to deliver has shown an unexpected benefit for RPA. One part of the CDR digitization was to help build the digital competencies of all staff. By experiencing how robots are helping them in their daily work, RPA is giving administrator and clinicians a much greater appreciation of digital transformation.

You can talk about digitization and it’s a bit fluffy. Then people get to see what RPA can do and they understand more about what can be achieved. What we’ve seen is staff are beginning to look at their processes and ask how they’d like to see them improved. It’s how we build our pipeline. The hospitals control their own automations. If staff think there’s value in the robot then we’ll make it happen.

Børge KnudsenHead of the Customer and Support Department

This philosophy of local control is key to the automation program at CDR and the organization has very carefully constructed an infrastructure to make it happen.

Central management, local development

From the very beginning, CDR understood that the organizational, legal and user access components were every bit as important as the technical side of an automation program. The organization spent 12 months creating the correct structures to ensure that they had an effective process to bring new automations into production.

A key part of this automation infrastructure was a close integration between UiPath software and the municipality’s ServiceNow service desk and it’s configuration management databases. In fact, managers can now request a new automation - or changes to an existing automation – through ServiceNow in exactly the same way as they would request a new or temporary member of staff. The automatic process for approving the new appointment and assigning rights to the digital colleague is identical.

This tight integration has enabled core part of the success of automation program: the reusability of code. Code is stored in libraries and templates that allow for code snippets to be simply dragged and dropped to speed the development on new robots. It has meant that new robots can be quickly developed to meet similar needs in different hospitals and new variants of an existing robot are easy to create. And, that is very important.

In 2020, CDR established a Centre of Excellence that provides management and control for the automation program while the organization accelerated its activities to create a community of RPA developers within the hospitals. Today, there are around 50 developers spread amongst the hospitals.

The community is responsible for developing automations for their hospital as well as working together to build the pipeline and ensure that the maximum reuse of robots across hospitals. UiPath software has proven ideal for this local development approach.

We chose UiPath as it proved to be extremely easy for people who weren’t developers to understand. Not only did this allows us to begin to develop our community of local developers but it also meant that we could look at how we could best deliver automations out to the people who use and benefit from them.

Børge KnudsenHead of the Customer and Support Department

Today we have a 30,000 user license, which I think is the biggest in Europe. UiPath talks about a robot for every person and I think that we have a very similar idea. We want to make it easy for a member of staff to have an automation that will help them personally. This doesn’t involve new automations every time, only small adjustments to fit with how the person works. For example, there are around 1000 doctor’s assistants in the region, say, each one is doing a similar job but each has their own personal way. We can quickly amend the robot for every individual.

Børge KnudsenHead of the Customer and Support Department

Key Benefits

 

  • 85,000tasks handled by robots in 2020 saving 50,000 hours
  • ~80 automated in 24 months
  • 50RPA devs trained and active in hospitals
  • 10working days to deliver new automations
  • x50pharmacy administration tasks accelerated
  • RPAintegrated with service desk and configuration management to facilitate effective scaling and operations of automations

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