‘Virtual robots’ lend a helping hand with care home COVID testing

Bupa II

A ‘digital team’ of robots has helped relieve pressure on staff and keep people safe at Bupa’s care homes.

The 20 ‘virtual robots’ help instantly process COVID-19 tests results by sending a notification to an individual’s care home and completing the required governance reporting.

Neil Barker, Finance Director for Bupa Care Services, said: “We know the immense pressure that has been on our teams throughout the pandemic and have looked for ways to relieve this.

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“The robots have had a huge impact. They have automated an admin-heavy process and freed up time for colleagues to care for residents, which is most needed.

“It’s also given us a really clear, accurate picture of case numbers, both on a local home and national level, allowing us to act quickly in keeping everyone safe.”

Since their introduction in December 2020 the robots have processed responses to over 160,000 individual COVID-19 tests. At its peak, this saved colleagues around 2,500 hours of admin – equivalent to 15-20 colleagues working full time.

The process was led by Bupa’s in-house robotics team, which worked closely with the company’s Care Services business, as well as intelligent automation specialist, Blue Prism.

Bupa currently operates over twenty virtual robots with five of these operating 24/7 to support the care homes’ business. Three monitor and triage thousands of incoming test results, before handing-off positive results to separate robots to send SMS notifications to staff and complete governance reporting.

Nigel Green, Head of Service Management for Bupa Global & UK, leads Bupa’s robotic process automation practice and has overseen its increased use across the organisation.

He said: “We successfully use robotics across a number of areas across Bupa. Whilst it’s typically for things like finance and admin processing, it’s been great for the team to see the difference they’re making to people on the front lines of care.

“It’s been a really collaborative process with colleagues working together across the business, from robotics and technology specialists through to the frontline teams in our care homes. I’m so pleased to see it having such a tangible impact.”

Tags : Best practiceBupaCoronavirusInnovationRobotstesting

The author Lee Peart

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