Like many data-rich applications, it takes human intervention to log in, navigate the system, run reports, download the data and format it into a file that can be processed.
This human process may only take 10 mins a day, but the time consumed becomes relevant when replicated across hundreds of reports on many different systems. Not only that, data extraction tends to happen infrequently and rarely at weekends.
Attend Anywhere is a web-based video conferencing tool that provides online consultations to patients and service users through virtual clinical known as waiting rooms. The web application has reporting on system use, which patients have been contacted, call length and other helpful information which, when ingested into a data warehouse, is incredibly powerful.
I’ve been told so many times, “we have a real-time dashboard” - in reality, this means data is refreshed once every 24 hours, Monday to Friday - not helpful when taking proactive decisions to avoid blockers in patient flows.
So how can automation help?
Bots are incredible at repetitive tasks, and they run 24x7 and allow organisations to extract data in a more timely manner and make the output more relevant.
In this case study, one of the hundreds of data extraction bots, the automation logs into the NHS Attend Anywhere application, navigates to the reporting page and enters a date range to run a report before downloading the output as a CSV file.
Even what seems trivial automation can come with complications.
In this example, the bot needs to enter a date range from the previous Monday to the previous Sunday. Of course, this simple logic has different nuances depending on which day to the week the process runs. Puzzle on that for a moment!
Entering the data range is not a case of simply typing the date into the field. There is a need to click on the values in the drop-down grid, which needs to use dynamic elements through the Application Modeller (Blue Prism Cloud)
Once the CSV file is downloaded, the bot will open it and manipulate the data and the format to ensure it is suitable for uploading to the data warehouse.
At The Royal Free London, our team have written vast reporting engines for our customers, some downloading over 100 reports a day from multiple systems. The design is light touch as the customer may update a configuration file denoting which reports need to run, the selection criteria and the frequency.
If you are reading this and want to help to automate your reporting, get in touch!