Adopting automation in healthcare setting is great, but when citizen developers are allowed to champion their own workplace solutions, magic happens.

How does one of the world’s largest healthcare networks (running 83 hospitals in 10 countries) solve a situation where staff are working with over 100 legacy systems behind the scenes?

Use automation and health technology, of course.

In the IHH Healthcare operations in Singapore, the automation journey began in 2017, when an audit highlighted an issue arising from the many legacy systems: each time an employee left the company, someone had to manually check and remove all the accounts of that employee.

With so many, there were bound to be a few that were missed. To resolve this problem, the company turned to automation. Harry Chan, Assistant Vice President, Information Technology at the firm recalled: “After implementing the first automation process, we realized its value and how much it improved productivity. We then actively looked into other areas that had potential for automation.”

Chan found that automation requires investments in a dedicated support and maintenance team to keep automated processes running smoothly. This lesson has paid off. Six years on, the firm is reaping the rewards.

Facilitating smooth operations 24/7

Automation enables some services to be available 24/7 instead of only during office hours, when they would be completed manually. Also paperwork requests and approvals are processed by a chatbot 24/7. Even previously impossible tasks, such as checking for dead links on thecompany’s huge website, are now done effortlessly with intelligent software.

With each new automation implementation, employee satisfaction improves because the time at work feels more productive. But the sheer number of departments and different use cases makes it difficult for the company to know what to focus on. Therefore, the firm organized a citizen developer “Botathon” in Nov 2022, to encourage staff to take a stake in developing their own work solutions. Thereafter, one winning project now saves the firm approximately S$700,000 a year, and it is projected to double the scale in future.

The Botathon was such a success that employees were eager to continue working with the champions in their respective departments to implement automation processes that can improve their workflow. They can also submit their suggestions to the Automation Hub, a workspace provided by UiPath — the firm’s automation provider and Botathon partner — to manage automation ideas.