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Courtesy of Geisinger's Steele Institute for Health Innovation's Tim Bracken below is a transcript of his speaking session on 'What got you here, won't get you there' to Build a Thriving Enterprise that took place at the RPA & Intelligent Automation Live Virtual Conference.
You have your COE in place, you've accumulated a fair number of automation, and you have demonstrated a positive ROI. Now you must double your automation and scale your operations, but your existing automation are consuming a lot of time and effort to maintain. How can you double your automation without doubling your staff? During this talk, I'll discuss the strategy that I've employed to not only double but triple our automation in the coming next year.
Tim Bracken, who is the Director of Automation for Geisinger Health Systems.
There is Tim with us. Tim, thank you for being here with us. He has served Central and Western Pennsylvania, in his current role. He has over 15 years of IT leadership experience focusing on digital transformations and innovations to help communities that he's roles have served over. the many years of experience that he has Tim, it's always a pleasure to have a true practitioner here with us. A liter of intelligent automation sharing his insights and expertise with our global audience. Thank you so much for taking the time to do that.
Great to be here.
Right, so, thanks again for having me. I'm great, I'm glad to be here and to be presenting to you all. I hope to sell some knowledge today.
And I'm going to be talking about ... automation practice.
And, you know, what we're doing to continue to move forward in RPA and some of those issues of what got us here are not going to continue to propel us forward, simply due to, you know, a number of factors scale, you know, largely being one of them. As mentioned, I work in the, I'm the, director of the Intelligent Automation of a Geisinger Health System in Central Pennsylvania. And we're really, you know, focusing on innovating in health care across PA and then, you know, within RPA in general, I'm working with a lot of partners to move healthcare forward.
So, I'm going to talk about our current state, you know, where are we, you know, in Geisinger with our .... What has made our RPA successful? And, you know, what are we currently having issues with? We all have issues and, you know, we're, where can we continue to grow.
Alright, so, where are we? And I need to set the tone for our current state of affairs.
Because without knowing where we are, you know, you could be in a different position, And so, you know, where are, we, We haven't established ..., we have business architects, technical architects, developers, and project managers helping you move our RPA practice forward.
As well as executive buy in, you know, we couldn't establish a coe without that buy in from executives, and it's incredibly important to have that.
And to move forward from current state, you know, we need to have the co establish without the coe.
It's hard to get to the next steps in an RPA.
With that being said, we've already demonstrated return on investment growth, impossibility. We've shown where areas we can grow A.n.r. and our future growth potential. What can be the savings, How many hours can we save? How many dollars can we save?
You know, where are we going to, you know, grow in the future not just in our automations but new technologies, right?
It's important for us to, you know, be able to demonstrate that.
And, you know, as we're working across many different business lines, you know, we have to realize that, you know, we have early adopters, you know, and people who are eager to get in the ground floor of RPA. And then we'll have the laggards. And just be aware, you know, that that dynamic exists within all businesses. I don't think health care, or any other industry is alone in that.
And, you know, but making sure that we already have established relationships across multiple businesses. Because those people are like our, our angel investors, they're gonna promote for us, they're gonna, you know, talk us up and want us to continue working with them. So, having that established is really important.
You know, and, as mentioned, those, they're going to be our champions, right, those business lines that have, we've done a lot of work with and have seen, you know, positive ROI are going to be our champions.
And then, you know, we've integrated with multiple success metrics, not just ROI, but things like, you know, in health care, how many patients have we serve, who has engaged with us, you know, with our automations with any of our digital technologies. It's, it's going to be a number of factors, right?
ROI is just one of them, but, you know, how many hours saved every, you know, able to demonstrate how many patients, you know, have interacted with us? Those are some of the other factors in health care that we're focusing on.
Each industry is different, but, you know, you have to have more than just one metric to continue moving forward.
So, what got us here, and I, you know, I really love this, this quote, don't criticize yourself while you're creating, you know, and that's, that's what Adam Grant am. I think we've all been in this place, where, you know, we're constantly nitpicking our practice, what we're doing, how we've done it. The things we should have done, the things, you know, we should not have done.
I think, you know, as we're standing our RPA practices up, you know, not getting too critical of what we've done and where we've gotten ourselves, is really important.
We, we get to our current state where the CCO is successful in a number of ways, or there's so many ways that we can get here, and we all take different paths.
And, you know, just realizing where you are in assessing your actual stance is incredibly important and be realistic with yourself.
If we're unrealistic about the current state where we are, you know the the problems that we have in the sexism successes that we've had.
No, we're not going to be able to move forward, so don't you don't get it on your own back for what you've done.
So, you know, what has gotten us here, right? We've, we've built a strong foundation. We know if we build a foundation on top of toothpicks, it's, it's going to be terrible to build on moving forward. So, you know, we've set up the technical aspects correctly, and we've defined our business metrics, right? More than one, you know, we're demonstrating the business. We're able to break it down across, business lines. This is incredibly important, right?
This is going to be our foundation for moving from, you know, whatever our our COO is, now, whether it's 20 to 60 bots on forward to, you know, 62, you know, 180. We, you know, we, we need to know this, you know, moving forward, and without this foundation, we can't.
We're able to demonstrate success rate in ROI in, time saved, you know, across a number of areas. We were giving time back to the organization.
You know, in direct savings and indirect savings rate, those.
You know, how many patients we've engaged with, You know, is an indirect, no benefit to us that we can't just quite calculate.
We've developed strong business relationships rate throughout growing the RPA. We know who the innovators are, and the early adopters are. And we strengthen those relationships, ships with them. They've interacted with us, they're really happy to work with us. They're excited to continue to grow RPA and see, you know, what can become of it. And, you know, so we've already established that. And it's important to have those relationships. Again, those people are going to be our champions, and that's important for us moving forward.
And, you know, we've already built simple and difficult automations. Hopefully, you've started simple and then moved to the difficult. It's obviously much more difficult to start with the hard ones right away. But, you know, moving from, from simple automations to more difficult automations.
We've learned a lot with gained a lot of lessons learned. We've, we've created, you know, a lot of documentation on, you know, what works and what doesn't, you know, And this is really, really important.
All right, So what are our issues that are preventing us from continuing to grow, You know, business lines, you know. Consuming a lot of our time. Now.
No, this is one area where it's good.
A good problem to have, but, you know, when a business line constantly wants RPA, It might not always be the right solution if we're trying to establish the RPA.
Once we're established, you know, it's up to us to time manage and make sure that, you know, the The early Adopters are still getting their business objectives met, but we're still able to engage new, new stakeholders. And, you know, to do that, that takes man-hours. We're going to have, has to have personnel to engage existing businesses. And in new ones.
The current, you know, maintenance and upkeep of our automations, again, is becoming very time consuming.
And, you know, we have a lot of investment here where, know, we're investing tons of time just keeping our automation running. Right.
This is a continued issue that all orientation have with any technology that they adopt. And then it grows right, so as we grow our Co E, we're gonna continue to have support issues and needs, you know, for continued growth, support areas.
Staff attrition. This is really inevitable. You know, we were, we've done great things and people have being been recognized in RPA, is a growing industry, great talent is scarce. So, you know, we've grown our staff. They've accomplished a lot, and now they're moving onto bigger and potentially better things for them, at least.
But, you know, this is one area where we're just have to be prepared for it. But it's something that's can bring us down, you know, if we're not careful about it.
And then only talking about our new capabilities, AI, ML, OCR, NLP, you know, that all those buzzwords, if we're only talking about them and not actually producing anything that's demonstrated from them, we're not moving forward, right? We're constantly in the wishful thinking side side of it.
So what does our future state look like and how do we get there?
So before we, we think about that, we got to ask yourself a few questions, right?
What is, you know, our automation growth rate, right? Do we care about ROI numbers or do we care about automation count? Right. We have to. We we can deal with them both at the same time.
But there comes a point when, you know, we have to make the decisions. Is the ROI more important or do we really wanted to demonstrate just the number of automations we had successful?
What does our team makeup, incise look like?
How big is our team? Do we have the right people in the right places?
Are we getting buy in?
Are we continuing to grow our budget and receive, you know, equitable amounts of our ROI back and funding? You know, and we have to be realistic with ourselves with this, because it's going to define how we structure our RPA practice moving forward.
And how can we better support our businesses?
We have to, you know, meet with them on a regular basis, and make sure that we're meeting their needs, and we understand what's coming up. And, you know, where the areas for growth are.
The, you know, if we don't understand their needs, we're not going to tailor our technology and capabilities to meet that break, so it's, these are some fundamental questions we have to ask ourselves before continuing to move forward.
Alright, so on moving forward, you know, the first strategy that we're employing here at Guy Singer, and I think can be employed and employed across the whole RPA industry, is focused on depth, rather than breadth.
And this is kind of, you know, counter to, you know, focusing what I mentioned earlier, where we focus only on a few business lines, but we have to reward our initial champions. You know, making sure that they are meeting their, their objectives correctly.
You know, we're gonna get heavy investment in functional areas here.
But, you know, sometimes it seems like it's at the cost of other areas, and, again, we have to make sure that, you know, our, our staffing is appropriate to handle this, this type of workload. Because it's important that we're hitting all of these numbers, we're meeting, you know, each business objectives.
And as we get deeper on these processes, you know, we're gonna, we're gonna get more complex, more time consuming processes.
But, you know, this is where we end up realizing the full end to end automation, right? This is, true, digital transformation through RPA. It's one thing to just automate, you know, a couple processes here and there, to, you know, have a couple auto attendant automations where we're interacting with people on a variety of levels.
But, you know, if we're gonna get deep into the processes, you know, in do true digital transformation, no, we need to do end to end, and that means no, even taking existing automations and re rewriting them to, you know, to incorporate, you know, the beginning at the end. and then the, the after effects, right?
Because we have an automation that's done, but, you know, a lot of business lines require additional reporting, and, you know, so that may be a good area for us to focus on, so that we can, you know, meet their needs to their executive sponsors. And meeting our business business line needs is incredibly important. Again, to build those champions, have them, you know, advocating for us and to go, you know, our areas of success.
Second strategy, you know, automated testing, so, this is one area where, it seems like a tactical response.
But, and, you know, not always a priority, but the problem is, is if it's not a priority, automated testing won't get done.
And, you know, this is a problem now. I have a software engineering background degree in computer science, and so, you know, I've been very tactical, you know, during my career, but, at the same time, you know what I've noticed works for continuing to scale and allowing me.
And my team to move forward, has been to make sure that the foundation, no automated testing and automated systems is in place.
And, you know, I pulled this graph here to really demonstrate that. This is right from UI path. And I think it really shows, you know, that reality.
Well you get to a certain point where you have so many automations that the time consumption to maintain existing ones, you know, starts to wane on you and your team.
And you know with something without, you know, automating your workflows, you're not going to be able to continue on your same, you know, growth rate or a similar growth rate.
We're seeing that here at Geisinger, where, you know, our existing automations are taking a lot of time. We have a lot of effort involved in that.
We're being asked to do new regulatory reporting and, you know, monitor our security standpoint, you know, and so, this is one area where, again, it seems tactical, but it's really strategic and important to be done and have buy in from the business line, you know, from, from your top level, iterate or to communicate to them the importance of this, right?
And so, you know, what, what will this have, right, and this, the, the slide on, the, the image on the left really, you know, shows the benefit of automated testing in UI path terms. If you're, you're, you know, you use it, but I think this can be applied across RPA.
Automated testing reduces failure rate significantly rate one fifth of the failure rate they've they've noticed.
And then the maintenance and effort. Again, I've mentioned this before, but reducing your maintenance costs. This can be, you know, really helpful.
And, I think, know, a lot of our automated testing can be put in place to give us early warning signs so we can schedule our maintenance ahead of time. Do this in the test environment, before it gets to production, right? We don't want to be, you know, having production downtime too often.
When, you know, automated testing kind of helped us, this really saves our team a ton of hours rate, just just making sure that there's no things that we that we missed. And it keeps them from having to work on weekends. I mean, we've all been there, we know what it's like.
And then early detection recovery is important for the business continuity as well. They want to know that we have their back, and, you know, everything is going to be smooth. So, it's really, really important for, for us to, to have their confidence.
So strategy three, reducing single points of failure, and, you know, this is, what I mentioned earlier about staff attrition. staff are going to leave, and we have to be realistic about it.
You know, we have built some, some great team members, and we've given them skills that are valuable across this, our RPA industry, that's just continuing to grow.
It has so much need, I mean, if, you know, you're in a hiring position, you've tried to hire an RPA developer recently, you know, you understand the difficulty, you know, that we're all facing. And so, your staff have a lot of options.
So, you know, make sure that, you know, we identify our key contributors, develop their backups, But we also give them the support that they need to continue to grow in their careers in their, you know, right where they are in the current company. Because if we don't, they're gonna find it somewhere else. And we don't want to be, you know, left behind when they do, right without a backup, without, you know, anyone knowing all the work that's involved in, you know, keeping RPA up and running.
So, you know, making sure that they are key contributors, have backups is incredibly important.
No. And then, we need to create a pipeline of talent. Now, this is easier said than done, but I think it's really starts with having a strategic focus on, you know, what are our hiring practices?
Are, you know, gee, we do we set up an internship program, you know, Do we create lower level positions? In train them up to be no higher level rate? Do we, do we bring on project managers? Train them to be business architects? That way, when we have people leaving, we continue to have that continuity, which is incredibly important for those business line relationships as well. In the same with developers, can, Can we build developers up from, say, interns? You know, up to senior level, If we can continue to do things like that, you know, we're not going to suffer as much when our staff, you know, find new jobs, but, you know, be realistic there, they are totally going to leave you. And, you know, you just have to be prepared for it. There. You know, we term the great resignation.
In my opinion as an excuse for not doing the necessary things to maintain staffing levels and talent, it's on us as executive leaders to make sure that we have the processes and the talent in place to backfill and make sure that we don't have those, you know, single point of failures because they can do your RPA practice.
Um, you know, and again, don't make excuses. It's, it's, it's on you, right?
So, you know, just, make sure that you, you set your team up right for success, you know, for continued growth.
So, strat, Strategy number four, Holistic, Organizational Automation, and this is more than just automating individual processes. You know, we, we want to make sure that we're doing full end to end automation for, for the each business line.
And, you know, it can look, you know, really attractive to go and get, get those one-off automations because maybe they have higher ROI, or, you know, it's going to be really quick to do do something and make an impact.
But, if we were just doing those one-off processes, we're ignoring the bigger picture. And we're just adding levels of technology on processes that are, that have likely been around a number of years, and are probably broken, right? So evaluating what those processes are, and how we can turn them in, from from Ad Hoc to end to end.
You know, and in doing so, you know, this is going to help us improve things like business line metric reporting, and, you know, using automation as a strategy.
It's incredibly important that we, that we do this.
And, you know, one thing to note here is that, this, this idea, this strategy needs to be pushed from top level executives from, you know, the individual business lines to, you know, your executives at, over the whole organization.
Because without it, you know, there's no motivation to move your processes forward, to automate them, end to end. And, you know, you just don't have the buy in. People get busy.
People, you know, don't want to invest the time, you know, in, in your, your automation, and your RPA practice, because they're doing their own things.
And so, you know, it's up to you as an RPA leader to get those business lines engaged, bought in, and make sure that, you know, you're able to demonstrate to them the ROI, they're going to receive. Indirect savings, as well as direct. And, you know, being able to communicate that is incredibly important.
I say I'd have to number four strategies.
So, Strategy number five, you know, ignore the typo, I apologize for that, is investing in solutions.
No, we don't want to get stuck doing one type of automation, right.
UI path, you know, has a term unattended, attended action Center document of understanding, right?
We know we may get sucked into doing, just unattended, automations all of the time, and, you know, it's attractive, because people are used to that.
People are used to seeing things happen, you know, behind the scenes, without you know, being involved, and if we just focus on that, We're gonna.
We're gonna miss all the other opportunity to, To automate, across the organization. It's it can be easy to get sucked into and you know with that comes, you know. The your team gets really sucked into that, Your business architects stop thinking.
You know, in the mindset of what is possible or how can we solution this? and instead think, Oh, we're only going to do this type of work, which isn't the case at all from, you know, a leadership standpoint. I want to have all the options on the table. I want to create that full end to end automation.
And, you know, if our team is thinking, you know, very siloed and you know, and just laser focused on a single point, we're going to miss that.
We, you know, have to invest in training. Our staff, right, we need them to understand technologies such as AI, ML, OCR, NLP, you know, and know when and how to apply them.
We need them to talk about them intelligently as well, being able to say, oh, we can do AI, is one thing, being able to demonstrate the benefits, and pitfalls of AI is a completely different thing.
And, you know, if we, our team is not educated and knowledgeable in those areas, we're gonna not be able to invest in those.
And the business lines are not going to have the confidence in us to go go down that path, and they're going to end up going with an outside vendor, which, you know, as we know, tend to cost more money than just staying with our ....
You know, make sure you're, you're also utilizing your, your products offered by UI path, by Blue Prism, automate anywhere. Make sure your you know the products and you're using them to their fullest.
Regularly, get updates from, from your, your sales team, you know, you want to know what's coming down the pike, how things are being utilized, I'll get some use cases, right, because if we, you know, don't focused on that, we ignore it.
We're going to be so far behind when the time comes, that, you know, we're, we're getting, missing a number of technologies that could have saved us. You know, so much time and effort you know In the, run up to that before we even implemented. So, just be aware of the products available.
You know, you need to also invest in experts. one thing that you know, that we've done is areas where we've gone into a new realm.
No new, new solutions from the vendor, we've actually invested time into, you know, paying the vendor to help us establish that foundation, right? We, again, we want to build a strong, technical and business foundation. And so, you know, if we bring in experts to establish that and set it up for us and teach us how to use it, use it, you know, the whole teach us to fish mantra. We're going to be more successful, we're going to have that strong foundation, We're, you know, we're going to be more prepared.
So, shape, changes to success metrics, you know, I did this, this is one area where we need to be cognizant that we have to be able to adapt to the business lines.
No one success metric now won't be the same, you know, as it is in the future.
Business lines change, no executive, push, new, important ideas and strategies.
And so, if we, we ignore that, you know, we're The new success metrics, and focused on the old ones, may not be as valuable to the business lines, and they, again, may be less willing to engage with us because, you know, we don't know their needs. So, you know, making sure that we're focused on current success metrics in business needs, is going to be incredibly important, going forward.
Um, No end.
Again, just be open to, to the change, You know, it's, it's gonna be incredibly important for everyone involved that, you know, not only is RPA willing to change with, you, know, with the businesses, you know, and with that, we're gonna get a lot of executive buy in.
So, with that, I want to say thanks for, for having me, and open it up to questions.
Thank you so much, Tim, for such a, a great reveal of your journey there, with the company. And I want to ask you, because some questions came up during the, during the presentation. Tell us a little. Give us a little bit more background on the organization itself.
I mean, you have a number of hospitals that you are working with on the what does the system look like, you know, in terms of professionals working on the systems, what type of activities you do, it, just kind of a big picture of the company.
Yeah. So, Geisinger is based in Central Pennsylvania. Originally started as a, you know, a community hospital for a rural setting. Then we've expanded to be the entire eastern part of Pennsylvania, where we have multiple hospitals, multiple clinics, you know, multiple areas. And then we also have a health plan. So for those in the health industry, the help, the health system, having its health plan. Is kind of common, you know, depending on, on the, the area.
But, so, you know, when we do RPA, we're doing it for, know, our, our clinical side or back office side, our, our operations side, as well as the health plan side. For anybody, you know, again, aware of the health plan and how it works. Managing claims and processing them, it's very time consuming. Very human involved. And you know, where we can enter RPA and there is just a huge time savings.
That, that's, that's fantastic to have that background.
I must say, that I wasn't even aware how large actually on an organization you have, and how many parts you have, that, it's quite impressive. And with that in mind, other questions that came up have around. R, I have been around the, how did you start, and how did you progress. So, I don't know exactly how long you have been with the organization.
But if you, at what point RPA kinda got in the radar for the organization and say, you know, this is something that we should experiment with, And then from there, how do you go from there to creating a center of excellence?
Yeah, so about three years ago, the idea of RPA was brought up.
And we started automating on a different technology, not UI path, that was not health center focused.
We quickly realized it wasn't going to meet the needs for our health care system.
And, so, we, you know, after about a year and a half, we migrated to UI path.
Um, you know, in doing so, at the time, we had about 20 automations that we, that we migrated.
You know, and and moved up and built our practice.
As we were doing so, in growing, we invested in you know, our roi metrics reporting, which in UI path terms is called Insights, which was necessary to get executive buy in and continue getting funding for you know, our RPA practice.
And so you know over the last two years we've continued adding automations.
Adding new technologies. And growing the team. To now, you know, where we have a team of about 12 people. And we were looking to expand that, you know, across, across roles in the, the, the group.
And we're looking to expand that. Because RPA has been so successful. But also, you know, to do those things that I mentioned. Make sure that we're continuing to build that foundation. You know, do things like automated testing, Educate people in AI, ML, you, know, all of those. There's the buzz words that you hear in industry, in health care, and in other areas, you know, making sure that we're building a team that has the foundational skills to continue to grow in the future.
And executives really see the, the investment that we've done, in, our, they've made and how it's paid off. And, you know, we're continuing to see, you know, positive growth. So, so that's kinda where we are very high level. You know, of where we've come from and where we currently are.
And the, and tell us a little bit about what a center of excellence is. What it looks like in the, in the very beginning.
Yeah, so, you know, in the very beginning. It's very, you have just a few people, a few team members, business architects, lead developers, you know, a leader and someone who understands the technical aspects of your organization.
So, those are a few of the key areas and, and, you know, getting a few wins, you know, getting a few automations done, understanding the business needs.
Breaking through, you know, the barrier of fear re: like, oh, RPA is just another technology, and you're going to be going away in a few years. Making sure that, you know, the business lines know that there's a commitment to it, that it's going to be around, and, you know, it's highly capable. You know, so in the beginning, that's, that's what we did. And then we slowly grown organically, as as we've gotten new new requests for work, we've grown certain areas, development, business, architects know. And then enterprise architecture in our tech with our technical team, to the point where, you know, overtime, you slowly grow, too.
We currently have four business architects', six developers, two technical architects, you understand.
The, you know, the enterprise is the IT and business, and, you know, and then, leadership and those terms.
So, that's kind of where, you know, the size, how we've grown, and how it started. You know, I think each organization also has, we've talked to another, a number of organizations and how they've started their, co a, you know, in the difference, you know, between a lot of those numbers is executive commitment and haven't making sure you have a serious budget for it, because Our PA's new, RP is not not cheap. So having that budget so they you know you can grow your co internally. If that's your strategy, is important.
Other, other teams have started their their COO with 1 or 2 people, and you know been forced to demonstrate positive ROI just to keep it running. Without additional funding, and it's really hard to grow, right.
And, you know, to get true growth and see the true potential of RPA, it takes a serious investment.
That's, that's very, very helpful. Tim, and very open and transparent and you have done that throughout the presentation, which is really appreciate it. Talking about the good, bad, and the ugly, right, on this journey. And the data, it has a little bit of everything, Other questions that came up have to do with the global pandemic. Of course, your health care, disruptions abound. high levels of stress and burnout.
And then, there shows up the guy over here, I'm here to help you. I'm going to automate processes for you. I'm going to fire you and everybody who looks like you attempt, I don't need that right now. There's too much going on. How did the pandemic help or hurt, you know, trying to implement RPA during this during this timeframe?
Yeah, it's been both. Boom and bust. I think you know, something you mentioned there is making sure you communicate, that we're not going to be firing people, Right. We're not looking to, you, know, get rid of people.
We're looking to allow our, Our clinicians are practitioners to focus more on the patients in the work that, that is truly meaningful, and, you know, is going to create true engagement and help people. Not, you know, we're not worried about reducing our RN staff and taking away their jobs, because RPA can do most of it. That's not the truth. We're where we want to reduce their backend workload, so that their time can be more focused on the patient care, right. Because patients who receive more care have greater outcomes. And that is our true focus.
On the backend side, you know, our, our focus is, again, allowing the back office staff time to focus on the important and strategic aspects of their job, right?
We don't want people just processing data because, you know, it needs to be processed if a computer can handle we will do it. Moving data between spreadsheets is not a value add, right? It's just something that has to be done at times.
And so, with all of that, we've communicated that and then the pandemic happens, right? And so we, we have a giant workload.
one thing that we've been able to do is take a lot of that workload away from our path away from our staff.
Know, let's talk about, you know, coven testing for one Geisinger Health System Automated, our End to End coven testing.
Solution, After the point, that your lab test lab result is is present.
We've taken that data. The automation is updated your, your health record, it's called the patients. And then it's also performed, you know, symptom monitoring if the patient is ill, making sure that we don't have poor outcomes.
So, that automation sounds on, the very high level, Sounds very easy, but when you're touching, you know, patient records in the EHR, you know, we're contacting patients, there's a lot of documentation that has to take place. Whether it's, whether it's an RPA or a nurse doing the calling. And, you know, just for, for reference, you know, I'll throw out this number.
We've, we've avoided over $30 million in costs that we would have incurred with our automation, so we didn't have to have nursing staff or call center staff, perform this work automations, has done it for us. And that's a direct cost avoidance to us.
Wow, that's, that's terrific. Some great examples there. Now, you have, as you describe your journey, you have had some pretty big challenges as you were implementing the swing at one of them that May, that came out that, at least to me, seems like a big challenges that you realize after you started implementing one solution that you wouldn't be really work for your context farewell. And you have to do this mass migration to a new platform.
Not focusing so much on that.
But if you look at your overall journey and development of RPA, what do you know now that you wish you knew at the very beginning? and you can really use that to provide some suggestions to our participants here. You know, This is something like, like, I don't know what it is, but let's say maintenance is a big deal, and you never expect it to be a big deal. What is kind of a bit surprising to you in that journey, and you think that people should pay a little bit more attention in the beginning.
Then, maybe the providers we usually talk about.
Yeah, I think number one is understanding the vendors in the space, and where their focus areas are. And, you know, again, I mentioned, we utilize UI path.
And so, UI path is really focused on health care. And they built their tools to, you know, make health care automation easier. They have a lot of experience in the area, knowing that would have saved us, the need to migrate. That, That is number one.
Number two is, you know, yeah, there's a number of things we could have done automated testing, or, you know, different infrastructure.
But I think, you know, just not being hard on ourselves, because we've had a lot of success. And, you know, yeah, we've we've made mistakes. We've had missteps, but, you know, if you're innovating and trying to move an organization forward, you can't beat yourself. Up over it, you have to realize that, there's gonna be a so many failures in innovation, that, you know, it's, it's, when you look at your track record, you're probably gonna have more failures and successes.
But, you know, when you get to, you know, you start having success. and on a consistent basis, you know. And you realize you're innovating in the RPA field.
That's when, you know, things, just start humming along and you know, we're at that point now. And Geisinger is at the point where things are humming along. But you know we need to continue to be able to scale. and again, investing in those ideas, such as automated testing, such as strategic backfilling roles because no losing 1 or 2 employees is really difficult.
Those are such great insights. Tim thank you. Thank you for sharing those insights.
And you have done that throughout your presentation, about touching on this very practical items that are not obvious to someone who is starting this journey, or even some people who have been doing this for some time, But they have not encountered some of the same challenges.
one other question that came up here, we're getting close to time here, So I'll try and getting as many questions as possible.
What was your process in the video to find those, the best cases, the best use cases to demonstrate value? Is this something that, you know, executive leadership, kind of, guide, you, that, or you saw that, you know, we can really show tremendous value creation here, What was the main driver for showing value and engaging the senior leaders in the solution?
Yeah, you know, in that, that started with just having relationships with, between those executive leaders, you know, the RPA sponsors, as well as the business line leaders, when, when there were strong relationships there, that's, when we saw, like, the ability to gain value. So, you know, in certain areas where there's a little, let's say, we looked at an area where that had a lot of staff turnover rate.
What can we do to reduce the staff burden.
And that's, you know, on our health plan side and health claim side, coming in and setting up RPA.
And if they're at the point now that, no, we've built so many automations, we've reduced their workload. They have hundreds of employees.
And we've, we've taken, you know, we've allowed them the reducer FTE count By like 20 right now. Which, doesn't sound like a lot, but that's, that's a lot of people that were doing work that kind of just shifted away. We just didn't have to backfill because our automation took over, but have, you know, it started with having those executive relationships at the top, you know, and having somebody that, you know, that's willing to take a chance and be an early adopter.
And realize that there's going to be bumps in the road.
You know, having that person know is incredibly important. And then, you know, the trust that, that, that's built there, you know, goes a long way.
Outstanding, Tim. What? A great presentation and a great dialog about the true challenges and opportunities of RPA implementation to create value. You have represented the organization incredibly well, so thank you for that. Thanks to your executive leadership, is always seems to me, that there are very tolerant and supportive of this process of learning and growing. And that which is especially in times of uncertainty and rapid change, like healthcare has been through, it's a real blessing to have leaders like that. So I'm, I'm grateful for you. I'm grateful for your leadership and I'm very grateful for you to share this last as with all of us.
Thank you again.
Thank you very much, I'm happy to be here.
Ladies and gentlemen, that was Tim Brackin, Director of Automation and the Geisinger Health System with a tremendous sharing of lessons learned and opportunities I had for RPA and intelligent automation in their organization. I personally actually go, I have, lots of organizations I work with in Pennsylvania. Next time I'm in Pennsylvania, I'm gonna, I'm gonna call up Chairman. Check out what's going on, on the ground, because this is, this is really, this is really a great success story of development and growth of RPA and intelligent automation. So congratulations to Tim. And the team at the, at the company or the organization for continuously improving and innovating the way they work, and it affects the lives of so many, you know, patients.
You know, in there that there, who are served by their organization very well.
We're going to be taking a break now, and at the top of the hour, we will come with our final speaker for the conference, and I'm talking about the Money Brown, who's going to come from Jamaica directly. So Natalia, if you're still watching this, I don't know if you know the money or not, but he is right there. I don't know if he's in Kingston or somewhere else, but he's coming from Jamaica. He's going to be sharing with us the journey at the Jamaica Public Service Company with RPA, intelligent automation. And then, he has a tremendous background across multiple industries as a leader of excellence, innovation, and transformation. So taking a break. Now, I will see you all with the money brown at the top of the hour.
Director of Automation,
Geisinger's Steele Institute for Health Innovation.
Tim Bracken is the Director of Automation for the Intelligent Automation Hub (IAH) at Geisinger's Steele Institute for Health Innovation. Tim joined the IAH in 2021 bringing nearly two decades of IT experience and 15 years of leadership to this role. Providing strategic leadership and mentoring to the IAH team, Tim is driven by improving people's lives and making a positive impact on society.
Prior to joining Geisinger, Tim spent the previous 8 years at Penn State where he led a team of technologists delivering online education to people from all over the world. With a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh, a Masters degree in Business Transformation from Penn State, and multiple graduate certificates, Tim is an avid learner and believes in continuing education.
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