Investing in new technology to drive efficiency, workforce resilience and patient access

Processing lengthy email consultation forms is one of the more burdensome tasks involved in running a general practice. Due to the time taken, it affects both staff morale for those processing and reading the forms, and patients’ timely access to appointments. Administrative teams ensure individual email consultations are matched to patient records and appointments are allocated, while clinicians are responsible for reading the entire form before an appointment to understand the nature of the request. Working at scale provides the opportunity to afford large-scale investments in new technology to address such issues.


With the volume of email consultations increasing at its practices, Modality Partnership (Modality) has invested in new technology to drive efficiency, workforce resilience and patient access.


A digital solution to operational pressures 

Modality has designed, built and implemented a robotic process automation (RPA) system across 49 sites across England. With the automation, a bot transfers pertinent information from the consultation form to patient notes and allocates the case to the most appropriate team member for action. This reduces administrative burden and ensures clinician time is maximised per consultation. 

The RPA bots have also freed up clinical time to provide more appointments, reducing the time a clinician spends reviewing an email consultation by summarising key points into the patient records. The reduced administrative burden for GPs is equivalent to 1.5 whole-time equivalent GP time per practice (based on a caseload of 30,000 patients) per month. Pre-automation, the clinical time spent per email consultation was 10 minutes, and the administrative time was six minutes. Post automation the administrative processing time is eight and a half minutes, and the administrative processing time is three and a half minutes. The resulting reduction in staffing costs has achieved a 200% return on investment.

By removing human error, processing accuracy has also improved, and clinical variation has been reduced. Modality expects improved decision-making and patient satisfaction, with an additional 270k appointments already delivered to date thanks to the improved use of clinician time. 

Staff satisfaction has also increased, with day to day operational pressures alleviated and the volume of manual, burdensome work decreased. This has helped to maintain services and increase workforce resilience. 

The RPA system highlights the benefits of investing in new technology to relieve everyday pressures in general practice, boost workforce morale and reduce clinical variation.