Illustration showing a robot handling forms on a conveyor belt

E-form automation for the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust

The Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust employs over 13,000 staff across 105 different services. It's a teaching hospital and one of the largest providers of specialised medical services in England.

As you'd imagine, the team are all highly trained and as such, partake in countless study leave episodes throughout their career.

The application process for these study leave requests is closely monitored and rigorous and requires approval from many sources. After all, the Trust T&D team needs to ensure they spend budgets fairly, and that an application for leave is appropriate to the employee.

The paper trail problem

Before Datatron helped, the study leave application process consisted of passing a paper document between many levels of management for approval. This could include line managers and directorate managers. It also required both financial and departmental sign-off.

Requiring so many interactions, it is perhaps no wonder that applications took a long time to move through the system and often got bogged down.

The e-form solution

To help, Datatron worked to create an e-form that any employee could access via the Trust's intranet. The e-form needed to be intelligent enough to know who the applicant was, and follow a planned workflow process so that authorisation could route directly to the correct senior manager.

The key to this level of sophistication was linking the e-form process directly to the HR case file system. As Datatron had already successfully designed a dynamic HR case file system for the Trust using the Therefore platform, we could use this metadata to route the form through a workflow for approval, and eventually back to the actual employee's case file in Therefore.

Success that's built to last

An effective project must anticipate future developments, and that's exactly what we achieved with the solution for the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Trust.

By planning ahead, we integrated our work into the NHS Electronic Staff Record system so that new employees would have a new case file created for them automatically in Therefore as they moved from applicant to employee.

This level of forward thinking allowed us to develop a dynamic e-form that would self-populate with the employee metadata and allow us to route it to the correct senior manager for authorisation.

More compelling benefits

Moving to a Therefore e-form speeds up the process and eliminates wasted paper. It also allows staff to track progress, claim or delegate workflows when people are away. What's more, it produces crucial reports to help monitor equality and fairness.

Here is a complete list of the benefits that the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Trust now enjoys:

  • Tracking of application progress
  • Eliminated paper waste
  • Detailed reporting
  • Faster processing
  • Accurate data capture
  • Automatic links to HR files

Could something similar help your organisation?

The Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Trust processes an impressive 4,500+ applications for study leave per year.

When it was a paper process, it was a time-consuming exercise that could take anything from a few days to several weeks. Now, it's much faster, and they get all the exciting benefits of automation, such as reduced paper waste and detailed reporting.

If you'd like to explore what a similar solution might do for your organisation, reach out for a chat with one of our team.


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