Digital Lab and Chelsea and Westminster's Journey

Author: Stephen Aynsley-SmithDate: 5 months 2 weeks Ago

I know there is another brilliant blog on the recent excellent digital finance lab looking at the future of NHS finance but I wanted to add my thoughts on the day and talk about the work Chelsea and Westminster is undertaking. I apologise for any duplication (a cardinal sin in Finance!). 

The event, hosted by Deloitte and Future Focused Finance, really brought to life, with real examples, the types of technologies available to help NHS finance teams concentrate on supporting our Trusts rather than purely processing information.  The technologies demonstrated how we could spend more time analysing higher quality data and supporting the Trust’s decision making. The examples provided really chimed with the work we are undertaking at Chelsea and Westminster (more later) in trying to utilise technologies for the more regular and repeatable  processes. There was a lot of discussion how Finance can be open 24/7 to reflect Hospitals opening hours when we are in the office 9-5 (ok we occasionally work longer hours…….).

The technology showcased included automated process software (“robots”), chatbots and data visualisation tools. It wasn’t, and didn’t come across as a particular pitch for a type of product but it was a way of showing what was out there and how we in NHS can grasp the opportunities. It was also a really good way for a lot of like minded finance individuals to get together and discuss how this could work in their own areas. I can say the energy in the room felt really excited and the fact we overran the original timetable demonstrates the level of discussions that took place.

The reason I said this struck a chord with the work we are doing in the Trust was we have recently entered into an agreement with a software provider, Automation Anywhere, to create our own “robots”.  We are creating our own “robots” across the entire corporate back office (Finance, HR, Procurement & Information) and developing a technological centre of excellence. What I have learnt from the day and through experience is that it is best to utilise internal resources and learn to develop your own skills. Our current teams are the teams of the future and they have the knowledge, skills and experience we need to tap into to really embrace the future.

Overall it was a big thank you to FFF and Deloitte for hosting the day. I understand they are hoping to host more days and I would suggest you get your applications in asap.