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New research: A third of doctors use over 6 hours of their shift on knowledge work

Press release – free publishing 20.4.2016
Knowledge work with its routines grabs up to half the work time of doctors and other healthcare professionals. Tekes funded pioneering research by Digital Workforce Nordic Oy, and investigated the use of time on knowledge work among public health care workers. 5754 people working in nine Finnish health care districts participated in the study, the respondents represented 64% of all health care district employees. The response percentage was 9,2%.

Registering the same data multiple times produces costs. A third of all respondents report registering the same information on different IT systems over 30 minutes a shift. This adds to the amount of overall knowledge work and frustration of employees. 83% of doctors say that the current IT systems communicate poorly with each other. Doctors have become expensive secretaries as put by one of the respondents.

Hundreds of millions worth savings potential in knowledge work automation

Knowledge work has increased over the last two years among all participants but especially nurses (84% of nurse respondents) report an increase in the amount of knowledge work. 62% of doctors say they use over four hours and almost one third more than six hours per work shift on knowledge work.

-One third of respondents report to register the same information on different IT systems at minimum 7% of their work shift. Measured as direct salary costs the used time is worth 54 million euros annually just within the nine examined health care districts. The study identifies this and many other subjects for potential savings through process automation explains the founder and CEO of Digital Workforce Nordic, Heikki Länsisyrjä.

Registering and maintaining patient information is the most time consuming part of health care knowledge work. Doctors spend 160 and nurses 185 minutes of their shift taking care of this one function. Over 70% of doctors and nurses feel that work done on the computer is away from the time spent on patient care.

-Work is becoming more computerized in all sectors. The research confirms our estimate of 300-400 million euros worth of potential savings via automation to exist within public health care. Great savings could be rapidly generated through RPA technologies supporting SOTE reorganization’s target savings of several billions, Länsisyrjä sums up.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for better knowledge work efficiency

Digital Workforce Nordic, the organization behind the study is a Finnish growth company offering RPA services. Investors behind the company aiming for international operations include Timo Ahopelto of Lifeline Ventures and Leena Niemistö.
Software robotics offers a prominent solution to automate knowledge work without changes or additional investments to the existing systems. Software robotics is especially applicable to health care industry where many routine rule-based tasks and processes are used. RPA is currently being tested in many public health care organization.

Find the study summary as pdf here.

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