How Primary Health Tasmania is improving health outcomes

Appian Software Australia Pty Limited

By Kal Marshall, Regional Vice President, Public Sector, APJ, Appian
Friday, 21 April, 2023

How Primary Health Tasmania is improving health outcomes

Public health agencies are responsible for executing critical missions that have a meaningful impact on constituents. To accomplish their missions more effectively, many organisations are turning to digitisation to improve workflows with automation, streamline agency processes, simplify data sharing and maintain compliance.

For government health agencies, cost and process optimisation remain paramount as mission-critical goals. Data sharing and lack of comprehensive insights within and across departments are key challenges and opportunities. The need for greater access to data drives the need for increased governance and compliance. Proactive planning and response to internal and external events drives the need for faster, more accurate data and analysis.

To achieve these objectives, public health departments have realised they need more efficient systems and processes as well as real-time access to usable data. They have launched initiatives to upgrade decades-old systems and modernise applications through digital transformation. These modernisation initiatives will also move departments to cloud-based applications, minimising infrastructure management and allowing employees to focus their efforts on more productive work.

One way to balance the conflicting imperatives to improve process and data transparency while enforcing compliance auditability is through hyper-automation. According to Gartner, “hyper-automation in government is a systematic approach to rapidly identify, vet and automate as many business and IT processes as possible”.

In its Top Technology Trends in Government for 2022 Gartner predicts that by 2024, 75% of governments will have at least three enterprise-wide hyper-automation initiatives launched or underway.

Primary Health Tasmania’s need for digital transformation

Primary Health Tasmania is one of 31 Primary Health Network organisations across Australia commissioning health services and health system change in the primary health sector. The government has tasked these organisations with increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of medical services for patients while improving the coordination of care.

Primary Health Tasmania’s commissioning model has three phases:

  1. Strategic planning
  2. Procuring services
  3. Monitoring and evaluation

The organisation has historically used a paper-based manual system which failed to provide the data visibility and process management needed to improve decision-making and increase efficiency. A lack of visibility on a broader scale also meant it couldn’t monitor whether day-to-day activities were in line with long-term health outcome goals.

“We’re knowledge workers who are very good at strategy, and while we were managing operations and governance well, it was being done manually,” explained Scott McKay, General Manager for Business & Finance at Primary Health Tasmania. “We knew the next step was to link up our strategy, operations and governance through the right technology platform so we could fully harness the knowledge and know-how of our people.”

Why Appian was chosen to link knowledge, strategy and process

Primary Health Tasmania initially identified 25 systems capable of creating its Business Process Management (BPM) platform. After an exhaustive selection process, Primary Health Tasmania chose to work with Appian and its partner, Roboyo, because the Appian Platform for process automation was best able to provide the automation and data integration needed to empower the Primary Health Tasmania team.

McKay said one of the deciding factors was that Roboyo provided proof of concept and a working model, which lessened the risks associated with digital transformation. Another differentiator was that Appian could provide a single source of information in one system that contained forms, workflow, data capture, dashboards, training and resources. The platform met Primary Health Tasmania’s business requirements, was scalable and could expand to meet the organisation’s vision.

Why procurement became the first implementation

Gartner 2022 Hype Cycle for Procurement and Sourcing Solutions revealed that agencies are looking to modernise and automate acquisition processes to drive efficiencies, enable better decision-making and achieve greater mission outcomes. The report says, “Autonomous procurement is the ultimate goal in terms of procurement efficiency”.

In line with this trend, Primary Health Tasmania chose health services procurement as the first implementation. The Appian Platform for process automation provides unified workflow, PRA, AI, process mining and a unique data fabric to deliver a more efficient and transparent procurement process. The platform’s end-to-end process automation has allowed Primary Health Tasmania to eliminate repetitive work and resulted in improved operational efficiency.

McKay said that the strategic procurement value chain involves several business processes, and the Appian Platform seamlessly links project proposals, planning and approval, approach to market and services contract completion. He stressed that efficiency gains were only one requirement; it was equally important that the platform captured data and provided insights into the strategic pathway.

“In transitioning Primary Health Tasmania to Appian, we were able to provide the organisation’s health service procurement team with one single digital dashboard where all information and activities related to commissioning health services is visible and traceable. This ensures alignment so the organisation can track and meet its targets and timelines,” explained Manish Tripathy, Head of Delivery at Roboyo.

Although there is often internal resistance to operational change, McKay said that other departments are now eager to become the next ‘cab off the rank’ because the platform allows individual team members to see how their role contributes to the long-term vision and gives their work meaning.

Bron Lewis, Manager of Procurement at Primary Health Tasmania, said she is excited about the platform, believing the project was brave and its implementation transparent. Over time, the platform will integrate all business activities, corporate governance and administration.

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