In healthcare, every penny counts. Cloud automation helps this UK National Health Service consortium cut costs and increase efficiencies.
NEP is a not-for-profit NHS Consortium that provides shared finance, procurement, and other technology-based services to more than 40 client “Trusts” of the National Health Service (NHS), the agency responsible for public healthcare across England. The consortium makes its innovative services available at specially negotiated, discounted rates.
Healthcare costs rise every year under normal conditions, but the COVID-19 pandemic added an extraordinary 35% to the NHS’s most recent national annual budget. Finding savings—especially in procurement of supplies, which represents a large percentage of NHS spend—is more critical than ever before.
NEP’s ultimate goal is to support NHS staff in devoting more time and funds to patient care, and less time to managing back-office operations.
We no longer have to concentrate on the ‘feeding and watering’ of the database, or the upgrades and patching. We can concentrate more focusing on customer-facing role ensuring that the NHS maximizes in getting the best from the solution operating best practice and utilising digitalization of processes.
Associate Program Director, NEP
Until a few years ago, NEP’s finance and procurement services were grounded in the Oracle E-Business Suite of on-premises applications. As those applications approached their end of life, following a procurement exercise, the consortium unanimously decided to move to a cloud-based solution, in line with the NHS’s overall digital transformation strategy.
Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP was the natural choice for that migration, which was completed in 2019.
NEP quickly realized the many advantages of using cloud applications rather than on-premises ones, including ubiquitous access, standardization across diverse organizations, advanced automation, and regularly updated features.
The consortium decided to do away with application customizations for financial processes across all its NHS clients. Instead, it created templates for the procure-to-pay cycle and other finance workflows in order to flatten the learning curve and emphasize best practices.
A main goal of the NHS’s digital strategy is to eliminate paper as much as possible, increase automation, and free workers from routine processes. As a complex network of semi-autonomous organizations, the NHS handles a huge volume of intercompany charges; those processes were inefficient and costly.
NEP worked with Oracle to automate transactions, so that the data is entered simultaneously in the accounts of each organization without human intervention. With Oracle Procurement, NEP can reduce manual processing for millions of transactions, which help support negotiations for improved pricing with vendors, and create a streamlined ecommerce purchasing experience for end users.
What’s more, NEP receives application updates every three months, providing member organizations with the latest capabilities while reducing the amount of time the consortium and its clients spend on maintaining, patching, and upgrading their IT systems.
In healthcare, every penny counts. Even incremental improvements can deliver a big difference—making the role of doctors, nurses, and admin staff easier and simpler, so they can focus on delivering the best patient care.