NSW Health is Australia’s largest public health system which operates 365 days, 24 hours a day so training on-the-job as a junior medical officer can be challenging as well as rewarding.
The Ministry of Health’s Junior Medical Officer Wellbeing and Support Plan (November 2017) found one of the key challenges impacting junior medical officers’ morale was how claims for unrostered overtime were managed.
For junior medical officers, challenges included having different processes for managing claims at different hospitals, the need to track down senior clinicians to approve claims in person ahead of submitting them, and not having visibility of where a claim was up to in the approval process once it was submitted. Moving to an online system would be a major improvement but still have limitations with hospital staff sharing computers.
eHealth NSW developed a new, state-wide system called UROC. It was built within NSW Health’s Human Resources and Payroll system, StaffLink, which was already implemented state-wide.
Requirements workshops were held with junior medical officers and their managers from across the state. To ensure the system met the needs of all stakeholders, the project used agile methodology and was built iteratively using human-centred design to create a system that JMOs found easy to use.
UROC was delivered in two phases. The first moved the claims management process from paper to online and leveraged advanced functionality and automation. The second phase focused on developing a mobile app for junior medical officers to use on the go.
The UROC system was launched in October 2019 and the UROC mobile application introduced in December 2020. The system and mobile application was implemented across all hospitals by February 2021.
Every year, UROC is used by an average of 8,000 junior medical officers. No training was required by JMOs due to its intuitive design. Surveys conducted before and after UROC’s launch indicate that junior medical officers found it easy to use and were submitting a higher volume of claims than before. Since rollout, the average time for claim approval has reduced from 7.1 days to 4.3 days.
eHealth NSW continues to manage and regularly enhance UROC with ideas for improving the experience contributed by system users.
For junior medical officers, UROC provides a consistent claims process across all hospitals. They no longer need to complete paperwork, can submit their claim anywhere, anytime, and can see where their claim is up to in real-time.
For administrative teams, UROC’s advanced functionality and automation has reduced the administrative burden of managing claims including flagging and tracking those requiring review.
For hospital executives, UROC provides data to support organisational productivity and performance, avoiding reliance on costly overtime, and ensuring overtime is worked for appropriate reasons. It highlights where different workforce management decisions could support improved employee wellbeing, patient safety and organisational efficiency.
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