Speed Read

* The Department of State Hospitals manages the largest inpatient forensic mental health hospital system in the nation.

* DSH oversees five state hospitals employing nearly 11,000 staff. It provides daily care and mental health treatment to around 12,000 patients a year.

* Its Technology Services Division (TSD) deploys 200 technologists at the five hospitals and in its Sacramento office. TSD’s goals include improving secure access to data, increasing employee productivity, managing patient demographic information, and automating and sharing business processing and integrating service delivery across multiple platforms.

Another state department is moving to robotic process automation (RPA) as a way of improving employee service and efficiency.

The Department of State Hospitals (DSH) is in "initial stages" of work with New York-based RPA vendor UiPath, a spokesman for the agency confirmed to Techwire via email. DSH joins the California State Association of Counties Excess Insurance Authority (CSAC EIA), a joint powers authority that provides insurance to roughly 2,000 public agencies statewide; and the California Energy Commission, which issued a Request for Offer (RFO) due last month, seeking IT consulting services to provide UiPath RPA. The California Department of Technology (CDT) will host the company for a workshop as part of its Digital Services Innovation Academy through July 25 for a day of RPA training. Among the takeaways:

• DSH needed to speed up pre-admission for jail inmates declared incompetent to stand trial (IST), who had been referred to the department for “competency restoration services,” DSH spokesman Ralph Montano told Techwire via email. The agency manages the largest inpatient forensic mental health hospital system in the nation and has 200 technologists at five hospitals.

• The department did a procurement to find a tool for automating “the process of receiving and validating all documents that are legally required to admit a patient,” Montano said, and three resellers responded. UI Path was selected based on its proposal and market research, and its technology procured in May at a cost of nearly $31,000.

In April, Techwire reported that DSH had reduced the number of days between commitment and admission for IST defendants from 71 to 20 by mapping the department’s process and eliminating redundancy — helping resolve a lawsuit over the issue. However, it’s unclear whether selection of UiPath contributed to resolving the suit.

• The project should “begin in earnest” this summer, with initial deployment late this year, Montano said, adding that DSH “currently does not have a third party vendor contracted to work with this technology.” Sacramento solutions provider Trinity Technology Group Inc. joined UiPath to work on programming on the CSAC EIA deployment.

• DSH will use UiPath technology to validate the receipt of legal documents from external sources, as well as the transfer of complete packets of material from the cloud to its Pre-admissions Reservation Tracking System (PaRTS). The information will be synchronized with its legacy Admissions, Discharge and Transfer System (ADT) mainframe. The department, Montano said, is “pursuing other forms of automation and orchestration as a means of gaining efficiencies.”

“Entering data coming from external sources into the DSH system is a manual and time-consuming process. With the use of a tool such as UiPath, we anticipate a reduction in the average handling time on this manual process by 65 percent,” Montano said, indicating the process should free caseworkers to pursue “higher-value tasks.”