Innovating in tax
The Innovation Fund awarded a grant to a national revenue agency seeking new ways to manage its growing workload. The agency wanted to explore robotic process automation (RPA), which uses specialized computer programs, or software robots, to automate and standardize repeatable business processes. RPA can pay off on multiple fronts—improving customer experience by enabling faster, more accurate processing, enhancing employee experience by reducing tedious and unfulfilling “busywork,” and fueling higher efficiency for the agency itself.
While RPA tools can often be implemented quickly, organizations realize greater long-term benefit through a more strategic, big-picture approach. Working with Accenture, the tax authority made significant progress in building a strategic vision and plan for intelligent automation.
With that in mind, Accenture facilitated a discovery workshop—collaborating with the client to identify potential use cases for automation and machine learning. From there, they developed a proof-of-concept (POC) plan for designing, building and procuring a license, as well as setting up infrastructure to develop prototypes. The team also created a working demo that showcases how RPA can complete tasks more quickly and accurately, a message storyboard and video to bring the POC journey to life and a business case and findings report for agency executives.
The project has sparked an effort to stand up an RPA Center of Excellence to serve as the focal point for RPA expertise, best practices and training.
Using AI to predict and manage patient flow
The past five years have brought a significant growth in the number and complexity of patients at Hospital Albert Einstein in Brazil. Having already established a program to improve patient flow productivity, the hospital partnered with Accenture to help define how it could apply sophisticated AI components and new operating models.
Accenture delivered an emergency department (ED) discharge propensity model that offers real-time monitoring of the probability for patients to be hospitalized. The team also created a bed assignment optimization algorithm based on business and medical rules. In addition, it created a control tower application with more than 15 dashboards and functionalities for use by bed operations staff.
The project rapidly made an impact. With the ED discharge propensity model proving 94 percent accurate, the hospital has increased capacity by adding nine virtual beds within six months. The innovations are also enabling streamlined, transparent communication across units regarding patient moves and needs. Longer term, it’s supporting more agile decision making on capacity issues.
Retiring to blockchain
Another Innovation Fund project explored how blockchain can help address longstanding data management challenges among state retirement systems. This state has a network of 10+ retirement systems that must share data with each other about their members. But because mechanisms aren’t standardized, sharing data requires a time-consuming process of manual reconciliation across systems. The Innovation Fund team explored an exciting concept: moving to a blockchain network that would eliminate that inefficiency.
The team hosted a design thinking workshop with one of the participating retirement systems to review the current reciprocal system data-sharing processes, identify pain points and discuss potential solutions. With the findings in hand, Accenture and a network of other private-sector partners collaborated on a prototype that demonstrated how the system could “mutualize” shared member data through blockchain.
Beyond that, the team presented a blockchain overview and prototype demonstration to five of the state’s retirement systems. All five agreed to work with Accenture to develop and finalize the prototype—and transition to a pilot.
Designing out homelessness
England has seen a 73 percent increase in “rough sleepers,” or people sleeping in spaces not designed for habitation. Through the Innovation Fund, the Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) partnered with Accenture to take a fresh approach using innovative digital technology.
The innovation? Using digital technology to engage the public to become part of the solution.