Installed at the GMC at the end of 2004, the system, which deals with the live file management of paper files, boxes, magnetic media and so on, from creation to final archive storage and destruction, is helping to keep this charity’s administration costs in check and also provide a faster service and better value for money for its customers.
According to Paul Maxwell, the GMC’s Records Manager: “Having decided that we needed to improve the efficiency of our paper-based records management, the GMC embarked on a review process – not least to see what systems existed that could help it meet its objectives.
“Essentially, we looked for a software-based solution that would remove our increasing administrative overheads. We wanted a solution where GMC staff could search for the information that they needed for themselves,” he said.
The GMC employs some 500 staff, who are involved in either the registration of doctors or the ‘fitness to practice process’, which involves the investigation of complaints against doctors. Most of these people are based at the GMC’s Manchester or London offices.
“The demands that are being made on the information we hold – as a consequence of the world we live in today – would have put enormous pressure on the traditional, manual system that we used to operate,” Maxwell said. “TranSearch’s online process enables any of our staff to search for information about a particular doctor and then request the relevant information in the form of physical files.
“In the past, the whole process would have taken longer and involved more resources because several members of our staff would have been involved in requesting and providing the necessary information. Now, the member of staff who requires the information can get it, using TranSearch.”
UK Software not only provided the GMC with the TranSearch system but its technical staff worked with the GMC to provide web-based functionality for the system including web pages that ‘wrap around’ the system, providing a user-friendly interface. Maxwell commented: “We feel that TranSearch is working very well and we’ve been delighted with the support and commitment we’ve received from UK Software staff.
“The TranSearch system has not only reduced the resources needed to provide the information that we need but it has also appreciably increased the speed with which that information is retrieved,” he continued.
“The TranSearch system interfaces well with the system that is provided by the organisation which stores the GMC’s files. Requests for information are transferred between the systems electronically – and this speeds up the supply of the relevant files.
“Indeed, the TranSearch system now allows us to track the progress of any enquiry and file,” Maxwell added. “So we can see the status of any request at any time – and know the times and dates of any and every delivery and collection of files.”
“We are delighted to be working with the GMC in this way – to help it in its vital role of protecting patients,” commented UK Software’s managing director, John Messeter.
“And, while we’re happy to link our software with any Electronic Document and Records Management (EDRM) system – including the one used by the GMC - we don’t want to be restricted, nor do we want to be regarded as being ‘biased’ to one specific EDRM system.
“Similarly, our clients are not tied to any one third party archivist. With co-operation TranSearch can be interfaced with any third party archivist system.”
About the General Medical Council (GMC)
Established under the Medical Act of 1858, the General Medical Council (GMC) registers doctors to practise medicine in the UK. Its purpose is to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine. The law gives the GMC four main functions under the Medical Act 1983:
• keeping up-to-date registers of qualified doctors
• fostering good medical practice
• promoting high standards of medical education
• dealing firmly and fairly with doctors whose fitness to practise is in doubt.
The GMC is the independent regulator for doctors in the UK. It controls entry to the medical register and sets the educational standards for medical schools. It also determines the principles and values that underpin good medical practice and takes firm but fair action where those standards have not been met.
It has strong and effective legal powers designed to maintain the standards the public have a right to expect of doctors. It does not protect the medical profession - their interests are protected by others. Its job is to protect patients.
Where any doctor fails to meet those standards, it acts to protect patients from harm - if necessary, by removing the doctor from the register and removing her/his right to practise medicine.
A registered charity, the GMC is independent of government as the dominant provider of healthcare in the UK; independent of domination by any single group; and is publicly accountable for the discharge of its functions. Its governing body, the Council, currently has 35 members of which 21 are doctors and 14 are lay members:
• 19 doctors elected by the doctors on the register
• 14 members of the public appointed by the NHS Appointments Commission
• two doctors appointed by educational bodies - the universities and medical royal colleges
The British Standards Institute (BSI) has presented the ISO 27001 (Information Security Standard) to the General Medical Council (GMC).
The ISO 27001 security standard involves an audit of the many ways information is handled within an organisation. This involves checking information is accurate, ensuring that confidentiality is maintained and that information is available when it is needed. Compliance with this standard provides assurance that the GMC is using best practice in handling information safely and securely. Achieving the standard is not a one-off event but involves ongoing assessment and review, and undertaking corrective action where necessary to ensure the effectiveness of procedures.
About UK Software
UK Software is an independent software house specialising in providing solutions – notably TranSearch® - for live file management of paper files, boxes, magnetic media and so on, from creation to final archive storage and destruction. Its products are based on barcode technology and handle creation, labeling, tracking, on-site storage management, off-site storage, on-line ordering and management reporting.
UK Software provides a complete solution, including pre-sales consultancy, installation, training and technical support. Its customers include accountants, international banks, government, consultants, legal companies and insurers. These users tend to have multiple sites / multiple departments and, typically, have hundreds of thousands of files and many thousands of file movements per month.
Further information from:
John Messeter, UK Software Ltd, +44 (0) 1843 609345
Shirley Barnett, PR Projects, +44 (0) 20 8202 7821