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Feasibility Study and Design of the HANTDOC Co-operative for Family Doctors
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In December 1995 a group of 6 GPs in the Basingstoke area of North Hampshire established a small committee to respond to the Government's Out-of-Hours initiative that aimed to ease the work pressures on GPs. The committee had identified about 80 GPs in 23 medical practices in the area who might be willing to participate.
In late December, Managing Change was retained to prepare the business case. Phase 1 activities included analysing the needs and motivation of potential members and the Health Authority, researching for similar schemes, identifying strategic business options, high level process design, and a first cut profitability model. The preliminary proposal was approved in principle by the Health Authority and by all 80 doctors who then provided finance to fund a more detailed proposal.
This detailed analysis was undertaken during the second month. It involved designing and modelling business processes, work load sensitivity analysis, defining the organisational structure and supporting business systems, assessing delivery options including IT requirements for an in-house option, estimating the organisational budget of income and expenditure, profitability modelling, risk analysis, and preparing reports and presentations. At a further meeting the comprehensive proposals were presented and within days 74 GPs committed to the scheme.
During the 3rd month, full implement planning was undertaken, including detailed negotiations with the Berkshire Ambulance Trust who were retained to manage the core processes of call handling, dispatch, and response, including the provision of cars, drivers, and IT equipment. Activities included specifying the out-sourcing requirements, defining draft contract and contractual performance standards, validating the ambulance trust's proposal for a Managed Service, and preparing an implementation plan.
The 6 non participating GPs joined the scheme within 6 months along with a further 10 from beyond the original geographical boundary. The detailed proposal gained a Highly Commended award in the BMA / GlaxoWellcome Out-of-Hours Innovation competition.
For full details of HANTSDOC, follow the link.
The initial investigation into Electronic Document Handling centred on US insurance companies as they were reporting enhanced productivity and improved customer service with these technologies. A feasibility study into the potential within the Trust Company was undertaken using techniques such as work measurement and process mapping and redesign.
This initial investigation showed that in the UK with its lower labour costs, such advanced but expensive technology could not be justified at that point in time. However, by projecting forward, reducing IT costs lowered the risks and increased the potential for smaller systems. From a shortlist of two supplier's proposals, one was selected and a successful allocation was made to the Directors for development funds for a pilot system within the Unit Trust (Managed Funds) Division.
The pilot achieved a significant 100% productivity improvement, fast 24 hour customer service, higher staff morale and improved management control. These were measure improvements, made by comparing the before and after work situations. Customers also noticed the difference - within the first week we received 2 letters praising the excellent service.
The Post Implementation Review also highlighted unexpected, but positive changes in staff motivation and work handling. I presented the project at the Optical Imaging Systems conference in May 1989 and the project was written up as a case study for the National Computing Centre (NCC) report on Document Image Processing Systems.
For full details of the Unit Trust WF & DIP research and pilot, follow the link.
In 93/94 I undertook a self sponsored MBA at the
Henley Management College,
England, choosing the Active MBA as I found it matched my style of
Follow the link for more details of the MBA course content and the various assignments and projects.
Trust Company's first PC was introduced in the early 1980s and within 10 years the company had over 1,000 PCs with many of them networked and with electronic mail. By the early 1990s many of the PC users were frustrated with the lack of integration and the basic nature of the software, even the new MS Windows. Under my direction a project team was created to develop the next generation of office automation system that would not only address personal productivity but also departmental and organisational efficiency and a effectiveness.
We conducted surveys and monitored how people used the technology to carry out every day tasks. We also reviewed the industry offerings against a desktop Architecture but were very disappointed with most so-called office automation systems. Microsoft Windows helped, but it only provided some of the layers in the architecture (it's no different today).
The project decided to standardised on HP NewWave desktop software running over Microsoft Windows. NewWave is an object oriented system giving a look and feel similar to a Mac computer. A range of personal applications software were chosen but we also needed value added applications that automated common company processes such as recruitment. We teamed up with the Corporate Systems department to develop these applications, with IT Operations for on-going support and with IT Training for user training. A critical building block was a marketing programme to entice users to purchase the new office system. We did this by segmenting the user community and creating a number of "desks".
To read more about the End User Interface project, follow the link.
LOLA was a local government consortium formed in 1970 to provide IT support for 4 London Councils (or Boroughs). LOLA was pioneering in its use of the then new and advanced IMS DB/DC, IBM's real time transaction and integrated database software.
Whilst legally a local government organisation, LOLA was physically, organisationally and culturally separate to its 4 owners. It was located in Enfield, Middlesex and recruited many people from industry and commerce. It had a pioneering culture that was aiming to be the first UK organisation to go live with then then new IMS. Not only did it do this, but it astounded the IBM development team in the US with complexity of its data bases and the volume of its transaction levels. More importantly, it supported the officers of the councils by providing a central authoritative and up-to-date information bank on people and property, thus helping to provide a co-ordinated service to the public.
LOLA came to fruition from the 10 man year Long Term Computer Project initiated by the London Borough of Haringey. The result of the feasibility study was a report that set out in conceptual terms the functional and data architecture required to support each of the Borough's 18 department. At the heart of the architecture were two key cross-referenced databases holding persons and properties. These then linked to 9 support databases for housing, purchasing, rates (local property tax), education, etc.. The report, known internally as the Teal Book, formed the central part of the Statement of Requirements and the Invitation to Tender.
The estimated cost of over £1m for the hardware and 45 man years for the development, made the proposals unviable for a single council. Fortunately, Haringey already belonged to the London North-East Computer Scheme, a consortium of 3 local councils that also included Hackney and Tower Hamlets, both of whom agreed to support the proposals. They were then joined by the 4th council, Hillingdon. All-in-all, LOLA supports the needs of 1m of London's citizens, 0.3m properties, and 34,000 employees.
The tender was won by IBM who proposed the then new IMS Data Communication (DC) / Data Base (DB) system. The DC part was a real time and batch transaction processing system with fast recovery to a transaction level. The DB part was DL/1, a hierarchical database system that supported the separation of logical and physical databases. LOLA exploited this with a number of very flat physically data bases - mainly 2 level with level 2 being cross-reference pointers. Over these were mapped logical databases, often transversing 3 or 4 physical databases. Applications accessed the logical view and were thus protected from many changes to the physical implementation.
Organisationally, LOLA had 4 main teams: Applications Development, Applications Support, Systems Support, and Operations. The writer was in the Applications Support team that was responsible for database design and middleware software. Incredibly, the whole system ran (just about!) on an IBM model 50 with 512K of memory and 300 MB of disk, though that was quickly upgraded to a model 158 with twice the capacity. Applications were written in PL/1.
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