Case study 1 - Programme management & Business Process Reengineering

Client: New Zealand Ministry of Health, Needs Assessment and Service Co-ordination agencies (NASCs)

Deliverables: feasibility study, business case, business process redesign, Procurement management (RFI and RFP), stakeholder consultation, business requirements, establishment of PMO project management, programme management, new data standards, data migration, implementation, vendor management, CRM implementation, order to pay process redesign, national disability information system.

The National Needs Assessment and Service Coordination Information System – ‘Socrates’

From 2006 to 2008, the New Zealand Ministry of Health funded a major programme of work culminating in the development of a web-based National Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) Information System, named ‘Socrates’. This was the first national database of disability support services in New Zealand, and possibly the first in the world. The programme was in fact a complete redesign of business processes and required significant cultural change in terms of the roles of key players in the sector.  It also supported greater recognition that disability services are not entitlements to be doled out but tailored supports for the independence of people with disabilities.
The Needs Assessment and Service Coordination agencies are known as NASCs. NASCs facilitate a process with a disabled person and their family to identify their strengths and disability support needs. They give information, plan supports, and provide access to supports including family and community supports and those funded by the Ministry of Health. Socrates collects information from the 15 Ministry of Health-funded NASCs and stores it securely in a central database. Relevant information is in turn sent to the Ministry of Health’s payment processor, HealthPAC.

Hague Consulting Limited’s role as Programme Manager

Hague Consulting Ltd was contracted by the Ministry of Health to manage the Socrates programme. This included the work to design, develop and implement Socrates and the new data standards and business processes required. Hague set up and managed a Programme Management Office and test lab at Hague's offices in Wellington.  We managed all stakeholder management across concurrent projects, major business process change, data cleansing, database consolidation, process standardisation and new data standards.  This work involved 19 diverse organisations ranging from Invercargill to Whangarei and including a Ministry, DHBs, Charitable Trusts and private companies.  We did all of that over two and a half years for a fixed price and completed it on time and on budget for a solution that had never been implemented before anywhere.

Why was this information system required?

Up until Socrates was developed, the 15 NASC information systems were primarily provided details of services to be funded to the Ministry of Health (HealthPAC) and recorded very basic details about clients. Each NASC operated a separate standalone database. The information collected in the separate NASC databases was not comprehensive or in a standardised forma. It was of limited use to the Ministry in defining the demographics of clients and the services they receive. Recording the information and sending it to HealthPAC was based on a combination of paper based and electronic methods. This process was labour intensive and could result in data errors and data loss which directly impact on provider payments. Hague recognised this problem and designed an improved process and provided requirements for a system to support that process.

What does Socrates do?

Socrates collects and stores accurate information from each NASC and sends relevant parts of this information electronically to the provider, and to the Ministry of Health. This benefits providers, NASCs, and DSD. It also helps reduce the number of provider invoice lines rejected by the Ministry of Health's payment systems due to data errors. In particular Socrates:
  • Creates a common database of people with disabilities receiving DSD-funded support services
  • Records consistent information in the common database, on the needs assessment and service coordination information for people with disabilities and the costs of services delivered
  • Creates clear audit trails for DSD-funded disability support services
  • Generates reports for both DSD and NASCs to assist budget forecasting and service planning
  • Delivers electronically validated information to HealthPAC in order that payments can occur.
The Socrates system was built from scratch by The Simpl Group Ltd,, a software services company that have developed a number of innovative solutions in the healthcare industry.

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