By World Healthcare Journal-
How Fortesium’s Regulator Online was a game changer for the Nursing and Midwifery Council
With 30-40 years' experience of delivering successful IT solutions to large institutions, Fortesium’s founders have a history of delivering on time and on cost. Focusing on large scale programmes with a broad reach, this SME delivers on a huge scale.
Its most successful product is the development of Regulator Online for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, designed to ease the administrative task of maintaining the register for registering the UK’s 700,000 nurses. Previously all done by paper and post, Regulator Online has transformed the NMC, reducing costs and tightening procedures with an extremely resilient system.
“Our USP is that we understand the regulatory industry, which is the same whether it’s for chiropodists or dentists,” says co-founder Julian Khan. “We look at it from the IT consultants’ point of view with a knowledge of the clients and the regulatory requirements. ”
With 9 years’ experience with the NMC, Fortesium has revolutionised the organisation’s business. “We handle huge amounts of data on a par with easyJet and ebay,” says Rob. “We pump out nearly three million emails a year and up to six million data messages in September and March when the nursing courses finish, and take at least £50m per annum in card payments.
“We handle huge amounts of data on a par with easyJet and ebay”
“From a nurse’s point of view, we have enabled them to register on the same day they qualify instead of the process taking 2-4 weeks via post. Verification of registrants’ right to work is also transferable to other countries via a recently deployed newly generated system, so if an overseas regulator abroad signs in to another NMC portal they can see a nurse’s qualification and state on the register in real time. It’s bringing regulation into the 21st century. ”
Revalidation and fitness to practice
Built around the client requirements Regulator Online provides complete, flexible, modular applications which manage and interact with the register and with key client stakeholders both internal and external. With nine separate components, the system comprehensively manages all aspects of regulation in any sector.
Having worked with EDS, AIG, Norwich Union / Aviva, the experience of Fortesium’s directors with complex systems is comprehensive. “The solution we have provided for the NMC is what we call an 'enterprise solution' because it is huge,” Julian says. “These days, clients have the same problems – huge amounts of data that needs ordering to streamline processes.
“With the NMC it’s really important to remember we have regulation in healthcare for safety because there are situations where people have fallen through the gaps. There have been quite serious issues with people being unsafe to practice. Having a system with this level of data and this complexity with the security that sits behind it means that we can all feel a lot safer. ”
Once a complaint has been filed on the website, it triggers a case for fitness to practice. As in medicine, the complaint is triaged, information is gathered via the system and legal support is accessed via a separate portal which leads to either a final hearing or an exoneration.
"It’s really important to remember we have regulation in healthcare for safety"
“Different regulators have different procedures, so the great thing about Regulator Online is that you have a set of modules that can be easily customised to match the problems of the individual regulation. With fitness to practice, it is an individual’s career on the line so there is a huge amount of work and some cases can take a long time due to the in depth nature of the investigation and conclusion. This involves the regulator interacting with barristers, witnesses etc. But we’ve built a customisable workflow that can be adjusted and we are always adding new features to it,” adds Rob.
Cutting-edge technology can now be added allowing passport photos to be uploaded to the site, double checking with KYC (Know Your Customers) providers so that the registrant is indeed who they say they are. This can also be used at registration and testing centres instead of relying on passports that are brought on the day. “This means that as soon as a registrant arrives through the door we know who they are,” says Julian.
Taking Regulator Online internationally
Fortesium has just signed a contract with the NMC that allows them to sell the products internationally, so all the regulation already in place will sit behind any system that is bought overseas. “For example, in Dubai, there is no concept of revalidation for nurses coming into the country, so the Dubai Health Authority is really interested in Regulator Online because it resolves this issue easily for them,” Julian says.
“The NMC is the largest healthcare regulator in the world, so the opportunity to have their system is a huge plus point. We are also working with international consultancies to design bespoke regulatory systems in certain geographies, adapting the NMC system to a particular market and installing an entire regulatory system from scratch. ”
Built on Microsoft products, even the most unreliable of national infrastructure can be assured of fidelity of data. “In developing health economies where insurance or self-pay models are more prevalent, being able to advertise that your nurses are regulated to UK standards is a huge competitive advantage,” says Rob. “You can create also an entire social network for that group of people, as well as selling training and courses at the same time. It’s a huge benefit for any healthcare system in the world. ”
How It Works
Administrator is a management and reporting module that allows a full search of the register with cross referencing facilities, document uploading, case histories, managing diaries and tracking and managing tasks. The Fitness to Practise Procedure allows complaints to be submitted, triaged and processed online, while Identity Checker combines reading of government-issued ID documents with webcam live image validation for complete security for the register. The Payment Manager facilitates annual subscriptions and other payments, and Register Search allows detailed search and reporting functions from the database. It is also a form generator, diary and communication tool too, particularly important for reminding registrants when they need to revalidate.
Members can create an E-Portfolio that also highlights training gaps and recommends courses, while HEI Portal enables newly qualified professionals to be registered as soon as they qualify, validating data during processing. The portal allows registrants to apply for inclusion in the register and to enter their details and documents.
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