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MEDS for e-Filing at the Department of Health
Charles McKenzie Consulting help the Department of Health move their filing into the electronic age and to prepare for the Freedom of Information Act.

Department of Health Logo
The Department of Health
  • Leads and drives forward change within the NHS
  • Continually improving standards of public health
  • Must comply with the Freedom of Information Act by 2005
  • Adopting eGovernment initiatives

Solution Offerings
  • Ease and speed of electronic filing
  • Fast searching facilities
  • Acts like a virtual directory with 'favourites' to speed the filing process
  • Transfer emails directly into MEDS
  • Establish workgroups for document sharing

The Department of Health (DH) has record keeping obligations under the terms of the Public Records Act and is aware of the impending impact on its record keeping of the Freedom of Information Act. Because of these, as well as the Modernising Government eBusiness directives and its own internal efficiency objectives, DH has developed an inhouse electronic record keeping solution, MEDS (Management of Electronic Documents Strategy). This is not a department-wide, ‘one size fits all’ solution, but one that is rolled out on a team by team basis. This enables each team to have control over their own file structure and the security of and access to their own virtual filing cabinet. MEDS is a server based solution with direct functional links from the user’s mailbox to his/her MEDS file office.

Project objectives
DH’s objective was to implement MEDS in each section of the Department by the end of 2003 in order that users felt comfortable and on board with this way of working by the time the Freedom of Information Act is fully implemented by January 2005. The in-house team were facing a tough challenge in meeting this target and additional resource and experience was felt necessary. The task of giving a MEDS solution to each of the many teams in the Department is a large one, involving an understanding of DH culture and practice, an analysis of record keeping requirements, the inter-personal skills required to get people on board with new ways of working, and the communication skills needed when training groups of new users. All this was to be achieved in parallel with managing the Change Programme, the most radical overhaul of the Department’s structure and working practices in its history.

Why Our Consultants?
Why Our Consultants? Although this was not primarily a technical project, Charles McKenzie Consulting’s background in client/server applications gave them a unique insight into the functionality of MEDS, which has been a valuable addition to the DH MEDS team. However, fundamental to the success of this project has been the ability to assess and analyse the requirements of each team, deliver a satisfactory solution, and train the team members to be comfortable users of the system. It is these largely non-technical skills which have enabled Charles McKenzie not only to get up to speed with all the requirements very quickly, but also to be invited to extend the contract and undertake additional evaluation and audit responsibilities within the project.

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