Posted: Sep 27, 2022
FlowForma helps streamline the execution of regulatory responsibilities for a Canadian Healthcare Regulatory College that had been struggling with a legacy database system
The College of Paramedics of Nova Scotia (CPNS) is a statutory body responsible for registration and licensing processes that ensure only qualified paramedics are permitted to practise in the region. Established in 2017, it inherited a registrant database that was no longer fit for purpose, run by an inflexible and expensive service provider. Data collection points in member application and renewal processes were not aligned with what CPNS needed; repairs to broken processes took too long to fix.
“There always seemed to be limitations from the provider’s database and we couldn’t make something flow the way we wanted it to flow. We had to adapt to what the system could do; the system couldn’t adapt to what we wanted,” said Karl Kowalczyk, Executive Director/Registrar. “And when we wanted to shift away from their database, we had to pay to get our data back. It felt like we didn’t even own our own data.”
CPNS spent six months investigating a replacement solution, eventually selecting a cloud-based Register Management System from Pontem Innovations, with FlowForma as the crucial forms-building component. “The pain point for a lot of regulatory bodies like CPNS is that their systems are not flexible enough to meet their needs. They want something that can evolve with the organisation, have better reporting and deliver a better user experience,” explained Rick Dowell, President and Co-Founder of Pontem.
With Pontem’s solution, registrations start on the College’s website after which an automated authentication process allows approved registrants access to a self-service portal. This contains all the FlowForma forms for other processes, such as renewals and evidence of continuing competency, achieved though ongoing education.
Data is stored on Azure, the cloud platform that benefits from Microsoft’s billion-dollar investment in security and compliance. It provides a safe and resilient environment for external users to complete forms within the registrant portal and the College’s website.
Held in Microsoft SharePoint, all the forms use standard FlowForma business rules and are tagged to individual registrants. The College can set approval requirements to ensure appropriate people inside the organisation are involved and that the status of different processes is constantly tracked.
The solution has radically improved reporting, including the College’s contributions to the Canadian Institute for Health Information and the Department of Health and Wellness, which provides oversight to health services in the province. Automated dashboard reporting is part of the system, with Power BI analytics customised to the College requirements. Around 20 data points from the old system were superfluous to requirements and discarded. The data is more focused now and easier to assemble in reports.
Like a lot of healthcare organisations, CPNS is under pressure to react quickly to regulatory changes. Time saved from a new-found agility in building forms with FlowForma has been invaluable and given the organisation much greater flexibility. Documents can be moved back and forth between a small internal team, without having to attach them to emails.
The new agility made a difference during the pandemic when legislation was enacted to license new paramedic graduates more quickly. CPNS was able to respond and used FlowForma to develop an application process in a week and a half. “It would have taken two to three months with the old system and cost between $3-5,000,” said Kowalczyk. “The difference with FlowForma is like night and day; it’s saved us tons of time all the way around, from admin processing to the reporting side of things.”
Perhaps the biggest win is that one basic application form can be repurposed for multiple use cases. It’s a templated approach that allows for new flows to be quickly and easily created, something that was impossible with the old system. Future plans include a flow that aligns with the country’s labour mobility laws, which allows Canadians to move from one province or territory to another and still be able to register for work.
Like a lot of organisations, CPNS is discovering benefits of the cloud, principally the agility to transform business processes and address new regulatory requirements more quickly. “Having native cloud solutions seems to be the pathway businesses are going and I’m happy to say that it has worked well for us,” said Karl Kowalczyk.
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