Health Canada gives records management a boost

Health Canada is about to give disease prevention and healthy living a boost by centralizing its records management system.

Waterloo, Ont.-based collaboration and knowledge management software manufacturer Open Text Corp. Wednesday said that Health Canada has decided to use its iRIMS records management solution throughout the agency.

The government agency decided to partner with Open Text as part of its aXs Project to create a single and efficient records management system capable of handling both electronic and paper based documents.

“”The scope of the project is to manage all corporate memory,”” said aXs Project lead Darrell Schroer.

Prior to this project Health Canada had a formal records management infrastructure that dealt with physical records within the department. It consisted of records offices staffed by office clerks that managed the documentation, the filing of it, the classification, retention and disposition according to government guidelines. But there wasn’t really any way to manage the volumes of electronic documents that are created on a day to day basis within the organization, Schroer said.

The government recognized that it needed to manage its information better, said aXs Project manager Chantale Cobbold. There is a considerable amount of records generated by department employees every day and the information they contain is often critical. In the interest of accountability it’s important for the department to be able to pinpoint how decisions are arrived at, she said.

“”At the same time (the new system) is going to have several benefits for the actual employees,”” Cobbold said. “”It’s going to give them version control of their documents. They will be able to share their documents a lot easier and they’re not going to have to worry about the records management portion of it. We’re going to make sure that the applications take care of that.””

That’s the primary strength of the iRIMS application, said Open Text record management products specialist Liz Kofsky.

“”When you mention the words ‘records management,’ the average user starts to shudder. This application handles it for them,”” she said.

The solution also insures that the proper classification and categorization schedules are applied to all information, Kofsky said. All records, no matter what type of media will have the proper classification and retention applied to them.

So far nearly half of Health Canada’s records staff have begun using the iRIMS solution, Schroer said. The roll out was relatively painless because the records staff had already been using other records management systems.

There is a larger hurdle just ahead of the department though, since nearly 10,000 desktops are about to be introduced to IBM’s Domino.Doc. The electronic records management platform will be an unfamiliar tool to most of the users, as are the records management practices that will arrive with it. Open Text is also involved in this part of the project.

The company, with Health Canada’s collaboration, has intergrated iRIMS with Domino.Doc. Once installed on the desktop the integrated system will allow users access to iRIMS records management directly from Domino.Doc. This is meant to allow Health Canada employees to apply records management functionality to any documents and records within the electronic repository. The system will also be able to handle multiple classifications of records.

Domino.Doc is still in the customization stage, Schroer said.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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