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SA Births Deaths and Marriages Registry brings Funeral Directors 'Online'

Major computer enhancements, currently being introduced by the South Australian Births Deaths and Marriages Registry, are set to substantially streamline the reporting of bereavements by the State's funeral directors.

Under the initiative - designed and implemented by leading Adelaide software house PROMADIS - these funeral homes will, for the first time, be able to enter the data they are required to collect directly into BDM's central IT system called PROMADIS Raven.

This will be done online using the internet. And as Deputy Registrar Helen Paues explains, "it will enable us to now process gathered information far more quickly, accurately and securely and with valuable cost efficiencies."

Historically, the information that funeral directors are obliged by legislation to source, at a person's time of death, has been posted or delivered to BDM on standard forms that have typically been typed or filled out by hand. Such paperwork has then been collated and, on a daily basis, passed to a data capture service for conversion to disc. Only then being input to the central system for validation and recording.

"There were many disadvantages with this traditional approach and late last year we began a detailed review of the possible options we might have in making the process far more automated and efficient", Ms Paues explained.

"One alternative was to provide each funeral director with a standard software program, to run on their own computer, with this linking into PROMADIS Raven as and when necessary. However, our conclusion was that this would only partly address the problem and, in turn, introduce its own challenges.

"We were, for example concerned that inevitable future changes to our business processes would mean we would have to regularly update the issued software. We'd then have to circulate a new version to everyone concerned and also ensure that they were then using it.  In addition, we would still not be properly addressing the issue of data accuracy and increased efficiency for all involved.

"Our preferred solution was therefore one in which the funeral firms would link into our central system. This approach would enable the PROMADIS Raven system to validate all data as it was being entered and to automatically query possible errors and anomalies there and then.  A capability that would mean we would no longer need to constantly interrupt the funeral directors in chasing up queries."

"Also any changes in business procedures would only require the modification of PROMADIS Raven, which would be essentially invisible to the outside world and would not require us to ship new versions of programs all over the State.  Software development and testing for the funeral directors application was completed in August of this year which also saw the start of a phased roll out program. Funeral Directors were then canvassed to determine those which might be willing to help pilot the new initiative.

"The enthusiastic response received has being quite exceptional and clearly demonstrates the merits of what we are doing", Ms Paues said. The full roll out of the system will be completed, on schedule, by the end of September.

As PROMADIS Product Manager for PROMADIS Raven, Darren Shaw notes, "PROMADIS Raven is now in use in The Northern Territory and ACT as well as South Australia and our continual product development strategy is always carried out in close partnership with our clients."