NYC system performs heroics
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Nov 20, 2001
A New York City document-imaging information system that processes claims
and contracts has saved the government nearly $40 million during the past
seven years, reduced the time for settling claims, and proved helpful following
the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In 1994, OAISIS, or the Omnibus Automated Image Storage and Information
System, was installed in the Office of the Comptroller (www.comptroller.nyc.ny.us) to automate the paper-based process of handling
claims against the city.
The system was needed because it took so long to process the 25,000
to 30,000 annual claims for example, property damage or personal injury
caused by a city vehicle and to register contracts, said Rod Lustan,
program manager for Chantilly, Va.-based Integic Corp., which developed,
designed and maintains the system.
As a result, the average settlement time has been cut from more than
a year to about three months, he said, adding that it also has reduced the
amount of paper used, improved customer service and elevated employee morale.
"As far as cost savings go, in claims settlements, the faster you can
settle a claim, the cheaper it becomes," Lustan said.
Since being upgraded with Integic's e.Power business logic software,
the system also automatically routes work so that claims are directed more
efficiently to the appropriate person and so all necessary documents, including
photographs, can be accessed electronically at a worker's desktop. Lustan
said supervisors can even see where bottlenecks are occurring and reassign
work to other employees online.
Because the system can also track data, the comptroller's office has
created a fraud unit to investigate questionable claims.
When the attacks occurred, Lustan said the comptroller's office building,
which is two blocks from "ground zero," was evacuated, but the servers remained
functional. Although the main and backup servers are located in the building,
data is backed up nightly and also kept off-site. He said the city and Integic
are accelerating development of a disaster recovery site in case of a catastrophe.
Two days after the attacks, he said the comptroller's office was able
to use the system to expedite emergency contracts needed for recovery efforts
and debris removal. He said it helped the office register the contracts
and make funds available quickly and efficiently.
Other city agencies are using OAISIS to process claims and for other
functions, Lustan said. For example, the Board of Education is using it
as a risk-management tool to capture data about possible hazards in schools
and perform safety evaluations. The Department of Aging, he said, plans
to use it to track and process senior citizens' applications for rent control.
Lustan said the system initially cost $7 million to install, which included
a multiyear maintenance contract.