HBF upgrades to fight fraud and Y2K

HBF, one of Australia's largest health insurers, is in the process of a $30 million systems upgrade to establish year 2000 compliance.

Together with core systems, the upgrade involves the replacement of Perth-based HBF's information retrieval system -- built in-house in 1990 -- with an SAS data warehousing system worth about $250,000.

Cathy Whitehead, project manager, DMR consulting group, said the old information retrieval system was not 2000 compliant, nor was it user-friendly.

HBF started testing its new systems this month and will continue to test in three stages -- function and systems, integration, and implementation -- until July. The system is scheduled to go live at the end of September. Whitehead said the testing process would reflect the fact that a data warehousing system is being built at the same time as the new core systems.

She said the dual project resulted in complications, since HBF does not have a clear picture of what data will exist on the new core system, nor of how data existing on the old system will transfer to the new system.

There is a close liaison between staff working on data warehousing and staff working on the core system to ensure that old data is mapped correctly for the new system.

Testing is about to go ahead on the first of three releases of the data warehousing project. This will include tests on the extraction process, the testing of normal reports and the testing of some of the first of the OLAP models.

Subsequent releases of the data warehouse will be built and tested as further core system application components are delivered.

It is planned that all HBF customer information, including financials, will be housed in the new data warehousing system. The testing process will involve nearly 200 staff, including HBF staff and IT specialists from DMR consulting group. HBF has a contract with DMR worth roughly $9 million over two years, Whitehead said.

"This upgrade will make the system state of the art, and will make detection of fraud easier." She said the SAS software lets the insurer more easily scan the data for trends.

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