ManTech's VRV2000 tracks vital N.H. records

COMPANY: ManTech Advanced Systems International
PURPOSE: To provide rapid access to, and accurate and efficient tracking of, all vital records information throughout the state of New Hampshire

APPLICATION: >New Hampshire Vital Record Vision 2000 System (VRV2000) -- In December 1996, IT services company ManTech Advanced Systems International, Elkridge, Md., won a competitive RFP to design, develop and provide systems integration for a groundbreaking new vital records system for the state of New Hampshire.

Development of the New Hampshire Vital Record Vision 2000 System (VRV2000) commenced in March 1997. Working with the New Hampshire Bureau of Vital Statistics, as well as state agencies such as registrars and town clerks, hospitals, medical examiners and funeral homes, ManTech completed the project on time and on budget in just one calendar year.

VRV2000 was financially sponsored by the New Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services. When fully implemented, the system will be in use at approximately 400 sites across the state, including 25 hospitals, more than 100 funeral homes, and 234 local registrars and state offices.

The objective of the new system was to help reduce costs in paper storage, and to improve efficiency in the state-wide recording and tracking of all birth, death, marriage and divorce vital events records. The new system was also tasked with increasing the speed and accuracy in vital records registration and retrieval, and reducing the huge amount of storage space required to maintain the state's historical records.>/P>

Typical of most states, vital records tracking and retrieval in New Hampshire was a largely manual process. For example, when a certificate of death was required, it would most likely mean rifling through paperwork and sending the record to the appropriate state agencies via courier. To register a child for school, a parent would have to go to the town where the child was born to obtain a copy of the birth certificate. It was deemed that automation of these processes would result in savings of time, money and storage space.

One of the first development challenges was the fact that a great deal of paper-based historical data, legacy applications and current applications would have to be cleansed and then integrated into the new Oracle-based system. "At the same time, the current applications would have to continue running during the rollout," explained Rose Trasatti, business area manager for Vital Record Systems.

The development tools used
for the project were chosen primarily as a result of the state's RFP requirements. PowerBuilder was mandated as the development tool, while Sybase's S-Designor was chosen for database design and modeling. ManTech professionals were well-versed in these tools, so only some supplemental training in PowerBuilder was added prior to beginning the project.

Gordon Steever, vice president of business development at ManTech, attributes the project's success largely to the "people factor." "We were lucky enough to have good skill levels and good development people on our team," he said.

Another major reason the project went as well as it did, according to Steever, was that "We had a champion in New Hampshire's state registrar, Karen Grady," he said. "Karen served as a focal point, someone we could go to when we needed to discuss any issues we might have. She did a very good job in coordinating things with the users, and making sure we had access to the users and the information they required."

"Karen handled a lot of the interfacing with the users, including hospitals, funeral directors, medical examiners, local registrars, and town or city clerks," added Trasatti. "The users also came to [the offices in] Elkridge periodically to review the system and the screens, which helped to ensure that we were all on the same track."

Rollout of the system commenced in June 1998. Also responsible for setting up each of the remote sites with access to the central database server, ManTech has faced a new set of learning challenges at each site.

"For example, there were a number of different methods of connectivity to the database server, including IP tunneling or direct dial-up modem," explained Trasatti. "There were also different workstations, different printers. Because each site is unique, it presented a bit of a challenge at installation."

The project has been deemed successful, and a newer version with added functionality is being rolled out now. According to Steever, many other states have been looking at the system as well. "The turnaround time for when a customer needs to get a copy of a certificate, whether birth, marriage, divorce or death, has been greatly reduced," added Trasatti.

The VRV2000 system consists of two parts. An Eastman imaging system, used for genealogical records, enables records prior to 1948 to be imaged and stored in a WORM jukebox. Users can view or print these records out as images. Another subsystem handles all records from 1948 forward. These records are available electronically, allowing the customer to print out a text copy.

Prior to the VRV2000, much of the records updating, tracking and retrieval process was manual, supplemented by only a few automated applications. Additionally, the customer would have had to go directly to the town of the event to get a copy of the required certificate.

With the VRV2000 in place, a customer can go to any town in New Hampshire to get a copy of a certificate. Another success factor is that vital records information is now sent directly to other state agencies, such as the Social Security Administration and The National Center for Health Statistics.

Because all vital events must be registered with the state, the ability to handle records electronically has greatly reduced the manual activity previously involved, and has also met the state's goal of reducing the amount of paper being generated.

"What used to be a very time-consuming process in registering certain events with the state can now be done in a matter of minutes," said Steever.

"Having one electronic version of a record in a system has also helped to ensure the integrity of the data," added Trasatti. "We now produce one copy of a record electronically, so there is no doubt as to what is the most accurate and legal copy."

-- Deborah Melewski


Karen Grady

Rose Trasatti

Jeremy Pinkham

Joe Lopez

Storage costs
for paper records have been greatly reduced; customers are provided with more rapid access to birth, death, marriage and divorce records; and data integrity has been greatly increased

Sybase S-Designor and PowerBuilder 5.0

Client/server-based Oracle platforms across the state of New Hampshire

Keane Report:

ManTech Advanced Systems International successfully implemented the VRV2000 System that enabled the New Hampshire Bureau of Vital Statistics to administer and maintain the state-wide system for recording and tracking more than 40,000 annual vital events.

The solution has increased the accuracy and efficiency of vital record registration and retrieval, yielding higher levels of service, cost and space savings, and preserved historic data. Research time has also been reduced from hours to minutes by eliminating the need for city clerks to thumb through drawers of records to retrieve a single record. Inquiries that might have taken more than 15 minutes to research, retrieve and copy can now be done over the phone in a matter of minutes, making the bureau one of New Hampshire's most respected agencies.

Team Members:Keith Custer, Joe Zucchero, Tammy Slocum and Richard Mondor