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UnitedHealth Group speeds access to documents and saves up to $20 million with IBM ECM

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Published on Oct 10, 2012

Headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota, UnitedHealth Group (UHG) offers a broad range of healthcare products and services through its seven subsidiaries. The company posts annual revenues of close to USD100 billion and employs approximately 80,000 people who serve more than 70 million customers.

Challenge
Over the past decade, UHG has grown substantially through acquisitions. Many of the acquired companies had their own document management systems and maintenance became a serious issue. It was simply not cost-effective to administer 20 different systems, with each consuming the time of 5 to 10 IT staff members. In addition, the aging and disparate systems made it difficult to comply with stringent industry standards and regulations and prepare for pending healthcare reform. UHG sought a way to upgrade and unify the existing systems into a robust, scalable enterprisewide content management platform that helped streamline document access, improve content governance and retention, and enable rapid response to changing needs.

Solution
Working with IBM and IBM Business Partner Softech & Associates, Inc, UHG is implementing key components of the IBM Enterprise Content Management (ECM) software portfolio. Because the IBM technology supports open standards, it facilitates migration and upgrade of existing UHG systems to the IBM ECM platform. "IBM provides what I call plug-and-play architecture. If I have to add or remove capabilities five years down the road, I don't have to start from scratch. That's a huge value," says Dr. Subir (Sam) Mallick, manager for development and architecture in the UHG Document Management Solutions Group.

To enhance content search and retrieval, UHG uses IBM Content Collector software to capture and store emails in a central IBM FileNet® Content Manager repository, as well as move existing digital files from multiple systems into that same repository. For paper documents, IBM Datacap Taskmaster Capture software is being deployed to scan documents and faxes from thousands of remote offices into FileNet Content Manager. The software uses OCR technology to extract key information to categorize each document with more than 95-percent accuracy. For example, the Datacap tool scans customer complaint letters and attaches metadata, such as patient number and insurance company, to map each document image to the correct database records and workflow for prompt attention by the responsible customer service representative.

Upon full deployment, the system is projected to enhance governance and retention of billions of documents representing close to 500 TB of data. A sophisticated search engine is already enabling more than 40 thousand employees to find the content they need more quickly. UHG customers numbering in the millions can access their documents through solution integration with the "My UHG Portal" application.

Benefits
• Slashes the time required to access documents from days to seconds and saves up to USD20 million in physical storage costs
• Reduces risks of regulatory noncompliance with enhanced governance of the document life cycle
• Lowers IT maintenance cost and frees up IT staff members to support higher value system upgrade, migration and configuration tasks

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