London, UK – May 23rd, 2012 – Thriving technology company Kainos has delivered a flexible, web-based bursary system to the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) in advance of new rules being introduced this September.

An early ‘soft launch’ of the system has enabled NHSBSA and 6,000 NHS students paid through the system to familiarise themselves with the simplified, online applications process, payments handling and monitoring before bursary rules change in the autumn.

NHSBSA, based in Newcastle upon Tyne, manages a broad range of central support services for NHS organisations. As part of a broader business transformation programme, it approached Kainos to replace an ‘antiquated’ and rigid legacy IT system used to process NHS student bursaries. This handled payments of more than £500 million for over 90,000 student nurses, midwives and other NHS professionals each year.

The old system required students to fill in a 14-page paper form and supply a whole raft of supporting details, data that then had to be verified and entered manually. In addition, the legacy system was too rigid to support the upcoming changes without great cost and risk.

Kainos has developed a modern, on-line web-based self-service solution which allows students to apply for a bursary, track their application, and monitor the status of payments online using a secure personalised log-in.

NHSBSA needed a system with the ability to flex and adapt as bursary rules change, and fully able to accommodate how NHS students prefer to claim nowadays. It also wanted a chance to see what new technology was capable of. “We needed a partner that could cope with the fact that we wouldn’t be defining everything at the outset,” says Brendan Brown, Head of Customer Operations and Innovation at the Authority.

The Kainos solution is built on sophisticated document and record management functionality. The combined system, which has a flexible rules engine, follows an electronic application form through to assessment, calculation of payments and external integration with the payment gateway. Evidence submissions are supported via an intelligent scanning module which captures the content so that it can be managed digitally.

Phase one of the solution, delivered by a team of around 10 people, went live in October 2011 with over 6,000 student applications processed. This rapid delivery was down to Kainos’s agile approach to project management. “Even as things changed, Kainos just got on with it,” Brendan said.

Kainos is now busy updating the rules engine ready for the new bursary scheme in September. The efficiency benefits of the new on-line system are expected to be substantial, both for NHSBSA and for students. But the main driver has been ensuring a seamless student experience this year.

“The implications of getting any of this wrong would have been substantial,” Brendan concludes. The Department of Health supports this modernisation initiative and this innovation makes it easier for students to apply and track progress of their applications.