Case Study – Private Health Insurance Administration Council

Case study for the implementation of an EDRMS


With this EDRMS staff can now work wirelessly and access information from anywhere in the office. Benefits include improved secure, information management with full text search capability across the entire platform, records with metadata to facilitate retention and automatic destruction upon authorisation.

Agency overview

The Private Health Insurance Administration Council (PHIAC) is the prudential regulator of the private health insurance industry. PHIAC is a statutory agency established under section 264–1 of the Private Health Insurance Act 2007 (PHI Act). 

PHIAC is governed by a Council who operate as the Board of Management, whilst its business operations sit with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who is supported by approximately 30 staff with a mix of actuarial, analytical, legal, risk management and administrative skills.

PHIAC's business activities include:

  • Monitoring the financial performance of insurers
  • Performing reviews of insurers' governance and operations
  • Developing prudential standards under the PHI Act
  • Registration of private health insurers
  • Administering the Risk Equalisation Trust Fund


In 2006 an external audit found PHIAC had inappropriate records management in place and that it could be considerably improved. In 2009 PHIAC's management made the decision to move PHIAC's information and records keeping capability to an Electronic Document and Records Management System (EDRMS).

The development of an EDRMS was in response to audit findings regarding PHIAC's poor records management. The organisation had, however, reached its own conclusion on the need to improve the effectiveness of its information management and record keeping capability, and take advantage of the opportunities presented through developments in digital information and record keeping technology.

PHIAC was also keen to embrace the concept of the 'paperless office' which, by necessity, required an effective digital information management system.

Project objectives

The objectives of the project were to build an EDRMS that:

  • Reflected the business activities of the organisation
  • Met user needs with respect to information management
  • Was usable and user friendly
  • Provided an efficient searching and retrieval capability
  • Supported collaboration
  • Enabled PHIAC to meet its record management obligations

Project execution


An initial business analysis was undertaken to inform the understanding of where PHIAC was and where it should be, in terms of information management and records keeping requirements. This analysis lead to the development of key project scoping documentation, including:

  • Records Management Policy
  • Roles and responsibilities of staff post EDRMS implementation
  • Business Classification Scheme
  • Agency's core business Records Authority
  • PHIAC's information and records management lexicon
  • Information and records management Business Rules

A project brief was made available to vendors together with specification and functional requirements, including:

  • Searching and retrieval capability
  • Useability and user friendliness
  • Compliance with PHIAC's information security protocols
  • Email management
  • Document tracking and audit
  • File management
  • Records management
  • Ability to record and retain metadata needed for accurate recordkeeping

PHIAC selected SharePoint as the platform upon which the EDRMS was to be built.


In 2009, the development of PHIAC's EDRMS using the SharePoint platform commenced. A combination of internal and external resources was used in the development and in October 2010, PHIAC's Information and Records Management Environment (PRIME) was launched.

PRIME was structured to house a range of electronic documents within libraries and sub-libraries that broadly reflected PHIAC's business management system. From October 2010, all digital information was stored in PRIME with meta-data assigned to facilitate its management.

Access to PRIME libraries was controlled with permission tables established and the creation of additional libraries and sub-libraries restricted in order to limit their proliferation.


Being a small agency, PHIAC was in a strong position to engage staff in the significant cultural change that was required to move the management of information and records onto a digital platform. Change management activities included:

  • Key messaging from the CEO and other senior management set the tone for moving PHIAC's information and records management to an EDRMS
  • Staff training was aligned to implementation so that staff could immediately apply what was learnt
  • A series of task-cards were made available to staff together with direct support from the IT Helpdesk and Records Management Officer.
  • All staff were issued with a laptop, and a wireless network was established to allow access to PRIME from anywhere in the office
  • Scanning capability was improved to support the digitisation of paper documents and incoming correspondence

Post Implementation Review

In 2012, PHIAC undertook a review of its EDRMS to determine the effectiveness of PRIME in supporting staff with their information management needs and supporting the organisation to discharge its record keeping responsibilities. The review found:

  • Most information was now stored on PRIME
  • Emails were not being efficiently managed
  • Electronic documents as records were not meeting requirements
  • The build-up of documents in PRIME was unsustainable

In response to this review PHIAC undertook a range of activities to improve the effectiveness of its EDRMS, including:

  • The establishment of a specific Records Centre, with architecture based on PHIAC's Records Management Authority and functionality which met record keeping standards
  • The re-defining of meta-data to allow for record management categorisation of electronic documents or an indicator for destruction under Normal Administrative Practice (NAP)
  • New processes that allowed for the 'sweeping' of documents from the information management section of PRIME to the records keeping section of PRIME or to the recycle bin, once they had met defined criteria
  • Improved capability to move emails from the email system into PRIME

Project outcomes

PHIAC now has a fully functioning EDRMS where all business information is managed from creation, through storage to destruction.

  • PHIAC staff have embraced the management of information using technology that simplifies their obligations with respect to information management and record creation.
  • PHIAC's EDRMS provides a full text search capability across the entire platform, enabling staff to conduct comprehensive searches for information and records. This has been tested through a mock E-Discovery exercise.
  • Information and records in PHIAC are secure in a system requiring multi-factor authentication and in libraries that allow control over which staff have access.
  • Records in PHIAC's record centre are unalterable and contain meta-data that facilitates their retention and automatic destruction when authorised.

Project impact

PHIAC has embraced the management of its information and records using leading edge technology and is reaping the benefits in many different ways. There will be no return to paper.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2019