On 23rd August 2017 Wales Deanery announced the launch of the enhanced version of MARS, the Medical Appraisal Revalidation System for doctors in Wales.
MARS was originally launched in 2010 and is used by over 6,500 doctors to facilitate their appraisal and revalidation. The relaunch is the culmination of a programme to enhance the system led jointly by the Revalidation Support Unit (RSU) and the Business Systems Support Unit (BSSU) following consultation with internal stakeholders, i.e. Appraisers and Appraisal Co-ordinators and external stakeholders such as all Health Boards in Wales, Welsh Government, the General Medical Council (GMC) and the British Medical Association (BMA).
The purpose of the enhancement was to make the process of appraisal and revalidation more efficient and improve device compatibility and security. BSSU Web Programmers Abrar Ullah and Jay Beavan (pictured below) developed the system to make MARS easier to navigate, reducing the number of pages within the site, making the data transfer process more streamlined and focusing the Help and Support to be more self-directed for users. The site is compatible across devices and security-improved to enable access via public Wi-Fi. All the changes made were as a result of, and in response to, a lengthy consultation process involving all stakeholder groups involved in the appraisal and revalidation process.
Malcolm Lewis, Director of General Practice and Revalidation, said, “The past decade has seen the development of first class systems for the delivery of appraisal and revalidation in Wales. In recognising that all IT systems are in almost constant need of development and by consulting in detail with users, the Wales Deanery’s Revalidation and Business Systems Support Units have collaborated to develop the new enhanced MARS. I envisage that we will all be delighted with the result. I would like to express my gratitude to Chris Price and Paul Kirk for their leadership in developing the new MARS and to the whole of the RSU and BSSU teams for their immense and highly professional contribution.”
Chris Price, Deputy Director of the RSU, commented, “I was intimately involved in the development of the original MARS site and have been an enthusiastic participant in the recent development. I am positive that the new user interface will enhance user experience. There has been extensive work performed on the site and I am impressed at the teamwork that has taken place between the BSSU and the RSU. This has been 2 years in the making and I hope that the final release is as successful as I anticipate.”
Paul Kirk, Operational Lead for the Business Systems Support Unit, added, "We have worked closely with the RSU to analyse and refine the MARS system. Through many iterations and close involvement with end users, the new system has been developed, tested and deployed. Both teams have been heavily invested in the success of this project which provides a new environment for its users, improving user experience and usability, and enhancing processes in various ways. I would like to say thank you to all members of RSU and BSSU, all great problem solvers and team players with a 'can do' mind set. Thanks also to all the end users who have provided us with invaluable feedback which has influenced the construction of the new site."
It is expected that the new system will bring many benefits to its users but the work to continually improve the site goes on. Feedback post-launch will be vital to informing future enhancements.
The MARS team would like to extend its thanks to all those involved with making the new system a reality. The system can be accessed via the following link: