Since its inception, LiMA has, and continues to be, under constant review and improvement.
A steering group considers feedback from a number of sources, including users, medical quality auditors and the Department for Work and Pensions. All system changes and improvements are made in consultation with the Department and are thoroughly tested through a documented process before being released. There have been six system updates during 2006 and the process of system development will continue throughout 2007.
Medical Services has a robust externally validated audit system. The work of every doctor is regularly audited to ensure that medical reports produced using LiMA meet defined quality and professional standards.
LiMA is a tool used by assessing doctors that checks on the completeness and consistency of their advice. LiMA does not have an impact other than to provide consistent, legible reports.
The assessment of impact is on the quality of the medical report, and is, therefore, a function of medical quality audit.
LiMA is programmed on the basis of the current personal capability assessment (PCA) and descriptors. Before the revised PCA is implemented, the LiMA system will be completely reprogrammed to take into account the changes to both the physical and mental function assessments. This reprogramming cannot start until the regulations governing the revised PCA have been laid.
Reports based on the revised PCA, which are being used for evaluation purposes, are completed manually by Atos Origin healthcare professionals. But in justifying their choice of revised descriptors, the healthcare professionals are drawing on their expertise as disability analysts and on their familiarity with the up-to-date consensus of medical opinion that underpins the LiMA system.