Document Scanning Saves Time and Money
Document Scanning can reduce your overall costs of document management in the following areas
Cost Associated with Lost Files
What Does It Cost to Retrieve a File
The University of Mass Medical Center published a study about various costs associated with storing and retrieving a file. It is referenced below. In the study, they identified five areas where the manual system affected costs.
1. The time it takes to retrieve a file takes too long. The slow retrieval time is reflected in delayed or lost income.
2. The manual system requires labor and space expense.
3. The manual system results in lost files
4. The manual system lacks the security requirements dictated by various laws
5. No back up exists of the manual files. This lack of backups to paper documents was brought to the fore front of the news during Hurricane Katrina. Lost medical files caused billions of dollars in expense associated with duplicating tests and trying to rebuild some sort of patient history.
Can MicroFilm Be Converted to Digital Formats
Often the need arises for a microfilm to be converted in to a digital format. Often this format is either stored in a server, in the “cloud”, external hard drive, thumb drive, DVD, CD or another data format. There are wide arrays of reasons as to why people would convert microfilm to a digital format. Some of the key reasons are film damage, hard to access microfilm, hard to share the data, length in time to retrieve information, etc.
Can Microfilm be converted to digital format?
Converting microfilm to digital format is a very simple and 3 step process. Often this process is done by professionals who deal with microfilm conversion and also with digital formatting. The process of converting microfilm to digital format is:
Step 1: The microfilm is scanned and the data is uploaded to an electronic media.
Step 2: As it is being scanned, the data is divided into various files as specified by the user. The file name or index, can be entered manually or extracted from the microfilm itself, for example the “account number”. The index can be entered into a database for easy of retrieval.
Step 3: The digital data can now be copied on a portable data format like a DVD, CD, Pen drive, etc. This allows the user to have greater ease of access to the files.
Advantages of the converting Microfilm to Digital format:
The main advantages of converting microfilm to digital format are-
• Often medical microfilm faces the problem of the film shrinking overtime resulting in image loss. When the microfilm is converted to digital format, the image will stay the same for millennia.
• The microfilm that has been scanned can now be zoomed in on and a greater and clearer image can be obtained of the medical image.
• Often the microfilm cannot be seen on the projector as with every passing day the equipment to view such files is becoming harder to find.
Document Scanning Protects the Privacy of Personal Information - The Law
Scanning your confidential documents can make it easier to restrict and control the access of documents to only those who are properly authorized. The laws state that it is the responsibility to do everything in your power to limit unnecessary access to confidential documents.
What better way to restrict the access to private confidential information than to remove the paper records and only allow authorized employees access to the digital images.
HIPAA and Document Scanning
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), was enacted in 1996 and includes provisions intended to safeguard the privacy of patient health records. HIPAA is a significant piece of legislation with onerous penalties. For a full text of the SUMMARY OF THE HIPAA PRIVACY RULE from the Department of Human Services, available online. See page 16 of this document in regards to specifically "securing records under lock and key.…and limiting access….."
Data Safeguards. A covered entity must maintain reasonable and appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to prevent intentional or unintentional use or disclosure of protected health information in violation of the Privacy Rule and to limit its incidental use and disclosure pursuant to otherwise permitted or required use or disclosure. For example, such safeguards might include only allowing authorized personnel the access to confidential electronic records.
Typical Motivation for Starting Document Scanning Process.
- Do you spend too much time retrieving records? Do some of your documents actually get lost? Files stored in a central location and that are reviewed periodically have a greater chance of being mis-filed or never refilled. The result is that it takes a great amount of time to find such files.
- Do you need more immediate access to files? Is the amount of time it takes to retrieve a file from the file room simply too long? Do you need instant access to the files? Is immediate customer service becoming extremely important?
- Do two or more people need access to your files at the same time?
- Do your people traveling need to have access to your files?
- Are you running out of space for the hard copy files? Are you looking at the costs of special filing systems, such as rolling files? Are you looking at the costs of acquiring more office space for file storage?
- Do you feel a need to reduce your overall costs associated with storing, retrieving, refilling and the safety and security of your documents?
- Are your files safe in their current storage location? Does your current storage methods comply with the various privacy laws such as HIPAA or GLB or Facta?
- If you had a disaster such as a hurricane, flood or fire, are your current documents protected? Could you be back in business in a matter of days?