Are you afraid to go paperless?
by Julanne Williams

The arrival of content and document management software has changed the lives of many – improving the efficiency of both capturing and retrieving documents. While the technology has been around for some time (more than 20 years), many industries (and surprisingly large organizations) remain paper based not solely due to cost – as you might imagine – but quite possibly out of fear. There’s a certain comfort level in seeing and knowing that a paper document is, what appears to be, safe and secure in that file cabinet or storage warehouse. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is –those documents and their data are more at risk of being lost, stolen or destroyed in fire, flood, etc.

I decided to take to the streets and find out how some were able to overcome that fear and pull the trigger on going paperless. No surprise that the main reason people were able to push past their fear was that the benefits outweighed the fear factor. Their desire to improve efficiencies – capture documents, index them and be able to retrieve them in 3 seconds was well, pretty darn appealing. It helped that their documents were going to be scanned into a software program that has been serving and protecting documents for some of the largest and most respected hospitals and laboratories in the country. The fact that those documents would be automatically routed through an electronic workflow process developed specifically for them was rather enticing as well. But was that enough?

I may never have to get out of my chair again!

People began to realize the amount of time wasted by physically walking documents around their facility. Support staff walked documents to managers with questions, and stood waiting outside their office…you know the routine. The ability to be able to simply route documents to a manager with the click of a button improves everyone’s productivity. It’s pretty amazing. As a billing data entry clerk works documents, for example, requisitions, which may have textual diagnoses, can be sent off to a certified coder’s queue for review. Now, when coders have time, they can review their queue, code documents, and move them to the next step at their convenience. The clerk similarly can continue working the rest of the requisitions, uninterrupted. Productivity levels go up across the board from clerk to management. In most organizations, dedicated data entry staff can be reduced because of a more streamlined business process.

But what about the backlog of documents?

Here’s where it can get overwhelming. It’s easy for people to think about today – right now. Documents come in, we capture (scan/email/efax) and index them for processing, easy identification, storage and later retrieval. But what about the backlog? What about all those documents in file cabinets, storage rooms or warehouses? It can be overwhelming. The document preparation – removing all the staples and paperclips. Then the colossal task of indexing all that backlog. For some folks it’s easier to just put off these mammoth tasks and deal with what may seem more pressing or urgent. But here’s the deal. Many of those documents in storage affect today’s workflow. How often must you and your staff search through those file cabinets, or worse yet, storage areas/warehouses for information? How secure is your archived information? If there were a fire or flood are those documents protected? What about a move? If your business or office moves does it mean you have to orchestrate the organization of moving all those files as well? If you hire the right organization, they can make this a seamless and quite painless experience. The time factor is a given – it’s going to take time and manual labor to get the backlog of documents scanned and indexed. But given the right combination of resources and a quality technology partner like Freedom Imaging Systems, benefits will definitely outweigh costs — we guarantee it. While the archiving of documents is happening in the background, your team can be going live with their document management system. You will simultaneously streamline processes, reduce operating costs, and improve efficiencies, providing a return on investment typically within the first six months to one year.

So don’t let fear dictate your life – make the move today to paperless and start seeing the benefits on your bottom line.

For more information about RICAR content and document management solutions, call and talk to one of our specialists today at 7f34.327.5600 or visit our website at