How to Manage Very Big Scanning Jobs

We have dealt with some big scanning jobs over the years. Millions of documents no longer scare us like when we first started scoping out scanning service projects. But we have to admit we are still in the little league when compared to a few people working in the records management world. They deal with billions of pages of records on a daily basis.

Take for example William Bosanko. He works for the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). In a hearing of the House Veterans Affairs Committee he talked about the challenges of a big scanning job facing the Veterans Administration and their medical records. The VA is in the process of converting all of their medical records to electronic health records.

The VA has spent $9.7 million already just scanning at five sites. They currently digitize 600,000 pages a month. The system is designed to perform OCR on the records and recognize the 170 most common forms the VA uses. But they have barely scratched the surface of the job and their funding is running out. Bosanko estimates that they would need to scan 60 million pages a month to be ready to move to an all electronic system. That is one big scanning job that he thinks would take 4,000 full time employees.

NARA says they can continue to support the current program but will need more money to speed up the process to what it really needs. In an election year it is unclear whether the funds are going to be coming any time soon. Records management is just not a sexy item for either party to spend money on.

With all the problems at the VA with data security I hope they can do the job well. We all win when they can efficiently provide the services the veterans have earned. It will get done over time but the question is how much time with a job of this size over so many hospitals.