Document Management Systems vs. Document Imaging

While the digital revolution has been ongoing for a few decades, many companies still use an old-fashioned approach to document management rather than experiencing the benefits of electronic document imaging. The reason for this varies from company to company. One of the driving factors is the perceived complexity and cost of moving from their current storage methods to digital documents. This can leave documents spread across multiple locations and formats, such as CDs, paper printouts in filing cabinets and desks, or hard drives on individual computers. Every day that this continues results in lost productivity, misplaced documents, and security and privacy risks due to these distributed documents.

Electronic Document Imaging: Security and Efficiency Combined

Electronic document imaging is a process by which documents stored in various formats are converted to a consistent digital format and stored on a central database. Converting your documents to a digital format ensures they cannot be lost or damaged and are accessible from anywhere within your organization that needs them. 

Countless hours of productivity are lost to the time spent searching for documents in a traditional format. Important records related to your business and its clients can be lost. This requires additional work or records to be requested again. Further, the security of these documents can be compromised as they can be viewed and handled by individuals who may not be authorized to do so. For example, it’s common in the medical industry for a patient’s chart to be put on a clipboard in a manilla folder and left in the room with them.

This practice is often done to ensure all medical staff can access the patient’s records when providing care. However, it also means anyone can pick up the clipboard and view the patient’s HIPAA-protected information.

Electronic document imaging helps prevent situations like these. There’s no need to keep a single paper document around that every individual who needs it passes around. Further, it eliminates the need to copy documents everyone needs to have available. You eliminate these situations by having a single copy that any authorized individual can access from anywhere. Thankfully, converting your documents to a physical format is simple.

Steps Involved In Creating An Electronic Document

  • Scanning: An electronic file is created by scanning paper documents and then converting them to a format such as PDF.
  • Indexing: The document is then given a name, a date, and relevant tags that can be used when searching for information. Together, this information makes it simple to find a document using those tags, the creation date, the name of the author, its title, or relevant keywords. For instance, when scanning an invoice, you could tag it with the date of the invoice, its due date, the client’s name, and the tag “invoice.”
  • Storage: Your documents can be stored in a central server that manages storing, retrieving, and updating any documents stored within it.
  • Retrieval: Once a document is stored in the system, it’s quick and easy to retrieve from any connected device. This includes mobile devices such as tablets, phones, desktops, laptops, and terminals.

While the initial investment can be time-consuming for those who complete this process in-house, the results will far outweigh the costs. After completing these steps, your documents will be securely housed in a central database that guarantees you’ll never waste time looking for a vital document again.

Features Available With Electronic Document Imaging

When investing in an electronic document imaging system, there are a range of features you want to be sure are available. These features are the core components of a system that will ensure your documents are safe, secure, and accessible as needed.

File structure

The file system’s structure should be easy to navigate so that you can find documents quickly. It’s important to design a system that your users can understand so they can painlessly locate necessary documents.

Searching

Your search function needs to be agile, adaptable, and appropriate to the nature of the documents you’re storing within your system. A versatile indexing method that accommodates your needs is essential.

Ease of use

The system must be easy to access and integrate seamlessly into your current programs. This requirement includes easy integration into your email system, document editing software, and other systems and devices within your organization.

Easy Conversion

Advanced imaging systems integrate OCR (optical character recognition) into your digital imaging system. This process reads the text on the page, converts it to a digital format, and uses the contents to generate searchable tags automatically.

Productivity Enhancement

Document imaging software allows you to create, edit, search, download, and view the metadata properties of any document on your system. This improvement in accessibility reduces wasted time by eliminating the need to locate documents and store them manually.

Mobile/Remote Capability

You will be able to access your documents via mobile devices such as phones and tablets. This ability is essential for an agile organization to quickly obtain information on demand and respond to your company’s needs. This level of access may require you to install client software or have access to a web browser.

Security

Fine control of access is available. This makes it possible to limit which folders and files your users can access based on their authentication level. This level of security is necessary for every organization, from healthcare to any group that handles confidential information. Your documents becoming compromised can violate HIPAA compliance, reveal customer information, and impact the integrity of your company. Encryption, password protection, and access records listing who accessed or updated your documents contribute to your system’s security.

Version Control

Version control is a system that limits who can access a document. Additionally, it prevents multiple people from accessing it at once. This effect is achieved by a user “checking out” a document, locking it from being edited by others until they “check in” the file they’re working on.

Environmental Responsibility

When you switch to electronic documents, you’re making your company greener by eliminating the immense amount of paper even small businesses can consume. Additionally, you’ll benefit from a reduced need for printer paper, physical document storage, toner for printers, etc.  

Each feature protects your documents by controlling who can access them, tracking when employees use or updated them, and eliminating physical documents that you can lose, destroy, or thieves steal. Even when providing access to someone outside your system or company, the features of your document imaging system will protect your documents.

Document Management Systems vs Document Imaging

Opting for an electronic document management system is the core component of converting to electronic documents. Fundamentally, these systems aid in converting your files and control how authorized individuals access your files. There are two approaches to updating your company to electronic document imaging. The first is investing in your document imaging system. The second involves having a third party handle them via a document imaging service. Understanding which is right for you requires learning the pros and cons of each, and what additional features are provided with a digital imaging service.

An Overview of Document Imaging Services

The core difference between the two options is that you host your electronic document management system in-house. Your company pays for hardware, software, utility, maintenance, and necessary IT staff wages. Your facility’s costs will likely increase with this approach. Server hardware tends to be expensive, especially when considering the value of the information it contains. 

Further, the costs go beyond the server itself. You’ll also need multi-format printers, a scanner, a license for imaging software, and any other specialized equipment and programs necessary to convert and store your documents. Some server software can include a per-user licensing cost, with some including individual rates for manager and admin access roles.

An Overview of Contracting A Document Imaging Services Company

Hiring a document imaging service has many benefits, making it an appealing option for many companies. The first is the reduction in overhead costs when getting started. Buying a server, hiring IT staff, or paying for utility costs or physical maintenance is unnecessary. Record Nations’ partners handle this when you hire one as your document imaging services provider. 

However, that’s just the beginning. In addition to the benefits listed above, you also experience the peace of mind that comes with the following:

  • Disaster Recovery: Your documents will be stored on our servers, away from your office. Further, Our service providers maintain an ongoing backup of all our partners’ servers in case of disaster. You’re protecting your data from fires, acts of God, and more. Protecting your important documents is core to the services we provide.
  • Training: Our partners also provide training as part of our setup services to help your staff quickly adjust to the new tool they have at their disposal. When onboarding new staff, this training will remain available to ensure they quickly integrate into your company’s workflow.
  • Document Scanning Services: Our partners can take the burden of converting your documents off your workforce with our document scanning services. Learn more about our document destruction services.
  • Flexible Plans: When your company undergoes changes that require you to alter your storage space, adjusting your plan is easy. We also support changing the number of user accounts you need available on your system. Record Nations is here every step of the way to accommodate the changing face of your company.

Get Document Imaging Services Through Record Nations Today

Are you ready to experience the speed, convenience, and peace of mind of converting away from physical documents? Contact Record Nations today at (866) 385-3706 to discover enhanced productivity, recovered office space, security, and convenience with our document imaging services. You can also fill out our contact form to quickly communicate with our staff.

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