Imaging is not a new concept in organizations but some clients still struggle with understanding how document imaging benefits their businesses. To clarify why paper documents should be converted into electronic form, here are three analogies that highlight the importance of achieving this goal:
Document Imaging Is the Opposite of Looking for a Needle in a Haystack
The thought of trying to locate a needle in a stack of hay is an impossible task, and so is trying to locate a document that has been misfiled. Sure, someone labeled the file folder to store the paper appropriately, but unfortunately, people make mistakes or are just negligent. After some time, an employee attempts to locate the document in the folder, however not only is the file missing, but also the entire folder. Now, that document is lost, maybe forever.
This scenario wouldn’t occur if a document imaging system was in place. The electronic image of the document would be tagged (indexed) from the point it was touched to the location it was filed—within the computer system storing the files. This takes your allocation time down from what could be 10 minutes to 30 seconds or shorter.
Document Imaging Is Like Having a Life Boat or Safety Net
Disasters do happen. For example, the flooding that struck Houston a few weeks ago took an obvious human toll, but for paper-intensive businesses that hadn’t taken the precaution to digitize their critical documents, it also caused a financial toll. These organizations face an uphill recovery process to recreate or locate the information destroyed by the water, and, in the worst cases, they will close their doors for good.
The organization that implements a disaster recovery plan which includes security of its critical business documents will be able to open the doors sooner rather than later after a natural tragedy, as the business’s accounting, payroll, sales orders, procurement requests, and human resource files have been digitized and secured off site or within a cloud host provider.
Without Document Imaging, Work Processes Feel Like a Traffic Jam
Los Angeles and New York city traffic jams are considered terrible, with good reason: There are cars everywhere and no way to escape, and you have to just go with the slow flow. Now, think about all the papers you see on desks around the office. Some desks have minimal piles; others are overrun with stacks of documents that look like small fortresses. Move on to the file cabinets, which contain all sorts of paperwork, documents, and folders, overflowing from years of clerks just adding to the already, over-stuffed folders. How organized are the documents in cabinets, and in what order are they in the folders?
Imagine you are at a doctor’s appointment. The receptionist asks for your name, which you provide, and then you’re asked to return to your seat. And you wait. And wait. And eventually, you are called back to the counter now that all the documents for your appointment have been located. Waiting for the office to prepare for your turn was the longest portion of the visit. Why? Because it takes time to find specific documents, verify the right versions of those documents are in your packet, and include all the HIPAA files for your signature.
Now, let’s look at a practice that has taken advantage of document imaging benefits.
When you arrive at the office, the receptionist may hand you a tablet onto which you sign your name and check off your appointment time slot and the purpose of your visit. The office may even capture a picture of your image for future identification use or imprint it on a temporary badge as you move throughout the organization’s halls during your visit. The information is then sent electronically to a computer system that now records the encounter and automatically attaches all the documents needed for your visit. The entire check-in process may take fewer than three minutes.
Document imaging benefits companies of all sizes. The ROIs are high, and solutions are available for vertical markets, and can be cloud-based or in house. Document imaging benefits provide quick and easy access to information, are critical components of a disaster recovery plan, and help streamline work processes with direct and positive results to the bottom line.