When looking at the users of document management (document imaging) technology one of the largest groups of adoptees are professionals. Business professionals like lawyers or accountants and personal professionals like doctors or dentists are learning that storing their records in paper format has become a tedious, risky and expensive process.
Anyone who has visited their doctor's office can remember the walls of chart files which they store. Since medical files are used for many years, sometimes decades, the paper file can grow substantially over time. Keeping this information current and easily accessible is a major part of the administration role in an office.
Each professional has its own set of needs for the files and the manner in which the conversion from paper based to electronic based filing is carried out. What works for one may not be ideal for another, however there are some common features which should be considered.
- Ability is needed for filing both electronic files and paper files.
- Understanding of the quantity of scanning for converting paper files will be important.
- Deciding on a format for the stored electronic files is critical. Most common is pdf however this can come at a premium for storage space.
- Designing the right index structure for ease of retrieval of electronic files is not always understood but is a critical component of a design.
- Deciding whether OCR (optical character recognition) has benefits is a consideration in most systems.
- Determining whether the document management system should be stand alone or be integrated into other line of business software.
- Determining security levels for access to stored documents
This list is not exhaustive, but it outlines some of the key considerations that should be taken into account in designing your new electronic filing system. Your document management consultant or reseller will be able to assist you in determining the right mix for you.
Are you a professional who has made the conversion? What can you share to guide others?