When you are moving your office, you don’t have to take the paper with you. Determine your scanning ROI.

filecabinetMany of our clients at Modern Image are scanning their documents so they don’t have to rent space to store paper onsite.  Storage can be expensive, especially when you are renting space in our service areas of Washington DC, Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland, or Atlanta.  The higher your rent, the larger your return on investment in scanning.

While it’s hard for people to visualize how they can do their job without their precious paper file in the filing cabinet down the hall, once we take a close look at how paper is used, we can often find a way to operate with a digital copy of the paper instead.  These are simple tips for evaluating ROI.

1)      Complete an inventory of documents across all departments.  Meet with department heads to learn how paper documents are used.  Since your clerks are the ones who work with the documents all day, it’s a great idea to meet with them to see if they have ideas about creating a more efficient process.

2)      Identify documents that can be immediately purged via shredding.  These documents are typically files that have outlived their usefulness, and have exceeded the legal time limit that government regulations require you to keep them.  For example, certain financial records only need to be kept for 7 years.  These files should be shredded instead of scanned.

3)      Identify important documents that occupy a large amount of storage that could be scanned.  Typically, these include personnel files for active employees and retirees, and accounting records (AP, AR, vendor files, checks, ledgers, and expense reports).

4)      Identify other categories of documents that can be scanned.  These include legal records, contracts, project documents, marketing files, trade show materials, journals, board meeting minutes, and executive records.

5)      Determine the total amount of storage, in square feet, of the paper files identified above.  Measure the file cabinets and the space required around the cabinets to open the drawers.  Measure your current file room.  Once you have the number of square feet, multiply that by the rent in your new office.  Generally, it will take 1-3 years to receive your complete return on investment for scanning, simply from rent savings.  Sometimes the ROI can be achieved in less than 1 year.

The soft cost savings can also be significant.  I’ll write in a future blog on how to calculate soft dollar savings; however the list below gives you an idea of where those savings are found.

1)      Eliminate the walk to the file cabinet to file documents, pull documents, and re-file documents.

2)      Eliminate lost or misfiled documents. In a medical practice, a lost medical record can trigger a large fine.  A misfiled financial record can trigger a multi-day effort by an entire department to find the important file.

3)      Reduce or reassign employees who spend their day filing documents.

Further, once your documents have been scanned, they can be stored in a document management system which can add further efficiency to your business processes.

If you need help with this analysis, complete the contact form on the right and we will help you understand what your return on investment can be.

Free Document Management System. Box.net launches Box.org for 501(c)(3) non-profits

Box.org websiteOur document and photo scanning clients are always interested in learning about document management systems.  One of the most interesting players in cloud-based document management vendor is Box.net.  They are best known for implementing powerful security for the Box.net platform, while maintaining a very low cost per user.  We like Box.net because it is a terrific place to store your scanned documents and scanned photos.

Today, Box’s CEO Aaron Levie announced the launch of Box.org, a new initiative that will offer free and discounted licenses to nonprofit organizations.  The service will be free to organizations with 10 or fewer users, while those with more than 10 employees will get a 50% discount.  The nonprofit must be officially designated a 501(c)(3), or foreign equivalent.

From Box.org website, the mission: “At Box, we believe that those committed to doing good should have the best tools available to them.

Box.org’s mission is to help nonprofit organizations be more productive and collaborative in achieving their mission. By providing access to the best-in-class cloud technology, we strive to provide the simplest, but most powerful solution to store content, share files and collaborate on their most important ideas.”

Modern Images’ nonprofit document scanning and photo scanning clients should all take a look at Box.org.

Virginia Community Service Board review for Modern Image

From our Google+ page, we received the following review for a large medical chart scanning project from Alan Witt at the Region Ten Community Service Board (CSB).   Region Ten provides mental health, intellectual disability, crisis and substance use services for adults and children living in the City of Charlottesville and the counties of Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa and Nelson.

r10“As an agency we were balancing a renovation project for the building where our records were housed and there was a late decision to expedite our plans to scan our medical records.  We needed a partner who could be flexible around our plan and support us with the transition while providing useful and clear documents for providers to be able to access for continuous use.  We were recommended Modern Image by another CSB who was currently involved in a similar project.  Modern Image navigated the preparation of the project along with a several day prep and ship, and have continued to offer excellent customer service and a quality product; as promised.

Andy and Modern Image provided a supportive foundation to the project from the very beginning.  He was able to help us determine everything from the basics of record/page count to final package product along supportive information to attach to our Electronic Health Record System.   Andy, Michelle, and the rest of the staff at Modern Image have worked to make are project feel important and have offered a significant attention to detail!

Our project was estimated at over 3.5 million pages and a timeline of 6+ months until completion.  The weekly updates and ease of communication are a great vantage point into the process and we are satisfied with the project in whole! As a partner with Modern Image we have problem solved on unanticipated issues and have continuously remained goal focused.   We are still navigating our project with Modern Image but we have been very pleased with the efforts and support.  I would recommend his company to anyone working through a similar project.”

Click here to read more reviews.

How to Scan Medical Charts

Kodak i1420When scanning medical charts, special care is required to successfully execute the project. The term “medical chart” is used interchangeably with medical record and health record.  A medical chart can be a physical paper file, a digital copy of the physical paper file, or a database record contained in an Electronic Medical Record system.  The use and maintenance of medical charts is highly regulated under HIPAA. HIPAA rules are created by the US Department of Health and Human Services, and enforcement is under the HHS Office for Civil Rights.  Failure to comply with HIPAA rules can result in severe penalties and fines.

Chart scanning usually takes place as part of an EMR implementation, or in conjunction with the relocation of a medical facility.  When planning to scan your charts, the project should be split in 4 parts:

  1. Planning.  The plan should include start and end dates, how to organize charts for scanning, what to scan or discard, what is medically necessary to keep, what is the retention schedule, are there exceptions to the retention schedule, how to name the electronic charts, bulk or manual loading of charts in the EMR, maintaining HIPAA compliance during the project, Business Associate Agreements (BAA) with vendors, packing charts in boxes, inventory of charts, chain of custody, urgent requests for charts, transportation, and encryption.  There are many more things to consider, but these are some of the key requirements.
  2. Packing and Transportation. Charts should always be transported with care and security in mind.  Proper packing is the only way to ensure that you can retrieve a chart at any time during the scanning process.  Vehicles containing medical charts or electronic medical charts should never be left unattended.  Electronic medical charts should always be delivered encrypted.
  3. Scanning Process.  All scanning begins with Chart Preparation. Chart prep is the process of disassembling the physical chart, removing paper from prongs, placing paper in the correct sequence, organizing into categories, and removing staples and other clips.  If a determination was made to eliminate parts of the chart that are not medically or legally required, they will be removed during chart prep.  Scanning should be performed on professional-grade scanners with professional scanning software.  Entry-level scanners can allow scanner multi-feeding to occur, which essentially makes a page disappear. In HIPAA related scanning, a missing page could be a legal disaster for the hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office.  Professional-grade scanners will last longer and perform better throughout the life of the machine.  All scanners require regular cleaning for the glass over the cameras and for the drive and brake wheels.  If a scanner will be sued continuously throughout the day, the scanner may require cleaning more than once per day.  Paper is dirty, and used paper is really dirty.  Professional scanning software should be used because of the high efficiency that can be achieved.  Professional scanning software, like Kodak Capture Pro or Kofax Capture makes it possible to do “batch” processing, meaning processing of many files at once.  Low end scanning software, such as Adobe Acrobat, only let you scan one document at a time, which is highly unproductive and expensive.  Professional scanning software will also include special image enhancement features that will improve the quality of the scan.  If the charts are going through Optical Character Recognition (to create searchable medical charts), the professional software will use the best OCR engines.  It should be noted that OCR is highly unreliable on handwritten text.  OCR is only valuable for typewritten text.  If charts are handwritten, then OCR is not required.
  4. Verification, shredding, storage.  Generally, a scanning project would be considered to be high quality when no errors can be detected.  “High quality” must be defined.  Scanned charts must be verified for quality.  There are a variety of methods, when used together produce a very high quality result.  Page counts before and after scanning are very effective.  Visually inspecting every scanned page is important.  A large sample should be verified in the early phases of the project.  As confidence in quality rises, the sample size can be decreased.  Electronic copies of the medical charts should be stored in multiple, HIPAA-compliant locations to ensure that the records will be available in the event of a major disaster in your primary storage.  Once electronic medical charts are verified for quality, and they are properly stored in multiple locations, a decision must be made to either shred or store the records.  In most jurisdictions, shredding is permitted so long as you have scanned copies.  However, retention rules are complex and you must consult an expert about your particular situation.  If shredding is permitted, this is not where you want to go for a cut-rate shredding vendor.  It is highly recommended to use a NAID (National Association of Information Destruction) certified provider.  In particular, we recommend vendor who will shred on their truck at your site, while under your visual control. If shredding is not an option, paper charts should be properly stored at a dedicated record storage facility.  Self-storage units are notoriously prone to fire and other damage which can result in the loss of the original files.

Lastly, you need to put the scanned electronic medical charts somewhere.  There are 3 schools of thought.  First, copy the electronic charts to the Windows file system, and use as needed.  If they have been named using (Last name), (First name), they will sort easily.  The second method is to upload all the charts into the EMR.  This is common for medical centers and larger clinics.  Third, for smaller clinics, it is more common that the chart is copied to the EMR only when a patient comes in again for treatment.  This method will ensure that the EMR only has records for current and future patients.  Former patients’ charts will be accessible on the Windows file system.

If you would like more information about medical chart scanning, fill out the information form on the right.

How do you get your military records?

The Scan Man came across this interesting video that shows how military service records are stored and how they are retrieved when a service member or veteran needs to get their records.

The records are stored at the National Military Personnel Records Center (NPRC), located in St. Louis, MO.  The record center is operated by the US National Archives and contains 80 million records, mostly in paper format.  The center receives 5,000 requests per day, which requires someone to physically locate the paper records and then scan them.  The process is supposed to take 10 days or less, and it does for 75% of the records.  In 1975, the building housing the records experienced a large fire and many records were lost.  The video depicts how burned records are carefully pieced together.  Enjoy the video!


Making their Mark – Excellent Exhibit at National Archives

The Scan Man highly recommends the new exhibit, Marking Their Mark Stories Through Signatures,  at the National Archives in Washington DC.

Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures

An exhibition at the National Archives, Washington, DC
Opening March 21, 2014

A signature can be as routine as a mark on a form or as extraordinary as a stroke of the pen that changes the course of history. For example, the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence simultaneously committed the brave act of treason against King George III and created a new nation.

Well-known signatures are found throughout the records of the National Archives. Equally important are the multitude of marks by people unknown to history. The documents signed by these individuals represent fascinating stories to be discovered.

Senate “credentials” for Tristam Dalton, signed by John Hancock, February 10, 1789 National Archives, Records of the U.S. Senate

Senate “credentials” for Tristam Dalton, signed by John Hancock, February 10, 1789
National Archives, Records of the U.S. Senate

Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures” features original signatures from our nationwide holdings.  From developing a signature style to signing groundbreaking policy into law, they illustrate the many ways people have “made their mark” on history.Legislation allowing electronic signatures to formalize a contract, or using the autopen to authenticate a law is leading us further away from personalized marks, symbolized by John Hancock’s famous and distinctive signature.

Tame the Document Storm

Kodak Alaris is the new Kodak company that builds the scanners we love at Modern Image.  Read about the Kodak Alaris scanners that are taming the “document storm”

Bustling Businesses Manage The ‘Document Storm’ With Enhanced Scanners From Kodak Alaris

Tame Content

Insurance companies, government agencies and healthcare facilities face a constant storm of paper documents that threaten to flood business processes and impede the flow of critical information. In these busy work environments, batches of paper such as insurance claims, vehicle registrations and patient records can be obstacles to productivity. To stem the tide, enterprises need to quickly extract data from paper-based documents and route the information to the right places at the right time to serve customers.

“Many offices and departments still struggle with the ‘document storm’ – an overwhelming amount of paper that creates workflow bottlenecks,” said Tony Barbeau, General Manager, Document Imaging. “The KODAK i3000 and i4000 Series Scanners are designed to address this, delivering a lot of power at an affordable price to help office workers focus less on the paper and more on the information it contains.”

The KODAK i3000 Series Scanners (http://youtu.be/Ah9_5s_orhg) are compact, highly robust, A3 rotary style desktop scanners capable of scanning multiple document types. The i3000 Series Scanners have increased scanning speeds including the KODAK i3400 now at90 pages per minute (ppm).Existing i3000 Series Scanner customers can upgrade the speed on their models with a free download from kodakalaris.com/go/i3000series.

Kodak Alaris is adding two new models to the i3000 Series – the KODAK i3250 Scanner and the KODAK i3450 Scanner. Eachincludes a built-in, book-edge A4 flatbed to allow users to easilyscan file folders, book pages, magazines, passports, torn documents and more, while the book-edge scanning feature scans the entire width of book pages with full clarity.

The new KODAK i4200Plus and KODAK i4600Plus Scanners arenow more powerful,allowing users to achieve consistent throughput at 200 and 300 dpi, in bitonal and color.KODAK i4000 Series Scanners are designed to help end users cost-effectively automate document capture and management. These scanners combine walk-up ease of use, one touch scanning, comprehensive software capabilities and simplified integration within new or existing document management processes for a complete information management solution.

“You shouldn’t have to choose between speed and quality for scanning documents. The enhancements to the i3000 and i4000 Series Scanners deliver both,” said Roger Markham, Product Manager, Document Imaging. “With faster speeds and more throughput options, Kodak Alaris has added efficiency and productivity to the capture process. The real benefit of these new features is that users will now be free to focus on more important tasks to help grow their businesses.”

For easy remote monitoring and maintenance, the KODAK i3000 and i4000 Series Scanners work seamlessly with KODAK Asset Management Software.  The software features a dashboard that makes monitoring the scanners’ status and performance a simple task. Users can register, install, configure, and maintain scanners, as well as diagnose and troubleshoot remotely with easy-to-access scanner logs. Together, KODAK Scanners and KODAK Asset Management Software optimize time, budgets, resources and efficiency. Kodak Alaris offers a portfolio of protection plans that help maintain the performance of scanners for content management environments and other business-critical workflows. KODAK Service & Support for Document Imaging Solutions helps businesses protect their investment and generate added value from enhancements in operational efficiencies.

About Kodak Alaris
On September 3, 2013, the U.K. Kodak Pension Plan (KPP) completed its acquisition of the Kodak Document Imaging and Personalized Imaging businesses from Eastman Kodak Company and created a new company known as Kodak Alaris. The new company and its name preserve the heritage and legacy of the Kodak brand, while embodying the speed and agility to meet market needs and changes. Kodak Alaris, which is licensed to use the Kodak brand, will focus on strategic, ongoing investments for these businesses to ensure long-term growth and success. The Kodak trademark and trade dress are used under license from Eastman Kodak Company.

About Kodak Alaris’ Document Imaging Division
Kodak Alaris’ Document Imaging solutions enable customers to capture and consolidate data from digital and paper sources, understand and extract valuable insight from the contents, and deliver the right information to the right people at the right time. Our offerings include award-winning scanners, capture and information management software, an expanding range of professional services and industry-leading service and support. With customers ranging from small offices to global operations, Kodak Alaris delivers superior systems and solutions to automate business processes, enhance customer interactions and enable better business decisions.