Records Management Blog | Practical Records Management

3 Reasons to Outsource Your Document Scanning Project

Posted by Michael Thomas on Tue, Apr 06, 2010 @ 11:46 AM

As more and more companies implement Document Management Systems to help them deal with their growing paper problems, I wanted to share with you three reasons why you should think twice before jumping headfirst into Document Scanning using your own resources. Three Reasons to carefully consider outsourcing your document imaging requirements to a Professional Document Scanning Company are:

1. Lower Cost - Virtually all practices looking to begin scanning files will start by Purchasing a Document Scanner. The good news is that most of the scanners on the market today are of decent quality and offer most of the same features. Unfortunately, most of the document scanners that companies purchase fall into the Desktop or Workgroup Category, meaning that they can only scan about 1,000 Pages Per Day. If you're looking to process a significant volume of documents, you will need a High Volume Scanner, which can be significantly more expensive - even upwards of $20,000. In addition to having to buy more expensive equipment to address a significant Backfile Scanning project, you'll also need to dedicate Labor Resources to Pull Staples, Run the Scanner, and Index all of the scanned images. All of this costs money, and since Document Scanning is not within the core competency for most businesses, it takes more time to get through the process. Using an Professional Document Scanning Company lets you have all of your document scanned for a low price per image meaning that your costs are directly correlated to the number of documents to be converted, not the amount of time that it takes.

2. Improved Turnaround
- If you believe the old adage that people will make the work fill up the time, then Document Scanning is a sinkhole for employees looking to make the work last. It's difficult for many companies to judge the performance of a Document Scanning operation, and as a result many projects will take far longer as expected as staff blames the equipment, the quality of the paper, and nearly anything else they can find for the poor turnaround. An Outsourced Document Scanning Company will be responsible for delivering results in a designated timeframe, and it will be in their best interest to turnaround your job as quickly as possible because they don't get paid by the hour!

3. Improved Quality and Accountability - Like so many things in life, experience makes the difference in the Quality of Document Scanning results. Outsourcing your Document Scanning means that you'll have a team of professionals to ensure that your work is done correctly and that both image quality and data accuracy are given the attention that they deserve. In the event that there are issues with the completed project and you need something to be corrected, a Professional Document Scanning Company you will also be able to turn to your chosen vendor to help make things right.

Bottom line, think twice before you take on a large Document Scanning Project with your own equipment and resources. It may be more than you bargained for, and you may be able to save a lot of headaches by outsourcing the work to a team of document imaging professionals.

Tags: Paperless Office, Document Scanning, Document Imaging, Medical Record Scanning

How Much Does Medical Record Scanning Cost?

Posted by Michael Thomas on Thu, Apr 01, 2010 @ 12:05 PM

We talk a lot on our blog about Medical Record Scanning as more and more people are out there looking for services to support the nationwide rollout of EMR Solutions. It's common, however, that we get a request from someone looking for a rough idea of Medical Record Scanning Prices. It's an understandable question, as I know that I wouldn't want to sign up for anything without at least having an idea as to what the price was!

Well, I first need to preface this with the standard - your Mileage may vary, but depending on the complexity of your project, typical medical record scanning prices are between $.04 and $.12 Per Image. Some of the factors that will influence these prices are:

  • The amount of Document Preparation Required - If your Medical Records have a lot of Staples, Clips, and fastners, or if you need files to be sorted based on sections and sub-sections of the chart, you'll likely be toward the higher end of the pricing scale.
  • The Volume of Medical Records to be Converted - Document Scanning Services are one of those things where it definitely pays to buy in Bulk. Our Price per page builds in all of the setup and administrative costs, and those are offset by having a higher number of pages to convert.
  • The Indexing Criteria Required - If you need to search for Patient Information based on First Name, Last Name, and Medical Record ID Number, that's pretty standard. If, however, you want to add additional information to your images - Phone Number, Addresses, etc. - it will require more time, and ultimately will affect the price per image. (Keep in Mind that if you already have a EMR or Database system that we can use to lookup additional data based on Medial Record ID Number, you can add as much or as little of this information as you'd like.
If you're looking to get a quote for your Medical Record Scanning project, please take the time to get an estimate based on your specific requirements. We'll be glad to provide you with an estimate, and we can even provide you with a sample of our services to let you see how easy our process is and so that you can get a feel for the quality of our work.

Tags: Document Scanning, Medical Record Scanning, Healthcare

Bulk Document Scanning - Make it someone else's problem!

Posted by Michael Thomas on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 @ 02:32 PM
If you're staring at a mountain of paper and not sure where to start, take a deep breath and read on. Bulk Document Scanning is easier than you think. When it comes to converting significant volumes of paper, the easiest, most cost effective option is often to outsource it to a professional document scanning company like Shoreline Records Management.

Bulk Document Scanning is not like most scanning projects, where one or two files need to be captured at a time, and therefore usually calls for a different approach. The key to scanning significant amounts of paper is to ensure that there is a repeatable, high quality process in place to ensure that all of the documents are scanned and indexed accurately so that they can be retrieved when needed. This often takes not only high-speed scanning equipment, but also a very specialized process involving teams of people who specialize in each facet of Bulk Document Scanning Projects incuding:

Document Preparation - Pulling Staples and Sorting through Boxes and Boxes of Paper is a necessary component of Bulk Document Scanning projects. That's why Shoreline has a team of Document Preparation Specialists who work to ensure that your documents are cared for, sorted, and classified correctly so that you can find your content when you need it.

Document Scanning - Trying to Scan Tens of Thousands of Pages through most office scanners is a certain recipe for a service call. Shoreline uses Production Document Scanners to ensure that capturing tens of thousands of pages per day is a breeze. Our operation is engineered for high volume scanning and we use industry leading technology to ensure the best possible image quality at the same time.

Indexing - To effectively index a bulk document scanning project requires a team of dedicated index operators. Documents must be accurately indexed to ensure that files can be found when searched for.

Quality Control - Ensuring that images are clearly scanned and accurately indexed is essential to a Bulk Document Scanning Project. Outsourcing means that there is an entire team focused on document scanning while you stay focused on your business.

If you're staring at a lot of paper and looking for the quickest, most cost-effective way to convert it to digital images, consider Outsourcing. Bulk Document Scanning is so much easier when it's someone else's problem!

Tags: Document Scanning, Document Imaging, Medical Record Scanning

Backfile Scanning Takes a Step Forward

Posted by Michael Thomas on Wed, Mar 24, 2010 @ 02:23 PM
Backfile Scanning is becoming increasingly important for companies who begin Document Imaging projects. Most of the time, these projects start innocently enough, with a company looking to take advantage of the many benefits that electronic document management has to offer - reduced costs, improved efficiency, increased compliance, etc. Soon after though, the glamorous vision of the paperless office is quickly replaced by a harsh reality - someone has to do all the work!
Document ScanningWhether you're scanning medical charts, converting loan files, or processing applications, Document Imaging is never as simple as just putting some pages through a scanner. This is especially true when dealing with a backfile scanning project. In order to start the process, someone needs to go through the files and remove all of the staples, repair dog-eared corners, tape small pages, and partake in other fun paper-processing tasks. In addition, the files must be sorted correctly to ensure that the structure of the files will be meaningful and useful when the files make their way to the document imaging system. This process involves inserting barcoded separator pages or stacking the pages in a specific way to allow the system to recognize one document from another. Quite often people don't realize that this manual document preparation work is required before you've even put the first page through the scanner.

After the preparation is done, the files must then go through the scanner and be captured as images. This too seems easy enough, except that most document scanners are not designed to handle thousands or tens of thousands of pages in a day. High Volume scanning requires specialized equipment that can sometimes cost $20,000 or more.
If you've made it this far into the process, you now will need to accurately Index your documents by tagging the files with appropriate metadata, or keywords, and then implement a process for Quality Control of scanned documents.
The good news is that the document imaging project isn't the problem. The problem is that Backfile Scanning is a lot of work, and most of the time is better suited to be an outsourced initiative. By outsourcing your backfile scanning, you can keep your staff focused on more productive tasks while a team of professionals handles your scanning needs. By using Outsourced Scanning Services to handle your backfile, all that you're responsible for is a fixed price per image. The service provider will be responsible for handling the document preparation, scanning, indexing and quality control and would provide you with images via CD, DVD or FTP.

To find out more about our backfile scanning services, check out our Document Scanning Services section and contact us to see how we can help with your specific requirements.

Tags: Document Scanning, Document Imaging, Medical Record Scanning

Unlocking the Paper Shackles from your Information

Posted by Tom Doyle on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 @ 04:04 PM
  • How many times have you needed to access an important file or reproduce a form to support a customer inquiry?
  • Have you ever gone to the file cabinet or Archive to access a transaction, only to find the document is missing?
  • How about producing a proof of delivery ticket, so you can collect an open receivable?

If you're like most business organizations, the answers to these and many other document management questions are: Everyday, Yes, and Often.

So why then are you still filing paper documents?

Accessing information critical to the success of any business should be as easy as doing a google search.  It is, if you scan. Imagine the efficiency gained, not to mention the improvement in customer service, if you could respond to customer inquiries while actually on the phone with the customer. Document Scanning provides more value than just ease of use though. Imaging allows for collaboration, can provide compliance with industry regulations, increases the level of document security and can help to easily manage the life cycle of all business information.

Using scanning technology to create workflows driven by the presence of rules in a business process reduces the reliance on a human element from getting things done efficiently. A manager or director, whose approval is required for a process to move forward, can approve the necessary documents electronically instead of having to have the paper in front of her. If that person is out sick or on vacation, the documents can be routed to other managers to move the process along efficiently.

In many instances companies who have been successful changing the culture from paper to electronic images, have enlisted the help of an expert. Outsourced scanning services companies, also known as Service bureaus, have the experience and infrastructure, through the use of high speed scanning equipment and specialized software, to complete jobs quickly and return image files to a secure system where end users who have the proper security rights can access the information.

Today's business environment demands that organizations react quickly and efficiently to support their customer base. Capturing, sharing, storing and securing business critical information electronically, while reducing the reliance on one dimensional paper documents, enhances this requirement.

Tags: Paperless Office, Document Management, Document Scanning, Document Imaging

Document Scanning gets a Black Eye in the UK

Posted by Michael Thomas on Fri, Mar 19, 2010 @ 10:23 AM

According to an article published today on Kable, a UK based service provider that helps public officials to make informed decisions about technology, an ineffective document scanning strategy has caused a major snafu in processing Student Loans across the UK.

Document Scanning gets black eye in UK

The National Audit Office (NAO) says that the new scanning system at the Student Loans Company (SLC), designed to store and transmit electronic copies of documents to processing teams, did not work.

It had not been properly tested and the firm's contingency plan was "seriously flawed", according to the report published on 19 March 2010


While it may be about a situation that has occurred on the other side of the Atlantic, this News highlights the importance of ensuring that Document Imaging and Document Scanning projects are being done correctly. Whether you’re scanning student loans, imaging mortgage files, or converting paper Medical Charts, if you’re going to scan these files yourself you need to make sure that you have implemented and tested your process from start to finish. End-To-End testing of Document Imaging Processes is a vital step that we’ve seen many companies fail to recognize.



“The question must be asked how the Company, given its failure in 2009, will deal with twice as many applications in 2010, when it becomes responsible for applications from both first and second year students. The Department and the Company must give the highest priority to achieving a radical improvement in the service and, in so doing, to restoring the confidence of applicants and stakeholders. They will have to manage substantial risks.”


Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, 19 March 2010

(From The NAO Report) 


This story also further highlights the value of using a Document Scanning Service. Companies that specialize in Document Imaging and offer the service of Scanning Paper to digital formats have a wealth of experience in focusing on process controls to ensure that your information is processed correctly. This can help to reduce the risk of lost or misfiled documents and improve the overall quality of your document imaging endeavors.

Whether you’re imaging yourself or outsourcing your document scanning, cases such as this one serve to further highlight where your focus should be – on the value of the information. It’s not good enough to just capture a good quality image. You must ensure that documents are scanned clearly AND that they’re indexed and processed appropriately so that the value of the content can be put to use.

Tags: Records Management, Document Scanning, Document Imaging

Medical Record Scanning Project Preparation Guide

Posted by Michael Thomas on Thu, Mar 18, 2010 @ 08:59 AM

In order to efficiently manage a Medical Record Scanning Project, it’s helpful to understand what is involved in the process.  A clear step by step overview will help clarify expectations and will save you lots of time and frustration later on.

Scanning medical records is not overly complicated, and with some careful planning, you can ensure that your practice runs more smoothly and efficiently than ever before. Also, If you're inclined to outsource, selecting a company that works with you as a partner can result in greater satisfaction with the process and the end result.

The following are the steps to the medical document scanning process.

1.  Analyze - First, identify what documents are to be scanned.  Medical Files can be boxed and labeled so they are able to be transported.  It’s important to have a system to be sure you know what’s in the boxes, just in case there is a need for one of the documents during this process.   A qualified vendor should work side by side with you when scanning medical records to be sure that you have access to your charts. Be sure to confirm this during your vendor selection process.

2.  Inventory - Prior to beginning a Medical Record Scanning Project, an inventory should be created highlighting all of the charts you want to convert. This can be something that your staff does, or your vendor offers.   Don't overlook this step - You will want to be absolutely sure that you've captured all of your Charts, and this is the best way to give you confidence in the process.   

3.  Preparation - Imagine the havoc that staples and ripped or torn documents can do to a copier... well, they don’t work well with scanners either.  Before scanning medical documents, any torn pages must be repaired, sorted, and staples, clips, fasteners, etc. must be removed.  This is time consuming, and most companies who take on scanning medical documents instead of outsourcing become frustrated at this point. Remember, Clean, clear, useful document scans are entirely dependent upon this step.

4.  Scanning. Each medical document is scanned.  During this phase the identification of the documents is entered. Again, somewhat labor intensive, this phase requires attention to detail that many companies just don’t put in.  If you are scanning medical records yourself, and hire temporary workers, you may wind up with less than professional results.  Especially for scanning medical records and documents, this is important.   (Shoreline’s team are expert at ensuring efficient and competent production at our service center.)

Medical Document Scanning


5.  Quality Control. The last thing that you want is to pull up a patient’s record at a critical moment and the information is indecipherable.  A good quality control to evaluate every image will assure this doesn’t happen. Missing documents, missing images are unacceptable. (At Shoreline, every image is reviewed to be sure it can be read. We also make sure we didn’t miss any documents or images during the scanning process.)

6.  Index. Indexing the documents is another critical element of scanning medical documents. In order to be found easily, the index utilizes an identifier such as the patient’s dob, patient ID, social, or patient number.   As records are scanned, charts are captured and tagged in a manner consistent with the EMR or EHR program.

7.  Import Data.  The scanned medical records that have been indexed are entered into the electronic records system.  The vendor should work with your records management vendor to assure that the documents are successfully accessed upon demand. Imaged information is integrated into the EMR or EHR system. 

8.  Disposition or Inventory.  From time to time, records must be destroyed or re-called to be accessed physically.  A document solution provider should be capable of providing a secure system for both. Whether the document is to be stored in a climate controlled environment within a warehouse, or to be destroyed, the security of the information is of paramount importance, particularly with HIPAA requirements of medical records.  (At Shoreline, Certified Document Destruction is offered for sensitive information.) 

Tags: Document Scanning, Medical Record Scanning, EMR

Medical Records Scanning Services help Reduce Risk

Posted by Michael Thomas on Wed, Mar 17, 2010 @ 11:00 AM

Hurricane force winds and gale rains toppled trees and created havoc in the New York Metropolitan area this weekend. Thousands were without power, and the storms caused  damage to countless homes and businesses. So What does this have to do with medical record scanning?

Scanning medical documentsand other important records is a safe way to

Medical Record Scanning

 ensure that your files are safe in the event of a natural disaster.  Case in point, most group practices try to make the most of the space that they use for offices, patient rooms, waiting areas. When it comes to documents and storing them, often a less desirable space is where the documents are stored. Many doctor’s offices will use a basement or garage area for storage where thousands of files are kept.

During the recent downpours in the NY Metro area, there were downed trees, localized flooding and damage to buildings.  High winds and Nor’easter conditions are not that frequent, but they do happen, just like Tornados on the Plains or Hurricanes on the Gulf Coast. From a Document Management perspective, The dilemma is that when the rainfall is coupled with the soggy, saturated ground conditions, there is nowhere for the water to go and consequently, many previously dry basement storage areas are suddenly prone to wet conditions or flooding.

Wet files are then a place where mold and other toxic and bio-hazards can grow.  In the damp environment, even a relatively dry area can be a breeding ground. Retrieving the files is unpleasant, and may also result in exposure to the mold.  Not the healthiest of conditions.

By scanning medical records, or by storing them offsite, this recipe for unpleasantness can be easily avoided.  In addition, a hybrid solution where scanned medical document and offsite document storage solution enables the practice to maintain medical records offsite, as well as access key information on demand.  Now is the time to take action and protect your valuable records. And keep in mind that whatever option you choose, Scanning medical records will lead to improved efficiency and reduced errors and also help your practice transition towards the future of the Paperless Medical Office

Tags: Document Scanning, Medical Record Scanning, Healthcare