Records Management Blog | Practical Records Management

5 Ways Accounts Payable Workflow can Improve Profits

Posted by Michael Thomas on Mon, Apr 12, 2010 @ 01:53 PM
Accounts Payable doesn't need to be viewed as only a cost center. In fact, there are some easy changes that can save significant financial and labor resources, and help the organization's bottom line. Effective Document Management is certainly one of them, but these changes are critical to helping further drive the value:
  1. Leverage Electronic Payments instead of Paper Checks - Many vendors provide Routing and Transit Numbers on their invoices to allow for Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Payments of Invoices. With the ever increasing cost of postage, not to mention toner, paper, and time, why not save the stamp and submit payments electronically instead?
  2. Request PDF Invoice Copies from Vendors - For many companies, EDI still accounts for only a small portion of the invoices processed on a regular basis. Until that changes, why not request that vendors submit PDF Copies of invoices instead of Paper Invoices? It will save time spent opening and copying invoices, and will provide a high-quality, clear source document to work from when processing approvals.
  3. Eliminate Manual Data Entry - The Single Greatest Expense in the AP Process is the cost of Manual Data Entry. The time spent by employees keying data into the ERP System from Paper Invoices prevents them from performing other critical tasks and focusing on vendor and process management. Software can now perform much of this data entry via OCR, and save up to 90% of the Labor typically associated with Invoice Processing.
  4. Reduce Errors and Duplicate Payments - It's hard to get anyone to focus on their task when it's 4:55 on the Friday before Memorial Data Weekend. When it's invoices that are being processed, that extra "Zero" can make a big difference, and result in overpayments that need to be resolved. Why not let software perform the data entry and ensure that the right number of zero's are tagged on every invoice? Unlike People, Software doesn't need coffee breaks, either.
  5. Tighten The Processing Timeline - Early Payment Discounts can be seized, and Late Payment Penalties can be avoided when clear control of the Invoice Approval Lifecycle is implemented right from the moment an invoice is received. Using Electronic Workflow tools, users can review and approve invoices from a web browser, avoiding lost or misfiled invoices, and helping the company to improve spend management. This lets the company capture the discounts and avoid penalties, which is essential to effective AP management.
To learn more about how to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and enhance the bottom line of your AP operation, visit Shoreline's Accounts Payable Automation Center.

Tags: Document Management, Document Scanning, OnBase, Document Imaging

Document Management and the EMR - Conflicting Signals

Posted by Michael Thomas on Wed, Apr 07, 2010 @ 06:07 PM

There's a great post on the Hyland Software blog about how the Electronic Health Record needs to show more than just Patient Data. The post highlights some feedback from Last Month's HIMSS Conference, but the point is that Healthcare Organizations need to keep their eyes and ears open as they move forward with implementing Electronic Medical Record Systems.

It's alarming how many of these EMR Vendors are creating completely closed systems and relying on inexperienced technical resources to develop their "Document Management" portfolio. I would compare this to Ford Motor Company deciding that they were going to let Automotive Engineers design the LCD Screens in their newest Vehicles... It just doesn't make sense. The logical choice is to let the LCD Screen Makers do what they do best while Ford focuses on producing quality vehicles.

The Document Management has an entire industry behind it with focused, specialized software products that address issues such as integration, distributed capture, and technical details such as Image Caching, Security, and Audit Trails. Most of the EMR Vendors that I've been exposed to have a great core competency in managing Data relating to a Patient - meaning that they excel information that is naively electronic or input directly into their product. I've seen a trend, however, where the Document Management piece of the solution is much more of a bolt-on that doesn't work quite as nicely or provide the features of a true Enterprise Content Management System.

In the end, the best case scenario for many practices, clinics, and hospitals is to choose the EMR that is going to suit their Clinical Practice the best, while at the same time exploring a Document Management Solution that enables efficient Medical Record Scanning for Legacy Information and tight integration with various business and clinical applications, including the EMR. This strategy provides the best long-term prognosis for success by leveraging the strengths of each technology while not sacrificing future flexibility or scale.

What's been your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Tags: Document Management, OnBase, Medical Record Scanning, EMR, Healthcare

OnBase is Awesome - Document Management Haiku

Posted by Michael Thomas on Mon, Mar 29, 2010 @ 02:45 PM
I never really understood poetry, but I do remember the Haiku - 5 Syllables, 7 Syllables, and then 5 again. So simple, and yet so beautiful. Kind of Like OnBase.

OnBase is the Haiku of Document Management Software, so I figured that I would make a Haiku about OnBase. Enjoy...

OnBase is Awesome

Folders and Integration

Find All of Your Files

If you want to know what could be so awesome about Document Management Software that it could inspire this incredible poetry, schedule your demo and let's talk about how OnBase can inspire you.

Tags: Document Management, OnBase, Document Imaging

What does the Apple iPad mean for Document Management?

Posted by Michael Thomas on Mon, Mar 15, 2010 @ 01:18 PM

With the news that the Apple’s iPad has accepted pre-orders for upwards of 120,000 units, there is a great deal of speculation of whether the device will make its way into the Corporate IT Landscape.  How will it work? Who will use it? What applications will lead to rapid adoption? These are the same questions that

apple ipad

 accompanied the release of the iPhone, and with more than 15% of the smart phone market, the iPhone has answered these questions by commanding the attention of every IT department whether they like it or not.

The game may change even more significantly with the release of the iPad, and the subsequent release of numerous other Slate or Tablet-Based Devices from the competition. Since the iPad is not tethered to a particular Wireless Service Provider, the anticipation is that the iPad can soon begin to replace many of the notebooks and netbooks floating around enterprises of all sizes. As this transition takes place though, how will users be able to quickly and easily find related documents or supporting information directly from the iPad?

Now, more than ever, the importance of creating an efficient, easy-to-use taxonomy for Documents and Content becomes even more important. Perhaps even more importantly, Records Managers and Information Technology Professionals must start to give more thought to the context in which a user is retrieving a specific document, and provide built in links to related documents. This context-based linking is crucial to long-term usability as we drift further away from a “Keyboard and Desktop” environment toward a device-driven user community.

Hyland Software, the makers of OnBase, have included this Cross-Referencing Technology for years, allowing a user to click on a key word or section of a document to retrieve other, related documents. This technology becomes all the more useful when a user has no input mechanism in front of them other than the image or document on their screen.

As of this writing, however, it doesn’t seem that any of the major ECM Vendors have made any major announcements regarding expanding their functionality to these devices.  So we’re still left with questions - Will ECM Vendors recognize the potential of being able to virtually “pass” a document from one iPad to another? Which solution providers will recognize the value in being able to distribute content in a meeting setting to multiple iPad’s? The iPad is supposed to be released on April 3rd, so It’s safe to assume that we won’t have to wait very long to find out.

How do you envision using the iPad in your company? Have you given any thought to the strategy of making your content iPad-friendly? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Tags: Document Management, OnBase

OnBase 9.2 Released by Hyland Software

Posted by Michael Thomas on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 @ 06:27 PM

OnBase 9.2 has been released by Hyland Software, and there are many new features that will continue to deliver value to clients looking for Enterprise Content Management solutions, as well as those who have already invested in the OnBase ECM Platform. 

Continuing to build on the customer focused approach that has provided Hyland Software and the OnBase product with such a loyal customer following, OnBase 9.2 offers clients significant capability enhancements including a new User Interface Experience (Unity), Workflow Integrations for Blackberry, and a new Offline Client that will expand the ability to use OnBase in remote locations without network or internet connections. 

OnBase Authorized Solution ProviderAs an OnBase Certified Solution Provider, Shoreline Records Management is proud to increase the value that we bring to our clients Enterprise Content Management initiatives with the release of OnBase 9.2. "I think some of the features in OnBase 9.2 will continue to truly differentiate OnBase from other ECM Vendors." Said Thomas J. Olivieri, Chief Technology Officer for Shoreline. "For Example, the Mobile Workflow for Blackberry shows a great commitment to delivering the solutions that customers are requesting. I'm glad that we've been able to work with such a customer-focused partner." 

Prospective Clients Interested in Learning more about OnBase should visit ShorelineRecordsManagement.com or Hyland.com, and existing clients should contact Account Manager. Also, be sure to check out Hyland Software's new Blog at Blog.Hyland.com.

Tags: ECM, Paperless Office, OnBase

Enterprise Search - To Search...or To Find?

Posted by Michael Thomas on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 @ 12:27 PM
For years, I've spoken with clients about making all of their companies' information available to users just like a "Google" search. Recently, I've begun hearing from clients and prospects, however, that they're beginning to see tools like Google Search Appliance (GSA) as an alternative solution to true Enterprise Content Management. This question is extremely valid, and to be honest, I couldn't put my finger on exactly what the right answer was.

In Early March 2009, I had an opportunity to pose this question to Miguel Zubizaretta, CTO of Hyland Software during their Team OnBase Conference. Miguel answered the question for me in a way that finally made it clear to me how ECM Technology and Enterprise Search Technology are different, and perhaps just as importantly, how they need to co-exist. "The Google, or Enterprise Search Paradigm is different from that of ECM." Said Zubizaretta. "When you do a search online, in Google, for example, the user is looking for content that relates to a specific search term. What is returned is a series of results which have a relationship with the query. If a user has their question answered or issue resolved, or if they find something relevant to that query, they're satisfied and the search was a success. The question, however, is does that query provide ALL applicable results, or does it even provide the correct result? That is the purpose of ECM."

ECM technology is built on the premise that documents and content are indexed with certain, specific pieces of metadata, or keywords. This allows for a very high degree of specificity when conducting a search - Dates, Amounts, and other Identification are specifically tagged to that object. When searching within an Enterprise Search Platform, however, the results are largely based on an algorithmic scoring and interpretation of the text within that content. This means that the search may locate the item that you're searching for, but it also may neglect certain documents that were relevant to the query, but which were not defined to have a direct relationship with that document via common metadata or keywords.

Therefore the real difference between the technologies is reflective of the two purposes for their use. If you want to find ANY answers to a given query, then Enterprise Search is likely an acceptable strategy. If, however, you want to be able to find ALL applicable answers to that query, then ECM technology is likely to be the better choice. This is especially important for CTO's and other Technology Decision makers to understand as they invest in systems, because without accurately capturing ALL of the possible results, there could be dire consequences for the business.

In addition to the difference in the search paradigm, other functionality, such as version control, audit trails, and workflow are often inherent to ECM systems. This makes ECM a critical component for a company's regulatory and audit compliance. This doesn't make these two technologies mutually exclusive, but rather quite complimentary to each other. The ability to provide full-text search capabilities within an ECM System is often very useful for eDiscovery Processes, or when someone remembers an obscure fact about a given document, but may not remember where they read it. Likewise the ability to conduct a broad Enterprise Search and view all of the ECM Results within the same window can provide a great method of federating the retrieval of content that may not be stored within the ECM System. So while neither ECM nor Enterprise Search alone are the panacea for all that ails enterprise information management, but together, both technologies can go a long way to improving the end-user experience and help users find the information that they need to make better, more informed business decisions.

Tags: ECM, Enterprise Search, OnBase, Google

RAC Audits - What is a RAC Audit? Why should I care?

Posted by Michael Thomas on Tue, Feb 23, 2010 @ 12:38 PM

The first question when I mention RAC Audit to someone is inevitably the same. "What is a RAC Audit?" They ask. And it makes sense. In the great shuffle of money through the government systems, many of the programs and acronyms seem to blend together and create a general sense of confusion. But, RAC, which is an acronym that stands for Recovery Audit Contractor, is different. RAC represents the efforts of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to mitigate overpayments to providers.

This means that in rolling phases throughout 2009 and 2010, Healthcare Providers - Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Home Healthcare Organizations, Durable Medical Equipment Companies, Physicians Offices, or anyone else who bills Medicare - are going to be subject to audits to review improper payments. The RAC Program was implemented to protect the Medicare Trust Fund from fraud, abuse, and waste; and in 2007, $10.8 Billion Dollars were identified as improper payments.

The RAC Audits are being performed by four contractors, who have been selected by CMS, and are paid on a contingency basis. This means that it is in the Contractor's best interest to identify improper payments, and that the process is almost sure to expand to State-Run Medicaid Programs within the next few years.

The Facts and Figures associated with a RAC Audit...

  • Demonstration program conducted in:  AZ, CA, FL, MA, NY and SC 
  • $980 million dollars in overpayments
  • $38 million in underpayments were paid to healthcare organizations
  • RAC auditors made approximately 525,000 overpayment determinations
  • Over 102,000 appeals were filed and 4.6 percent of the reviews were overturned
  • 85% of Medicare recouped payments were received from inpatient hospitals
  • $693.6 million was returned to Medicare Trust Funds
  • Costs for running the program were $0.20 for each dollar collected

What can be done to mitigate the impact of RAC Audits on my organization?

Once we've defined a RAC Audit, and the impact is understood, the next question that I'm often faced with is - "What do I do about it?"

This is an easier answer. Together with our partner, Hyland Software, AMS Imaging offers a unique solution to help organizations deal with the RAC Audit Process. From Start to Finish, our RAC Audit Software Solution provides the immediate visibility and detailed reporting required to address audit concerns. In fact, the RAC Audit Tracking Solution boasts the following features:

  • Prompt response to RAC auditor's medical record requests
  • Maintains itself without the need to hire additional staff
  • Identifies missing documents so prompt action can be taken
  • Generates e-mail notifications and letters in response to audit requests
  • Provides assurance that all deadlines will be met, including appeal initiation
  • Generation of reports to track the status of audits through the RAC process
  • Identification of trends to identify potential problems within an organization to help alleviate future issues
Find out more about how AMS Imaging Can help address your RAC Audit Concerns - Contact our Solution Development Team today.

Tags: OnBase, line-of-business software, ams imaging, OnBase 11.0