Have you decided that self-storage is not right for you? A lot of people who have documents, books, or records to store decide to go with an actual document storage company, but are often overwhelmed by the choices. To help you out, I’ve come up with a top 10 list of things a storage company MUST provide to even be considered for your business.
1) Employees have had backgrounds checked: Think about it – the records center employees are going to be around your records more than you are. Do you want your records in the hands of someone who may not be able to be trusted with confidential information?
2) You can request records 24/7: Ask the storage company you’re looking into if they offer a way for you to request records. If they don’t keep staff on the weekend, you have to be able to put a request in for the next business day. Is there a website you can log into, a storage software license you can buy? If a company only accepts requests via phone, but isn’t staffed 24/7 – look elsewhere.
3) Retention schedules: This is probably one of the more important points to look out for. Once something is destroyed, you cannot recreate it, unless you think a client will accept tiny pieces of paper taped together. Therefore, you want to make sure that they have an organized system in place for retention and destruction. A good storage company will work with you to come up with a schedule that you’re comfortable with, and a destruction process that consists of a check and balances system!
4) Audit Trails & Knowing where every file is: I cannot stress how important this is. If the storage company isn’t able to pin-point exactly where the record is located at any given moment, then they aren’t going to be helpful if you need something urgently through scan-on-demand. Which brings me to my next point…
5) Scan-on-demand: This is a service that is the very definition of convenience. If you don’t need the original documents you are requesting, consider scan-on-demand. Not only do you get your documents sooner, but it is eco-friendly! You’re saving a drive to your office! Your documents are scanned in, and either put up on a file server hosted by the company, or they can be emailed ONLY if emailing isn’t breaking any HIPAA or legal laws!
6) Pest free facility with regular check-ups: This should be a no brainer, but mice can get in anywhere! Don’t be afraid to ask about what the company does to protect themselves against bugs or rodents! The details might not be pretty, but it is better than a family of mice living in your tax returns!
7) No fees for permanently pulling records out: If you aren’t happy with your record storage facility, then YOU shouldn’t have to be punished for that. If the company you’re thinking about storing with requires a locked in contract with major fees for pulling your boxes, then you may want to think twice about storing with them to begin with.
8) Security Measurements: When speaking with a representative for a storage company, ask them what their security protocols are. 24/7/365 monitoring should be answer #1. Other pointers should include: NO cell phone allowed in records center, visitors to show ID, employees must always accompany a guest. Entrances should have more than just a lock; they should require a pass code or an employee ID swipe. This ensures the safety of the employees AND your records!
9) Pack and Pick Up: This may or may not be relevant for you, but a good storage company won’t hesitate to come help you pack, or do all the packing for you. Whether you use their boxes or not, if they want to store them for you, they should offer to help get them, don’t you think?
10) Customer service: If you get the sense that you’re just another paycheck to the employees you’re dealing with at the storage company you are interested in, I would keep looking. Your records are more than just paper, they are the history of your business, or the history of a patient – if they aren’t going to be treated respectfully, what makes you think you’re going to be treated any differently? Choose a company that lets you ask questions and doesn’t hesitate to talk you through the whole process from start to finish. Choose the company that puts all their prices out in the open from the moment you start a dialogue. Know that you’re going to be taken care of before you sign your name on that line!
Whether it is 3 boxes, or 3,000 boxes you want to store, learn everything you can about the company you want to choose to do records storage with. I’ve heard from customers from local companies who are locked into a contract and the only way out is to spend 5,000 + dollars, or wait out the rest of the time. In the mean time, they’re getting charged for services they didn’t even know existed – all because they didn’t think to ask! Be proactive; follow my tips on what to look for, and good luck!
Document scanning requires a lot of well thought out plans, and methods of organization. You’ll have to make decisions about how you want to keep your digital records (i.e. your server, external hard drive, cd, etc.), do you want them OCR’d, if the hard copies are in color, do you want them scanned in color? These are all decisions that your scanning company will talk to you through, and the really good ones won’t push anything you don’t need!
A really crucial piece of the digital imaging puzzle is how you want to be able to search for these documents once they are saved. The process of titling your saved files is known as indexing. Think of it like saving a word document and giving that word document a name that is relevant to the content, but something easy enough to search for. How does it work? When you scan images, you typically scan a bundle of a time. So if you have 1500 images that need to be scanned, but they’re all different papers that need to be indexed and stored separately, that is no problem. As soon as a scanning company is done scanning, they typically go through what they call a quality control process. It is here that your images are ensured to be PERFECT, and then named to your specifications.
Here are some examples of what you’d get scanned, and how you might want to request they be indexed by:
1) Medical Records: Scanning medical records is a big undertaking. When records are in paper form, you’re at the mercy of the person who does the file backs! You look for them alphabetically and hope that they are there, and in the right order. When you scan them, however, you have a couple choices on how you want to be able to search for them. Maybe last name/first name works well for you. What if you have two patients with the name Chris Smith? That is when you might want to consider adding a search field for D.O.B. In the very rare instance that two patients were born on the same exact day and have the same name, you will need another back up. That is when something like a medical record number comes in handy. If you get in the habit of always searching by a medical record number, you will find the patient that belongs to that unique number.
2) Legal Documents: If you have a bunch of closed cases that you were looking to have archived, you know that you may need to access them at some point. How do you have those rows of documents stored right now? By case number? By defendant vs plaintiff? Or maybe you just have them stacked in boxes in a basement – trust me, I’ve seen it! Think about how you want them organized when you get a few minutes, I bet you’ll find that your ideal way of organization is very feasible!
3) Old Invoices: Not everyone has quickbooks, or a way of digitally documenting what is owed to them, and what they owe people. You are legally required to keep your invoices, and if you create them in a word based program, then you likely print and store them away in a filing cabinet. This is very risky! Scan them and have them indexed by invoice number, or client name.
4) Books: Did you know that you can have your books scanned, without having them destroyed? You can! As long as you are the rightful owner, of course. Books can be scanned and indexed however you want. Title, Volume #, Title Volume & Author – go crazy!
If there are paper records, they can be scanned. Bills, vet receipts, recipes, construction documentation – think outside the box. Don’t be a slave to paper because you don’t think there is an easier way to store it – keeping them electronically may actually streamline your productivity in ways you never thought possible.
Happy Monday, friends! We are all working hard at Brown & Meyers, preparing for the busy week ahead. It is a Monday ritual of mine to look through my upcoming calendar for the week and make sure that I am prepared for every meeting and job that we’re starting. This takes a lot of discipline, as organization does not come naturally to me. In fact, I had reached a breaking point – I literally couldn’t find anything, which is ridiculous when you work for a document management company. I don’t want anyone to be in my previous situation, so I compiled a list of things to look for so you can reverse any bad habits!
Here are my top five pointers to look for if you think you might need an organizational intervention:
1) It takes you more than 10 minutes to search for a file: This is a huge waste of time, as you know. Imagine how many times a day you need to access information that you then have to search for. You’re essentially getting paid to watch your productivity decrease, which in the end, doesn’t work out well.
2) The words “I’m not sure, let me get back to you” are part of your daily vocabulary: Part of my job is to report directly to the President of our company. I need to keep as organized as possible when we meet about the marketing/sales area of the business. If she is asking me about a conversation/assignment I had the week before, the words that come out of my mouth shouldn’t be “I don’t know”.
3) You’ve ever missed a meeting with a client: There is no excuse for missing meetings with anyone, or even being late. With so many electronic organizational tools out there, you have no reason to forget something. We use our email calendars to keep ourselves up to date. We set reminders so even if something does slip our minds, we are reminded!
4) You’ve had to have something recreated: You know the expense of having something done the first time, like a presentation – whether you did it yourself or not. So imagine having to do it twice? Only this time as a “rush” order!
5) You’ve ever missed a deadline: If you’re lucky enough to still be employed after missing a deadline, you know that it is unacceptable. Take this opportunity to go through every step of the process that you have in place, and figure out what went wrong. Was there a communication breakdown? Was something being held up on your end because you didn’t follow through? It is important to keep your clients and your supervisor as up to date as possible in the event that you need to ask for more help or an extension on the project.
How do I keep myself from making these mistakes? I stay organized. Through the help of the calendar, that I mentioned earlier, and the scanning and indexing that we do here. At the end of the day, the only paper I should have on my desk is handwritten to-do notes for the next day. Having everything organized and at my fingertips has really increased my productivity, and helped streamline a workflow.
How can something as simple as document scanning improve your company’s productivity? Think about it! How much easier would it be if everything you needed to meet with a client was something you could just print, rather than find?
The Electronic Health Record (EHR) is here to stay as the newest wave of medical technology. Why has it been so successful? One word: convenience. The process of converting paper charts to digital charts is not exactly convenient, but it is worth it. It is hard to break the cycle of searching for paper, and relying on technology such as a tablet or a laptop to get all the information you need. However, once you do it, you’ll find that this new way of documentation is much more efficient than you ever thought possible. Here are some examples as to why an EHR could benefit your medical practice, and make it run more efficiently:
1) No More Searching – Or paying people to search, for that matter! If a patient calls and you need the chart, how often is that chart where it is supposed to be? How much time do you then spend tracking it down? With an EHR, you don’t have to do that. All the most recent notes are displayed within the electronic record.
2) Save Paper - As you know, a doctor has a lot to sign off on. Seeing referral notes from specialists, ER notes, patient phone calls, etc. A lot of software promotes paperless communication, like faxing, for information that doesn’t need an ink signature. Controlled substances will likely always need to be written out on a prescription pad, however. Imagine how easy your day would be if faxing meant typing in a number and clicking send. Not getting up and walking to the fax machine, only to get distracted, put the papers down, lose them, search for them…you get the point.
3) More time with patients –The less time doctors have to spend filling out paperwork, the more time they have to spend with their patients. Yes, there is a learning curve with any new EHR system, so the first few weeks might be a little slower than usual, but once you get used to it, you’ll be golden!
4) Dictation/EHR Hybrid – It is possible to buy software that supports transcription if you feel that dictating keeps you on track, time wise. It can be tedious to type notes into a template, especially if you need to touch on things that are not on the template.
5) Revenue increase – Probably one of the more important points is the fact that going to an electronic health record can help streamline the billing process. A patient leaves, the doctor states what they were seen for and any applicable ICD-9 codes, and your billing and coding team can then go in and create a bill based off of that. The patient gets the bill in the mail, and hopefully pays it!
When you’ve settled on software that you’d like to use for an EHR platform, you’re then going to have to decide who you want to scan your patient records. When choosing a scanning company to come in and scan your patient records, be sure that they have ample experience scanning medical records. Don’t be afraid to ask for a reference – this is not the time to be someone’s test job! Get your practice a scanner so you can scan anything that comes in on paper that needs to be filed in a patient’s chart.
Just because a chart is scanned, does not mean that you can throw it out. Just typing that sentence makes me nervous! You are required by law to keep a patient chart for a minimum of 7 years. Usually only the most recent visits and notes get scanned, and then medicines, vaccine history and chronic complaints get preloaded into the patient’s e-chart. You are likely paying your scanning company per image, remember. Look into an offsite storage center. You’ll thank me later!
Practices and hospitals that have gone through the conversion process are rolling their eyes, and rightfully so. I’m making this process seem easier than it is. The decision to go to an EHR is a big investment – both financially and time wise. There will be a lot of meetings and strategic planning, and then you have to pay for the software. There are a lot more pros than cons, however, which is why the Government is pushing the EMR Mandate.
Good luck on your journey down the road to an EHR. Remember that it is unreasonable to expect that you’ll be completely paperless – business is still done with ink and paper!
Congratulations on making the decision to go paperless! You’re taking a step in the right direction, even though it may seem like a daunting, never ending process. If you’re a company that is looking to outsource digital conversion to a document scanning company, then you have a lot more important decisions to make. Unfortunately it is more than just picking an ad out of the phonebook.
First you should think about what kind of records you’re going to be scanning. What IS your office? Are you a law firm, medical practice, veterinarian office, accounting firm, etc? There may be a company in your area that specializes in scanning what your company produces for paperwork. There is a lot of different scanning software available on the market, there could very well be one that is geared toward the type of work that you do.
With that being said, when picking a scanning company, if you have too many options, it may be overwhelming. Find a company that you can trust. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. A company should be able to examine your documents, provide you with a quote, and explain everything about what their plan is for converting your documents. If there are any “let me find out” answers to your questions, you’re not talking to the right company. How secure a company keeps your documents should be discussed in the first meeting. If you’re handing over your office’s medical records, then you’re going to want to ensure that they’re as secure as they can be. Ask questions, see examples, and ask for a tour, does the company have reference letters they’re willing to provide?
The clear sign of the right company is a company who takes the stress out of the process for you. All you should ever have to do is sign on the dotted line, and pay. The company you choose to scan your images should arrange a pick up, boxing services (if necessary), job configurations, deadline adherence and of course the scanning, indexing and reassembly (again, if necessary). You should be able to request to be kept as up to date as possible during the scanning process without an eye-roll or hesitation from the company. Another good feature to ask about in scan-on-demand. Does the company you’re looking at offer a service for scanning records you need access to while they have them? Are they going to charge you for it, essentially meaning you’ll pay twice for those records? Be sure to read the fine print!
As much as this process should be about business, it should also be about trust. You can choose the company with the lowest prices, but can you trust that they’re going to do a good job? Can you trust that you’ll get your documents in the turnaround time they promised? Does the company want your business, or do they want your money? Silly question, yes, but think about it – have you ever made a financial decision out of pressure? Who benefited from that? You’ll know the right fit when you find a company that can put you at ease, don’t settle on the first one, and don’t be afraid to say no!
If I can offer one last piece of advice, it is this: remember that you get what you pay for.
Let me know what your experiences have been with scanning companies. Have you ever felt taken advantage of? Have you had a bad experience? Or, have you had a great experience, only to make you wonder why you didn’t go digital sooner? I’d love to hear from you!
We have found in our experience with document imaging that laywers and doctors are a lot more nervous to make the switch to a paperless office. They are taught to document everything on paper, and their concerns and hesitations are valid. Going from paper to paperless and learning to embrace the technology is a big change. However, with the EMR mandate looming over doctors’ heads everywhere; it has become an easy choice for them, make the switch to an EMR/paperless way of seeing patients, or lose money. The EMR mandate does come with its fair share of incentives, however, which makes me wonder why the same incentives aren’t offered to the legal community through an electronic LEGAL record! While we are probably a long way away from seeing something like that happen, I can offer you some reasons why going paperless in your legal office is far better than keeping those filing cabinets full of (un)organized files!
As I’m sure you could probably guess – the path to efficiency around here starts with scanning. Outsourcing to a scanning company is probably the best way to go, especially if these records cannot be recreated easily. Really be careful about what it is you choose to scan as you’ll be charged per image by most companies. Outsourcing also has its perks - scanning companies seek out employees that have a legal background, and therefore know how files should be organized, bates stamped, etc.
Once scanned, your legal files are very easily organized and indexed just like they would be in paper – but better! Did you know that all PDF’s can be searchable? Images can be run through software at the end of the scanning process to make every word in those documents searchable! You no longer have to skim through every page to find what you’re looking for, just type in a phrase, name, or date and you’re instantly provided with every page containing that content.
The security benefits of having everything on your encrypted hard drive should be mentioned. Keeping everything in boxes is an invitation for people to look where they shouldn’t. Anger makes people do crazy things – including breaking into places that they don’t belong! Putting your files on an encrypted hard drive with a SECURE password ensures that people who aren’t “in the know” stay that way! Security also ensures that you can set limits for what employees see what information. If you’re planning on going completely paperless, then you’re going to have information (payroll, tax, resumes, etc.) stored that is not to be viewed by everyone. Setting limitations puts everyone at ease.
If you’re a bigger office, you may consider thinking about online storage. Through a SECURE file management site, anyone of your employees with the appropriate permissions can access files from anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection. Can you say that about your office now? Probably not. This is a big bonus if you’re traveling a lot, no more relying on employees to find time to dig through files, scan, and email them to you. You’ll be much more efficient, more connected, and coming back to your office will be less of a headache!
Though it is a big investment, you will immediately see the benefits of going paperless. Your office will be more organized, and more efficient. Time will be spent working, not searching. You’ll find yourselves less dependent on the copier, paper, toner, service requests, etc. Instead of making paper copies, you can burn anything you need to a disc! You’ll impress clients and other law firms, and hopefully be a pioneer in your community.
While there may be no incentives from the government to go paperless, there are plenty of incentives for you, both organizationally and financially!
If you have any comments, questions, or reasons why you love your paperless office, please contact us!
Making the decision to go start document scanning is a big one – and not a cheap one! When you start the process of calling around and asking for quotes, you may be surprised at some of the numbers you hear. A lot of people assume that running paper through a scanner isn’t a lot of work, and it isn’t. However, the process before and after the scanning is where the bulk of the work is, and the quality of how it’s done is what you’re paying for.
We do have clients that say no to our proposals, and when I ask them what their plan is, they often say they’re going to do production “in-house”. I strongly advise against this. In fact, I would rather you choose a different company over ours to save yourself the frustration that is going to be doing it yourselves. You will not save any money, and you might even spend more.
As I stated above, document imaging is more than running paper through a scanner. You need to be organized and methodical when it comes to how you’re going to start this project. What are you scanning? Medical records? Legal Documents? General office records? They all need to at some point be indexed. How are you going to want to search for these records in the future? Is “Tax 2009” going to be specific enough, or do you need them broken down further into “write offs”, “income”, etc – we would call this bookmarking. What are you going to save your documents as? PDF’s? Do you want them OCR’d? See why you wanted to hire us in the first place?
The next step is buying the scanners, or maybe even renting them. However, as you know, renting them means paying a lot of money, only to return them! What is the tech support that comes with the scanner? Can someone set them up for you? Do you have the space for the scanners? Are you going to hire a temp to run them, or have an employee do it? Either way, there is going to be a learning curve, as there is with any new process, and you’re going to have to train them.
Now that you have some general idea as to things you need to know beforehand, you have to prep these documents to go through the scanner. You’re going to need someone, a temp or a regular FTE, to sit there and remove all staples, paperclips and rubber bands. All post-its need to be removed and taped to the back of the document it was stuck to. Are you planning on using the bookmarks I mentioned earlier? If so, your bookmark separators are going to have to be inserted somewhere along the way so the scanner knows how to batch your images. Did you know your scanning software could do that?
Hopefully your documents are ready to be scanned in the timeframe you need them scanned in! Are your employees trained to scan them? Do they know what to do if there is a jam? Do they know what to do after the batch is done scanning? Is there a quality control process? Are you sending them through an OCR software? Do you know how what you’re saving the final images to?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and frustrated reading this, think of how you’ll feel when you’re actually doing this project in-house. It is a fact that companies who choose to do their work internally look for the lower end software and scanners, which means limited to NO tech support without additional payments. Trust me, you will hit speed bumps.
People who outsource their work to us, or any other scanning company can say that it is absolutely worth the money. The turnaround times are met without any stress on their end. We offer scan-on-demand, so you’re never really without your records. Scanning companies keep their technology up to date, and are protected behind the strongest firewalls and virus protection available.
My writing this is not mean to discourage you out of going digital – but to inform you of the risks of doing it yourself! The greatest error in scanning is human error – leave your sensitive information conversion to the professionals.
There is no doubt that the electronic medical record (EMR) is a great tool for today’s busy health care industry. The fact that patient records have come out of a record room and onto software allowing for centralized access is something to celebrate. Productivity increases, patient care is improved, and it is easier now more than ever for doctors to effectively communicate with each other at a fast pace, rather than photocopy, fax, mail or call with information. However, what companies are starting to realize, is that the EMR is time consuming as far as patient visits go. Time that was once spent talking with a patient and taking down notes for a later dictation is now spent filling in templates and typing. Patients have come to rely on that important face time they get with their doctors, and the computer seems to get in the way sometimes. If you’re shopping around for an EMR, don’t be so quick to discontinue your transcription services – here is why:
- Your doctors all of a sudden go from practicing to data entry: Templates are hard to make personalized for every patient. If you see a patient for a sinus infection, but they’re also depressed – are your EMR templates going to accommodate that? Something is going to have to suffer, the patient, or the quality of the work. Entering the basic information at the time of the visit and then paying a doctor or support staff to go in after and finish everything is essentially paying for the same thing to be done twice. If you continue to use a transcription service, you can enter the basic notes, and dictate from them. Saving you time, and giving you more time with your patient.
- There are a lot of EMR platforms that integrate with transcription using discrete reportable transcription (DRT) – allowing you to dictate and have that transcription uploaded right to the patient you’ve seen.
- Increase productivity: While there are a lot of ways that an EMR will increase productivity (ability to fax a pharmacy from your computer, sign off on notes, answer patient questions) the thing that drags down time is the very thing that keeps an office running – patient visits! When a doctor’s office goes live with an EMR, they are often forced to cut down the number of visits they can have in a day so a doctor can catch up on entering information into their computers for each visit. This seems backwards, right? If you keep the transcription, you can keep that piece of your day the same, and patient visits won’t have to suffer.
- Document more with less error: Since the templates are so limited, you often have to force a place for notes. One forgotten thing, or one spelling error – and you’re at risk for a lawsuit. Plus, the notes are more meaningful and detailed.
Those are just a few reasons as to why you should consider using an EMR with a transcription compatibility option. The Government is giving some great incentives to go to an EMR, so you should absolutely take advantage of it, but they cannot dictate which EMR you choose. To keep protocols as normal as possible, you should look for a way to keep dictation as a part of your regular day to day routine.
What are we looking for when we’re at your site?
When we get a request for document scanning, we do everything in our power to give you as much information as we can over the phone as to what our services entail, but one thing we try never to do over the phone is give quotes! I know the overwhelming frustration that follows “well it’s hard to say without being there” because I get annoyed when I hear it, too. However, with document imaging, it is impossible to quote over the phone – it’s even hard to do when you have the measurements! We’ve learned too many lessons, to keep quoting over the phone or email, so we come to your site for a free analysis of your records, and provide you a quote in 1 – 2 business days after our visit! This saves you money, trust me. If you guess under what you have, we hold you to it, scan, and then invoice you a lot more than you thought we would. If we have all the numbers the first time, you have a fair quote and can make your decision from there. As much as some companies like to trap customers with an idea of a low price – we prefer to be honest from the start!
When we come on site, this is what we’re looking for:
- Where your records are currently located: Where you keep your records, tells us a lot about what kind of prep work we are in for. If you have a nice neat filing cabinet, and have practiced great organization, then we are going to assume the prep will be easy. If you live in the real world, however, maybe things aren’t so neat and tidy. Or worse (but not unusual) maybe things are in the basement, and we might have to factor in water damage or damp papers. We are certainly equipped to handle such an incident, but it is nice to know ahead of time.
- How many records you have: More often than not, the number we come up with for an image total estimate is much different than what a client thinks they have. We either estimate much more than what they thought or they were assuming they have 100,000 images and we come up with 60,000 images. I think it is important to note that we do not count each page that you have, but rather create an estimate from sample calculations that we take.
- What the prep work is going to look like. Your documents could be stored in pristine condition, but if they’re all stapled together – that is a lot of prep work for us! For prep estimation, we look at what the storage is – hanging folder, envelope, binders, or even boxes of loose papers. We look at how they’re bound, if they’re bound – are there a lot of staples in use, are there a lot of paper clips? Is what you need scanned a book that we can’t cut? We like to take apart whatever we can, but we’re happy to reassemble. Just keep in mind that reassembly will be billed as prep hours!
- How we’re going to access your records. If you work on the 12th floor of a building, we’re going to need to know how our employees are going to access those records. If it is 12 flights of stairs, we need to be prepared for the packing/loading process.
There are of course other reasons for doing a site visit. We truly believe that we are more successful as a company because of the relationships we have with our clients. The face to face interaction is much more personable than a phone call, online form, or email to schedule a pick up or job. It is also a lot easier to explain our processes and answer any technical questions in person.
To schedule a site visit,or for more information on how Brown & Meyers, Inc. can help you restructure your office into a highly productive machine, contact us
If you hire us for your document scanning needs, you will find that we do charge an hourly rate for prep - a lot of people are astonished as just how much time goes into making their records digital! Prep time accounts for anything we do to your documents to get them ready to go into digital format for you. The most time consuming prep stage is the initial one. This is the stage where we get the first glance at your documents, and get to see what shape they’re really in! Typically done a box at a time, we remove all contents of the box and start to go through each page. This is what we’re looking for the whole time:
- Staples – need to be removed. Any staple is a risk for our scanners, scratching the glass of the lens, which is very expensive to replace.
- Paper Clips – While a staple may make it through the scanner, a paperclip most certainly will not.
- Dog Ears – those folded over corners, or sometimes even edges can cut off crucial information on your documents. We do our best to unfold everything and secure it back with tape if we need to.
- Rips – older, frequently used documents usually fall victim to major wear and tear. So the problem doesn’t get worse with the automatic feeder of our scanner, we will often tape, or sometimes even photocopy the original document.
- Paper Type/Quality – there are just some paper types that don’t like to scan. Paper that EKGs are printed on or old carbon papers are just some examples. If we have any question about whether or not something will scan, we photocopy it. You WILL get the original back, but for scanning purposes, we can’t take the risk that someone will happen to the original.
- Post-it notes – this fun invention, while handy, is usually placed right on top of information that you’ll eventually need to be able to read! The post-it itself usually contains handwritten information that you may need to see, so we never throw them away. Instead, we either find a blank area on the face of the document, or we tape it to the back.
- Irregular size documents – if you’re someone who saves every piece of paper (you’re not alone), you probably have scraps of paper, receipts, index cards, etc. within folders. If you want those scanned, we tape them onto a blank sheet of paper so you can still have a record of them.
There are, of course, other things that we look for – but those are the major offenders. Clients often help out by removing the staples, paperclips, binder clips, etc., but we still have to comb through every piece of paper because it’s just too risky to send metal through our scanners. Having a scanner down would just result in a longer turnaround time for you!
The next step in prepping your documents for a digital format is of course the scanning process. All the documents we’ve ensured are safe to pass through the scanners are then rapidly scanned into our software to your specifications. Color, B&W, DPI, naming conventions – the list goes on!
Quality checking is the next key piece. We have someone sitting at a computer going through every scanned image, checking to make sure that everything looks perfect, or as perfect as it is going to look! Keep in mind that what goes in the scanner is what comes out onto the screen; we call this a mirror image. If you need something enhanced, we may be able to do this, but it is crucial that this is made known ahead of time. There is a small fee for doing this.
OCR is the next step – if you elect to have these services. OCR is the process of taking your image and making it searchable using an OCR software. It does take a bit longer, but if having searchable records is important to you, then you won’t mind the wait!
Now that we know all your documents look good, and you can search within them, we can move on to a process we call final count. This tells us exactly how many images we scanned, and how many hours we spent doing each step – this will determine how much your final invoice will be!
As you can see, prep time goes beyond removing a few staples; we put a lot of work into your project! The quality of the work we produce is more important to us than getting it done fast, speed is just an added bonus! When you get that final invoice, and see the line for prep, you’ll know all the work we put into the final outcome.