Improve Your Law Firm’s Records Management with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Tracking | RFID File Tags Locate Legal Case Files
Improving Your Law Firm’s File Tracking with RFID
Is records management one of the most problematic areas of your law practice? You know that if your staff can’t find client files when needed, stress, frustration and operational inefficiencies arise in the office. A great solution to this problem is a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Records Management System.
How RFID Automatically Tracks and Locates Files with Tags
RFID tracking tags can be embedded in your files or color coded labels to provide an instantaneous location for files or documents. RFID tracking tags come equipped with tiny RFID transmitters built into file labels. The RFID Readers check files in and out of the file room and track the files wherever they go in the office and provide tracking information for when they leave the office. The RFID system enables groups of files to be processed in and out of the file room and automatically updates the file location in the database. This means if a file is moved from one office to another, the RFID software will track the file’s location, which can eliminate search time and frustration in your office. Portable RFID Readers can be used to inventory files circulating in individual offices. All you have to do is wave the Reader around your desk or office and the portable RFID reader will beep when the file is located. (Click here to read a case study on how RFID tracking improved a law firm’s record management)
Benefits of Tracking Case Files with the RFID Records Management System
RFID tracking will allow you better management of your case files and other important documents because,
•Locations and statuses of files can be automatically identified and instantaneously updated
•You can track files throughout the workflow whenever they move or change hands
•Finding missing files quickly reduces time wasted searching
Is Your Law Firm Ready for RFID File Tracking?
Southwest Solutions Group’s Information Management Division can help your law firm successfully plan and implement an RFID Records Management Tracking System. Our team of knowledgeable and experienced RFID experts will meet with you to understand your objectives, analyze your current process, and create an innovative RFID solution that meets your specific needs. Call us today at 1-800-803-1083 or email us for more information on how you can find your files when you need them with a RFID Tracking System. We also offer other records management services such as digital imaging for litigation support, managing the lifecycle of records, and RIM audits.
Improving Your Information Management System
Where do you start when you need to create and/or improve your current records management system? Southwest Solutions Group has a standardized improvement model that provides your team with a consistent road map to develop or upgrade your records management system. The Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control (DMAIC) model is a structured rigorous approach to process improvement where each phase is logically linked to the previous phase as well as the next phase.Read the rest of this entry »
Digital imaging technology is increasingly important in litigation support. Law Firms that use digital imaging technology realize immediate performance and productivity gains that improve the management of litigation cases, evidentiary documents, discovery files, due diligence records and boilerplate documents. Southwest Solutions Group is a leading provider of secure high resolution scanning, document coding, Bates stamping and full page OCR scans to assist your law firm.
Benefits of Converting to Digital Imaging
There are numerous benefits to converting to digital imaging. First and foremost, no more lost or misfiled documents found in paper-based filing systems. Also, many attorneys have heavy travel schedules, yet they still need access to vital documents. Because our digital filing systems provide secure remote access to information, you can quickly retrieve files when and where they are needed on WIFI connected laptops and handheld devices (Blackberry, iPhone, Androids) safely and securely. Some other cost savings and productivity benefits of converting your documents to digital imaging are:
• Cost savings by reducing the paper file storage requirements will enable your organization to grow, reduce costs, and use floor space for profitable purposes • Cost savings of eliminating off-site storage and document retrieval charges • Increase efficiencies in billable hours and administrative overhead cost savings of making copies and faxing documents • Increase productivity through remote file access using a secure web connection and between offices and departments in different locations (256 Bit SSL Encryption) • Protect your documents from catastrophic loss with a secure disaster recovery plan that provides secure off-site backup and access to information in the event of a disaster • Document workflow, inbound fax receiving, document redaction, editing, and Bates stamping, document consolidation • Integration with your existing Practice Management or Document Management systems • Supplement in house litigation support staff for large cases and remote projects • Unlimited users, document types, and files with no upfront fees • Compatible with most browsers and devices, including iPad, Android, Blackberry, and Mac
Our free trial offer includes a full featured document imaging configuration for you to use free for 60 days. There are no restrictions on use within your organization. In addition, we will scan a sample set of files and load them into your viewer to demonstrate the imaging quality of scanned files. We guarantee that our scanned files will be compatible with your practice management and litigation support application.
Why Southwest Solutions Group for Your Digital Imaging System
Southwest Solutions Group is more than a digital imaging conversion company. Southwest Solutions Group has been providing filing products and records management consulting to law firms since 1969. Because we have been helping law firms for years with their paper based filing systems, we understand the flow of critical business documents throughout their lifecycle, from point of creation to final disposition, which offers customers reduced risk and improved operational efficiencies with a verifiable return on investment. We have many qualified information specialists to help you understand the process and protect you from common pitfalls when converting from paper based filing to a document imaging system.
We offer many information management services including: • Master planning for converting to document imaging • Document Blowbacks (printing), Bates Stamping. Conversion of digital files (images, worksheets, emails) • Output of load files afro Concordance and other Litigation Support Applications • Backfile scanning of inactive and active records • On-site scanning • High quality production scanning • Packing, purging, and shredding services • Document backup services
Contact us today for more information about our digital imaging free trial at (800) 803-1083 or visit http://www.ssgims.com/legal/
Records management systems are typically developed in one of two ways. First, there’s the approach most companies take. They start with a very basic filing system that serves the purpose of managing a small collection of records. Often, an entry level staff member with no records management background is tasked with creating the filing system in an attempt to reduce the labor costs associated with the project.
These individuals will use a combination of whatever methods and tools they are most familiar with (top tab folders, alphabetical filing, handwritten labels, basic color coding, etc). As the records continue to accumulate, the filing system becomes more unwieldy and error prone. Things get lost or misfiled, records that should have been discarded long ago keep clogging up the system, and finding a file quickly becomes difficult.
The other approach is to carefully design a filing system that accounts for how files and other information will be managed throughout their lifecycle, regardless of how extensive the records become. Fortunately, it’s never too late to switch from an outdated and inefficient filing system to an information management solution that really meets your company’s needs.
From security to retention, federal and state regulatory agencies have very strict rules for how businesses manage their information and records. Missing documents, incomplete records, or unsecured files are a big liability. Implementing a records management program with properly designed records management software establishes and enforces internal business guidelines that meet government standards. For example, you can set up record retention and disposition schedules to eliminate records that are past their retention date. These practices increase your level of compliance and reduce your risk of government fines and penalties in the event of an audit.
Various forms of records management technologies will support best practices for managing the lifecycle of records. Technologies like file labeling software, barcode scanning and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tagging allows you to track and manage a large number of records quickly and accurately. Paired with the right software solution, you can create a seamless records management system that enhances your ability to create, label, review, inventory, transfer, and dispose of records efficiently. Records management software cuts down on the time you spend looking for (or recreating) missing records. Records management software has advanced security features allowing you to set and restrict access to appropriate personnel. Since a comprehensive audit trail is built in to the technology, you have a complete history showing when each record was create and accessed throughout its lifecycle.
Assessing Your Records and Information Management System
Need help assessing your records and information management system? Southwest Solutions Group provides a free 30 minute phone assessment of your filing system. Call today at 1-800-803-1083 for your free assessment or contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have the knowledge, expertise, and products to improve your records management process, no matter what stage it is in!
Today, barcodes are used for identification in almost all areas of business. Typically about 30% of barcode technology is used in the retail industry. The remaining 70% is used in the government, medical, manufacturing, military, and legal fields. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is rapidly increasing in popularity because of its ability to provide accurate and instantaneous information of current and historic locations of items.
The primary difference between barcode label and RFID tracking technologies is barcode labels require a line of sight for infrared beams to scan a barcode label. RFID utilizes radio frequencies (radio waves) to automatically read small microchips or “tags”. RFID tags have antennas that transmit information to an RFID reader. The RFID reader converts the radio waves into digital data to a computer software interface, providing current and historic tracking information of items as well as their exact locations.
Unlike barcode labels that require a line of sight access for scanning, RFID radio tags are read whenever the scanner is within a few feet – even if there are obstructions in the way. This proximity reading capability means you can scan files, boxes, or other items with a handheld or a fixed RFID reader device. These scanning devices automatically log hundreds of tag signals per second from a distance, without the need to physically see the RFID tag. The location data of tagged file folders and other items are instantaneously collated and viewed as a report using a RFID software interface. This means rooms of files or other tracked items can be scanned easily and quickly.
RFID readers are small enough to be installed at many “choke points” throughout your facility for file tracking. Readers can be located on doorways or in individual offices within your organization. When you log in to check the location of a record, you will be able to see where it is located and any stops the record has made along the way.
Whether you are tracking file folders, record boxes or asset items, RFID technology offers speed and accuracy compared to barcode label tracking. Other benefits to consider are:
- Inventory Control Efficiency: Because line of sight is not required to read RFID tags items can be inventoried no matter where the tag is placed on the file or where the file is within a given area.
- Locating Misplaced Items: Misplaced file locations can be easily pinpointed by using a handheld RFID device. Simply enter in the file number and walk through the file room or office area. The handheld device will increase signals the closer you get to the misplaced file.
- ROI (Return on Investment): although higher in cost initially the cost of ownership will go down if the implementation provides a significant method to improve the business process.
- Damage Vulnerability minimized: RFID tags cannot be damaged like barcodes
Successful RFID Implementation
The key to successful RFID implementation is in understanding and identifying your objectives. Southwest Solutions Group’s Information Management Division provides the experience and knowledge to help you analyze your current processes. Call us today at 1-800-803-1083 to find out how RFID technology can streamline your business processes.
Why Electronic Medical Records (EMR)?
Healthcare providers all across the U.S. are migrating their medical charts to Electronic Medical Records (EMR) to increase record accuracy, decrease waste, eliminate costly storage space, and improve patient care. Hospitals are also seeking to take advantage of government incentives under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Right now, everyone is focusing on the “carrot” of payments they can receive by implementing EMR. But the “stick” comes out in 2015, when hospitals that don’t meet federal guidelines for paperless records may be penalized with reduced Medicare reimbursements.
What’s Holding Healthcare Organizations Back from Using EMR?
The new government rules to EMR are confusing and picking the right document imaging software system is challenging. Plus, there is significant expense and disruption involved when you make such a big change in how medical records are handled. It’s just not feasible to expect hospitals to do this on their own without expert guidance from information management professionals. Software vendors are happy to sell you imaging hardware and advise you on how to install image software on your computer network; but that doesn’t help with the real-life obstacles you will face in converting your medical file charts to electronic images that can be located when you need them.
Converting medical records to a document imaging system takes the help of a qualified information management specialist who has experience in the EMR imaging process and government requirements. A qualified information management specialist will help you understand the process and avoid common mistakes that can set your organization back. For example, EMR compatible medical records scanning involves more than simply scanning records and uploading a pdf of a patient’s chart into a database. If you don’t have federally approved quality controls in place, you may end up with a bunch of electronic records that are not considered true originals. That’s an excuse Medicare can use to deny payment. Below is an overview of ten steps to converting your medical documents to Electronic Medical Records.
10 Steps to Converting Your Paper Medical Records to EMR
1. Survey – Review your current filing system to discover the best documents to image 2. Plan – Develop a master plan to map and document every step of the conversion process including establishing your document indexing requirements 3. Pack & Manifest – Box and label medical charts/records to be imaged so they can be tracked throughout the conversion process 4. Secure Transportation – Ship record boxes with documents to be scanned and imaged via a bonded courier directly to a secure image conversion facility 5. Validate Receipt – Have the image conversion facility provide receipt of shipment and confirmation documentation of all documents are present 6. Prep & Scanning – The image conversion contractor should prep documents, removing staples and repairing any damaged records before scanning documents with a high quality production scanners to ensure a high quality, clear and complete scan of each file 7. Indexing – Document The image conversion contractor should index documents according to your specifications established in Step Two 8. Quality Control – Request a sampling of imaged documents to ensure scanning and indexing accuracy of each record 9. Output – Upload the scanned records into your EMR software system or supply on CD/DVD if requested 10. Store or Shred – Provide storage, shredding, or secure shipping instructions for paper records
With the influx of compliance, e-discovery and retention policies, many organizations are desperately seeking to stifle their RIM (Records & Information Management) woes. More often than not, organizations try to fix information management problems at the end of the life cycle without understanding the beginning of the records creation process. Implementing a RIM audit program will help provide solutions that will alleviate record keeping issues at the end of the life cycle. Whether you conduct a RIM inventory/audit yourself or hire an outside resource, the following is a minimum starting place for development of a sound RIM audit program.
Identify file/document types within each department that are being created. Often times you will find they are not necessarily in line with your retention schedule; something you don’t want to find out in a litigation scenario.
How Are Records Being Created?
How are these records being created and indexed? Are electronic documents printed and filed? Understanding how records are created plays a significant role in solving the mystery of how to manage the information and develop a consistent process that takes the guesswork away from the end user and defines the life cycle of the record. Doing it right in the beginning of the life cycle allows technology solutions to take care of it at the end.
Where are the documents being stored? Are there duplicate copies unaccounted for? Lack of confidence in corporate record policies and process drives us to create multiple copies of documents so that we always have access. The problem is that when it’s time to apply retention schedules, how do we ensure that we have included the plethora of rogue copies? Understanding where these documents are, and implementing a process for the creation and retrieval of them, along with good training, will help alleviate this issue.
When Does a Record Become a Record?
Too often, documents are neither indexed nor classified until the middle or end of the life cycle. They live in a limbo state often referred to as “working documents”. Documenting and understanding when your end users create records will help define your record policy and ensure that the organizations intellectual property is identified and secured.
Why Do We Do It This Way?
Undoubtedly the most important question to consider when conducting the audit is “why”! “Why do you do it this way?” And the most common answer is….”Because we’ve always done it that way!” Understanding “why” is the first step in improving your records management program and changing the culture of your organization.
Conducting a RIM Audit will provide upper management the information they need to make better enterprise wide decisions for your business.
For more information about how Southwest Solutions Group can help you through the maze of Records and Information Management, call 1-800-803-1083 or click here to contact us.
Document imaging can be a powerful tool but is only a small piece of a records information management (RIM) system. Using document imaging solely for the purpose of solving problems is not practical. The most efficient and logical use of document imaging is for documents that have a high retrieval rate by multiple users, especially in remote areas. Making sure your application is right for document imaging is the first step in the process.
Planning to Image Documents
There are a few basic questions that should be asked (answered) before investigating the implementation of an imaging system:
- What documents do you want to image?
- What is the retrieval rate of these documents (how often are they accessed?)
- How many people access these documents?
- What do you see as the benefits of having these documents available electronically?
More often than not, if the answers to the first three questions are sufficient, determine if further investigation is sensible. However, the fourth question is vital in in starting to address the return on investment question that will undoubtedly come next.
If having certain documents available electronically aids in the level of customer service, then you could well be on your way to implementing an imaging system. If, however, many of the benefits include issues such as “no more lost or mis-filed items”, then you are probably attempting to drink soup with a fork!
When used specifically to address issues of retrieval and multiple accesses, document imaging is a solid solution. There are also times when certain documents are included in the imaging process as a convenience to upper management. This can be a valid solution for VP’s who have a heavy travel schedule and the need for vital documents on a regular basis. It also provides security for original vital documents without sacrificing access to the information these documents contain.
If you do move forward with an imaging system, keeping the index system concise and as limited as possible keeps the system user friendly and cost efficient. Scanning documents is easy and scanners are relatively inexpensive. The question is will anyone ever be able to find the document after it has been scanned? Also, remember that you must put your files in order before you scan. An inefficient paper based filing system will translate into a messier electronic document system!
Retaining Documents After Scanning
As for keeping the originals, that depends on what is scanned. If only certain documents are scanned from a file and miscellaneous correspondence or other documentation must be kept, then you might as well keep the scanned original. What is more important is that both the paper and the image is part of a comprehensive retention schedule.
For more information on document imaging and retention scheduling, call us toll free at 1-800-803-1083 or visit www.ssgims.com!
Records Management Regulatory Compliance
In the highly regulated and competitive pharmaceutical industry, corporate records management programs have become indispensable to the continued well-being of the organization. Seeking industry recognized compliance, pharmaceutical companies actively seek records management software and services to assist them in their efforts. Inherent in these policies are the mandatory ability to restrict, locate, track, and audit access to all such records.
Managing the Life Cycle of Documents
Under these compliance requirements, the pharmaceutical industry is turning to companies like Southwest Solutions Group’s Information Management Division and Infolinx to ensure regulatory compliance and to establish programs reflecting best records management practices for documents and information throughout their life cycle. For example, we recently completed a project for a global biopharmaceutical corporation whose products are marketed in over 50 countries worldwide. Southwest Solutions Group partnered with Infolinx WEB, to implement integrated life-cycle tracking software to manage their pharmaceutical records, including product batch and history files, research notebooks, and intellectual property. According to Anna Stratton, Director of Information Management Solutions for Southwest Solutions Group, “This implementation was unique because it was a model team effort, bringing together the expertise of industry leaders in storage, consulting services and technology.”
Records Management Software and Service Solutions
Having provided records management consultation and software services since 1969, Southwest Solutions Group’s Information Management Division has considerable experience helping pharmaceutical providers implement strategic and scalable records management solutions, meeting today’s stringent requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA. We manage critical business documents from point of creation through final disposition, offering customers reduced risk and improved operational efficiencies with a verifiable return on investment.
For additional information on document software and services please visit Southwest Solutions Group IMS Division at www.ssgims.com.
When the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) sought to procure Personal Identifiable Information (PII) File Conversion and File Relocation Services, they selected Southwest Solutions Group’s Information Management Solutions (IMS) Division to standardize and index their records. The VBA, along with multiple other government agencies, were relocating their records to a new facility with a centralized location. IMS staff and leaders were required to undergo a high-level security clearance including fingerprint and background investigation by the GSA security personnel.
The VBA project consisted of VBA standardization of their existing record indexing system to conform to other VBA offices around the country. Existing VBA files were spread throughout several departments with multiple document volumes separated from their original files. These documents had to be brought together, indexed, and then relocated into a centralized high density file shelving system at the new location. Weekly coordination meetings were held to administer and adjust the scope of the conversion project and meet the requirements of VBA. The IMS team developed a barcode tracking system to barcode and track PII documents and 3000 boxes of documents from various points throughout the building (including vehicles). This allowed the team to convert records throughout several areas of the building while still maintaining complete audit and tracking controls.
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