Posts Tagged ‘information management’
Managing Productivity Problems in Alphabetical and Straight Numeric File Systems
If you’ve been using an alphabetical or a straight numeric filing system to organize your medical charts or company’s records, you may want to consider the benefits of terminal digit filing or end digit filing. To determine if end digit or terminal digit filing can benefit your organization, ask yourself if you can identify with any of the following statements.
- Do you experience misfiles in your alphabetical filing system due to clerks filing names incorrectly or have to constantly train staff on how to file alphabetically?
- Do you have a difficult time evenly and equally distributing the workload to your file clerks for productivity?
- Do you need to backshift files periodically to make room in your file shelving after purging records?
Problems with Alphabetical Filing SystemsYou would think alphabetical filing would be easy to set up and manage, but alphabetical filing systems can be very difficult to maintain. Some of the problems with alphabetical filing systems are:
- Difficulty in managing where file growth will occur in your filing system resulting in periodic reorganizing and shifting of files to make room for file growth.
- Misfiled information due to confusion in how to file certain names
Below are some alphabetical filing situations that can cause confusion and hamper the productivity of your records management:
- When a file name includes two surnames – the mother’s and father’s last names – rather than a first, middle, and last name
- If several files have the same name (such as Tom Jones or Mary Smith)
- Determining if Mc names come before or after Mac names
- Patients who go by their middle name instead of their first name or patients with hyphenated names
Problems with Straight Numeric Filing Systems
Straight numeric filing systems identify each patient with a unique number, eliminating any confusion about which file or patient chart you are looking with an alphabetical filing system. The main problem with a straight numeric filing system is distribution the workload evenly and equally among your staff and reorganizing and shifting files after purging records. Also, with any numeric filing system you need a cross reference database to connect the patient or company name to the file number.
Benefits of Terminal Digit Filing and End Digit Filing
Terminal digit filing, or end digit filing, makes more sense for managing large quantities of records. Terminal digit and end digit filing allows files to expand at a controlled rate, eliminating the need to shift files after purging older records. Depending on how you set up your terminal digit filing system, the last two, three, or four digits of the file number are treated as a single number. Since all numbers in the file are sorted by their ending digits, equal sections can be set up in your file shelving containing the same number of folders, so work can be divided up evenly amongst your file staff. Terminal digit filing does not change the numeric file labels, it just reorganizes the files in such a way that allows you to better manage your filing system.
If you are considering the advantages of converting to a terminal digit or end digit filing system, call us today at 1-800-803-1083 or contact us, and one of our records management experts will call you to discuss your filing requirements.
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 »
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.
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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