If you’re in charge of managing your organization’s paper documents and other hard copy files, it’s time to consider scanning your records into digital images.
We’re not suggesting that you need to scan your files yourself; your company probably doesn’t have high-capacity scanners to handle the large volume of paper files and business documents you’ve been storing for years. The good news is that a professional document imaging and scanning service company will make short work of all your electronic capture needs.
Why You Should Choose To Scan And Create Digital Files
There’s never been a better time to convert your records to digital images. There are so many benefits that come with digitized documents, many of which you may not know about. Below are 10 of the best reasons to get your office documents scanned into a digital format.
Reduce document retrieval times
With a uniform file naming system in place, your staff will be able to pull the necessary records they need in mere seconds.
According to the Gartner Group, the average employee spends 400 hours a year searching for documents. Imagine the time and money your organization would save if your documents could be accessed almost instantaneously. Even spending half the amount of time locating and retrieving files could save your organization tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. With OCR software available today, you can apply optical character recognition to your digital files and locate records almost instantaneously, even if you didn’t index or capture the file names!
Keep documents secure
Laws and compliance guidelines like HIPAA and FACTA require businesses to protect sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands. Digitally stored documents allow you to control user permissions and audit who accesses a digital copies of records as well as when the access occurred.
According to Privacy, Confidentiality: and Electronic Medical Records by Randolph C. Barrows, Jr., MD, and Paul D. Clayton, Ph.D .,
“Electronic records are arguably more secure if the proper policies and best available technologies are in place. For example, paper medical records do not allow one to obtain an accurate audit trail of who has seen the record and what portions of the record were accessed. Also, the use of paper records make it difficult to restrict certain classes of users to see only particular types of information. Paper records are easily altered by removal or substitution of documents, but an electronic document signed with an encrypted digital signature is much more difficult to alter.”
HIPAA violations can cost up to $50,000 per incident and can result in criminal charges and even jail time. Make your record keeping more secure with digitization and document management software.
Protect documents from natural disasters
Floods, fires, tornados, and other emergencies can destroy hard copy documents forever, causing permanent loss of that information. Scanned images from your business documents, on the other hand, can be backed up to cloud storage or a remote site and made available during and after an emergency.
According to the AIIM eBook, Information Management for Facilities and Operations: Knowing Your Gaps is Key to Catastrophe Preparedness, the weighted average cost of a catastrophic loss is $506,906, and includes fires, floods, hurricanes, gas, and power emergencies.
Decrease your company’s environmental footprint
Scanning your records and saving all that paper and ink will make your organization a lot greener (you’ll probably save a bundle on toner and paper, too). Be sure to choose a document scanning partner who will shred and recycle all that paper for you after they complete the scanning process, if you choose to shred your documents.
As of 2014, paper made up 26% of all municipal solid waste in landfills. Committing to digital records reduces waste in your organization.
Rapidly send and receive documents
With the omnipotence of digital technology (computers in our offices and a mobile device in our pocket), documents can be emailed or shared at any time and near instantaneously. There’s no need to make a copy and mail it out anymore, and certainly no reason to wait days for the records to be delivered. Once you decide to scan your hard copy records into digital file formats, you’ll be prepared to find and send requested information rapidly and easily!
Many document management systems allow multiple users to edit electronic files simultaneously. Getting the whole team’s ideas and feedback on a project has never been easier, reducing time spent sending versions back and forth and using cumbersome editing tools.
According to ConnectSolutions, 77% of remote workers get more done in fewer hours thanks to digital collaboration via file sharing software.
Effectively use your existing resources
How much room does your company’s many boxes of documents occupy? How many more desks could you fit in the office if those boxes were gone? How much more efficiently could your staff work if they could retrieve any document with a few mouse clicks? Many offices could make far better use of their space and staff if they switched to digital archives.
Preserve important documents
Compared to digital storage and cloud technology, physical records are much more likely to be damaged or destroyed. Paper is easily damaged, and microfilm can deteriorate over time.
Electronic file formats can be maintained (theoretically) forever because they won’t deteriorate like a physical copy. A caveat to this is that the medium that the digital data is stored on might degrade or break (think DVDs or network servers), so those physical parts need to be maintained to ensure your data is safe and properly maintained.
Improve audit compliance
Organizations in various industries face regulatory and legal compliance audits. Having the ability to retrieve digital documents quickly can make audit processes much less painful.
Part of the prohibitive costs of audits is the amount of time it takes to sift through documents. Digitization provides much quicker access to records, which is likely to reduce the overall price of the audit.
Optimize customer service
If your company delivers paperwork to customers, quick digital document retrieval will speed up the process and please your clients. And when you offer secure digital storage, you provide customers with priceless peace of mind.
Because you want to!
Ok, so we decided to throw in one little extra. The reasons above are all great, but don’t forget that you can always scan your files just because it’s something you want to do! If that’s the case and you’re scanning your files because it’s simply something you want to get over with, go for it. Don’t discount doing something purely for the sake of doing it and making yourself feel better!
Other Types of Document Scanning Services
Some document scanning companies can produce images of these films and save them in the digital format of your choice. Remote cloud hosting is another valuable service provided by certain document scanning companies. When you decide to backup your digital files to a professional remote storage site, you can rest assured that any private or sensitive information recorded on those files will be stored safely.
BMI Offers More Than Document Imaging And Document Management
When you choose BMI as your document scanning partner, you get so much more than scanning services. Our team is HIPAA compliant to ensure your information is handled and stored following proper procedures and industry best practices. BMI also runs criminal background checks on each employee, and each person who passes and is hired undergoes continuous Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) training and certification.
If you opt to have BMI pick up your documents for scanning, we offer secure transportation for your materials. Our crew will transport your materials in our large, unmarked trucks. And if you wish, we can place your papers in lockable bins before they are loaded onto our trucks.
BMI does not share office buildings with other companies. This ensures that only authorized BMI employees can enter the same space as your sensitive documents. Plus, your digital documents will be stored in encrypted drives within our high-security digital vault.
Ready to learn more about document scanning? Get in touch with BMI Imaging for a free consultation.
Now that you’ve finished our article about reasons to digitally scan, we’ve put together three other pieces you may want to explore as you continue your journey towards document conversion.
“Why Should I Hire A Scanning ‘Expert?'” describes some of the reasons why it may be best to work with a company like us if you decide to convert your records.
“Record Retention & Document Scanning” is an overview of the benefits of digitizing your hard copy records for retention purposes (just in case the 10 reasons above weren’t enough!)
“Traditional Microfilm Conversion vs. Digital ReeL” is a comparison between the traditional (aka “standard”) digital conversion methods and our flagship application, Digital ReeL. If you have microfilm and microfiche, this is a great place to start.