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Document Imaging Success....

posted Oct 3, 2016, 12:41 PM by Craig Williams
Since the 1980's CMC Imaging and Com Microfilm have been in the forefront of Document Imaging. Writing a number of articles for magazines, journals and newpapers we not only talked about what could be done we did it. 

Systems built in the 1980's although they have upgraded, are still in place and used, sometimes very heavily.  With over 8000 users in one of the busiest systems running the question is often asked of us, what makes a Document Imaging System successful?

I can not transfer 40 years of experience in a single newsletter but I can give you an outline of what I think is the cornerstones of the successful systems we have seen. 
Some of these things will sound like project management philosophies which could hold true in any system not just document imaging systems.

1: Users find value and use the system. 
    They say that if you build a better mouse trap the world will beat a path to your door.  Those people obviously failed marketing 101.  You could build the best system in the world but if you have no one using it, it is worthless.  Users must know the system, adopt the system and use the system which means they need to understand it and own it.

2: Systems must meet good library standards.
    Document Imaging Systems are common depositories of indexed and retrievable information available to many users in common formats.  Sounds just like "a collection of material organized systematically and kept for research or borrowing" a library.  In the case of document imaging systems they are shared on a computer network to users under a set of standards. Standards are the most important part of the equation as without standards how do a large group of people find what they need.

3: Systems need a good shepherd. 
    If you have ever been in a library there is a head librarian and others who follow the standards that are setup in the library.  In fact, many libraries do not want you to put the book back on the shelf after you have taken them down for fear you will misplace the item. They tend to the library, guide and direct the use of it and are responsible for the information there.  A good shepherd/librarian will have a dramatic effect on your systems.

4: Do not change for change sake:
    Have you ever noticed that libraries never seem to change but they really have changed dramatically? Libraries do not change their systems, storage or collection they change how you index, access and share that collection.  A good document imaging system will have key information that never changes identifying the objects and their relationship to others. For instance. In a medical facility you have a Medical Record number, that is you in the facility. Everything points to that number but you are not the number the number represents you. So the other systems in the facility have your name and the number so they can find it easier. But everything is still filed by that number.  Most agencies, companies, organizations have the same kind of systems in place. Invoices, drivers licenses even traffic citations have numbers identifying them  making them unique.  Find the unique and the common and leverage them against each other. JUST DO NOT CHANGE IT unless you have to. 

5: Use outside information:
    Outside information is the best thing to happen in our computer age.  With databases and SQL and internet and all of the different ways to get data there is lots of data to go around.  Yet we rarely use that information outside of the gathering spot.  USE IT!  If you have a database with every ones medical #, name, etc why enter it again?  Use this by capturing the UNIQUE data, in this case medical record # and fill in the blanks from the other database! In computer database terms we call it normalizing a database. 

So in short, Value, design, shepherd, use other resources and remain steadfast in your practices have made for some of the most successful systems we have seen.

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