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From Archiving to Integration, Document Management Delivers Benefits in Many Industries

Document management systems have evolved since their early days to a wide range of uses in all kinds of organizations and companies. Here are just some of the latest ways document management systems are being used.

Document Management in Education

From kindergarten through grad school, document management systems enable teachers, students and parents to collaborate effectively. Students no longer have the classic excuses of forgetting assignments or losing their report cards. With document management systems, teachers at all levels can post syllabi, homework assignments, and messages for individuals or groups. They can review submitted work and issue grades. Students benefit because they can participate in discussion forums and online tutoring. And parents of students in grades pre-school through high school can stay informed of assignments, notices and progress.

Document Management in Healthcare

Hospitals were one of the early adopters of document imaging, using it to keep track of and share X-rays, tissue scans, and even text and charts from medical reference books and journals. Now, electronic document management has become mandatory for healthcare providers if they wish to be reimbursed by Medicare for services rendered.

An essential element of document management in healthcare is keeping patient information confidential as required by the 1996 Heath Insurance Portability and Privacy Act. To maintain compliance with confidentiality laws, computer networks collecting and storing healthcare data are protected by both hardware and software security routines.

In the last few years, even front office functionality has been integrated into document management systems, allowing patients to schedule their appointments and view their records from their home computers. They can even get automated text or voice messages reminding them of their appointments.

Document management systems have not only improved front and back office procedures, but patient health and safety is also enhanced because all information about patients, from their histories to their current medications is readily available. Even pharmacies employ document management systems which record patient prescriptions and alert pharmacists to possible drug interactions.

Document Management in Insurance

Insurance companies were also early adopters of document imaging systems which is not surprising considering the massive amounts of paper forms that they process every day. Health insurance companies have expanded from simply scanning paper forms and hand checking exceptions to electronic information exchange with doctors offices, hospitals, and Medicare. Auto insurance companies store photos of damaged vehicles and associate the photos with claims. Then they mine this data for claim trends to help them set rates and to prevent fraud.

Document Management in Advertising

Whether with a coupon in the newspaper, a sweepstakes entry at a trade show, or a Web-based form, most companies use advertising tied to a document management systems to sell their goods. Companies and their advertising agencies often use document scanning to process paper-based leads, with the most sophisticated systems integrating the information into customer relationship management systems. Some companies are absolute marketing machines, with every prospective lead recorded, contacted, and filtered--a process that might not be impossible without document management but would be highly labor intensive.

Even small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from document management, whether it is to make records easily searchable or to upload prospect information. The good news is, document imaging and management can be purchased as a service, minimizing distraction while delivering big benefits.

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