Business data present on paper has to be converted into electronic format to preserve it for long-term use. Data from surveys, customer sign-up forms, health claim forms, product registrations, invoices, insurance claims, rebate forms, and a number of other sources needs to be keyed in regularly and kept up to date for any time reference and use. In-house data entry is rife with many problems such as the project becoming more expensive than expected, poor quality data, failure to meet deadlines and so on. Completing the tasks under pressure and hard-pressed for time, accuracy is often compromised. The practical solution to these issues is finding the right data entry services. With digitization drives rapidly taking place all over the world, data entry outsourcing has soared in importance. What is the advantage of outsourcing to a top quality service provider? Your partnering company will take care of everything right from the receipt of the source document, scanning and imaging of the documents, hosting, and file management of data and image files.
Finding a reliable service provider is however, a challenging task.
- The most important thing you need to look for is accuracy in the absence of which the output is virtually useless. All data should ideally be double-keyed and compared with the original to make sure that the information entered is correct and of outstanding quality. Multi-level QC is important as it provides data of a superior quality.
- Experienced professionals are a major requirement because the more experienced a provider, the more reliable and quicker is the data processing. Moreover, they can take up and successfully complete any possible data processing project.
- Cost is of course a factor to consider, and firms with a large pool of workforce and offshore resources provide the service at an affordable rate without compromising on the quality of the output.
Let us consider an instance of successful digitization that made top news recently.
Data Entry for a Busy Hospital’s Digitization Drive
One of the UK’s busiest hospitals, The Royal Free in London is on a massive digitization drive of its 750,000 patient files, but is set to complete it soon 2 years ahead of schedule thanks to the efforts of its outsourcing partner, a UK-based bureau and business process outsourcing firm. With around 500,000 outpatients and 68,000 inpatients being treated each year, and many achievements including being the first UK hospital to conduct a liver transplant from a live adult donor, there is quite a reputation at stake. A recent acquisition has increased the hospital’s turnover to around £935 million per year and its staff to 10,000, with 180 of them devoted to IT.
The process began with scanning a year ago. Optical character recognition (OCR) was another important process since it involved driving content from the records and then making use of text analytics and big data. In the main phase of the digitization, 50 to 60 hospital employees were also involved in the process. The hospital CIO explained that they wanted to modernize the medical records so that lengthy case notes would be available when they are required in digital format – in order to improve patient care and experience, and cut costs.
Being a highly reliable BPO, the partnering firm utilized modern, advanced scanning equipment and had in place robust disaster recovery plans to ensure business continuity.
Outsourcing Speeded up Digitization and Cut Costs
It took a turnaround of five days from the record collection to the image upload, two days for the day-forward scanning and two hours for the A&E (accident and emergency) records. The images have been transmitted securely through leased line to the hospital’s electronic documents and records management (EDRM) system.
The hospital had put forward a 0.01% image failure rate too for the scanning, which was met. The images are loaded into the hospital’s information management system to be made available to clinicians at the point of care. As mentioned before, the digitization work is set to complete well ahead of the deadline.
- The hospital had a number of staff working on its medical records; these resources will not be needed once the digitization is complete.
- A boost in the bottom line is expected not only on account of the reduction in staff, but in storage space as well. When the records are completely digitized, a large physical area will be cleared in the building that can be used for more important functions other than for storing and maintaining paper medical records.
Data Entry for Handwritten Documents
Conversion of handwritten documents is one of the other requirements of data entry. Many documents requiring digitization in offices and governmental institutions are handwritten, and OCR and ICR (intelligent character recognition) software plays a vital role in the scanning software. Back home in the U.S., the Beinecke Library is collaborating with Yale University Library to digitize videocassettes that were originally played on VCRs.
The above mentioned teaching hospital’s experience is a classic example of the advantage of using data entry and document conversion services. It also shows how digitization can be done quickly and cost-effectively.