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EDM Group - In-house vs. Outsourced Records Scanning

EDM Group - In-house vs. Outsourced Records Scanning

There are many benefits of digitising records and documents, but some public sector organisations in the UK are still slow in making the transition. This is often due to the belief that scanning records and documents is too large an investment to justify, or too much of a risk.

EDM Group, a supplier on ESPO’s Document Management Solutions framework (390), discuss the benefits of in-house vs outsourced records scanning and the options for digitising your records.

The volume of records that healthcare organisations amongst others process has increased in the last five years. When you consider the amount of resource required to manage medical records, not only do the records take up valuable space that could be better used for clinical purposes, but they also present a number of Data Protection and Compliance challenges. Just consider the costs and risks with:

  • The increasing volume of paper which drives the cost of paper handling higher with the ongoing investment in paper, printers, photocopiers and ink cartridges.
  • Paper records can easily be damaged by fire, flooding or simply human error.
  • The movement of the paper records are usually uncontrolled and can go missing or be misfiled.
  • An on-site storage solution is a poor use of real estate; many of these areas are not fit for purpose and insecure.
  • Storage and processing of paper-based documents requires a dedicated workforce.

What are the options for digitising your records?

There are two ways that public sector organisations can choose to digitise their records and documents. This can either be done in-house or outsourced to a professional document management and scanning organisation such as EDM group.

  1. In-house records scanning

The majority of organisations will have a vast number of active and legacy records. To be able to manage the scanning of these records in-house you need to consider the following:

  Standard office-based scanners generally will not be able to cope with a high volume of records. You will need to invest in scanners that are fit for purpose, bearing in mind that they will become obsolete over time. The scanner you choose must be able to scan all the various types of documents found in for example a typical medical record, such as ECG’s, large format charts etc.


  Scanning documents inhouse is resource intensive work to undertake including meeting the deadlines expected. You will need to factor in start-up training as well as ongoing training of new systems and new staff members.


  Indexing requirements
  Digitising documents doesn’t just mean scanning them into a system. Consideration needs to be given to how you plan to search and retrieve records going forward and this might require a degree of manual indexing which can often be a time-consuming process.


  Compliance with standards
  In terms of BS10008:2014 organisations are required to align their Information Management and Information Security Policies to the recommendations of BS10008:2014. This standard has a wider mandate than the scanning service as it encompasses admissibility of all forms of digital content. EDM Group amongst the other suppliers on the framework have processes in compliance with BS10008:2014.


  2. Outsourced records scanning

The other option is to outsource document scanning to professionals, who have the knowledge, experience and skills to undertake large-scale projects. Outsourcing is usually recommended as it is generally faster and more affordable than trying to do it in-house.

Outsourcing may sound risky, due to handing over important and private documents over to a third party in order to digitise, however, your organisation can gain the following benefits:

  Best Practice
  Your documents will be scanned by skilled professionals with proven processes in place that are designed to maximise image quality and data accuracy.  Document preparation is conducted by experienced personnel to ensure documents are processed by people who understand the documents they are handling.


  Top-of-the-range equipment
  Investment in new equipment and technology is regularly made, including scanners that are capable of scanning various types of documents using high speed, flatbed, and large format scanners.


  Accuracy and compliance
  Medical records are scanned accurately under controlled processes that will ensure that no information is missed and strict quality control checks are followed.  This will further ensure that all your regulatory and compliance requirements in relation to privacy, data protection and security are met.


  Cost effective
  Outsourcing is more cost effective, as it does not put a strain on in-house resources, including staff costs, maintenance of scanning machinery, slower processing times, manual indexing and software investment.


  Select a supplier who will collect your medical records directly and securely from your premises. Choose a supplier who will also provide the tools to allow you to track your information at all times to individual patient file level.

Scanning medical records can feel like an overwhelming task and it should not be underestimated, but drawing upon expertise of scanning specialist like EDM Group can help you deal with the rapidly increasing burden of maintaining a paper archive.

To find out more about our Document Management Solutions framework (390), please click here or contact the team on:

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