Monthly Archives: February 2013

Police departments increase efficiency by going paperless

When one thinks about crime fighting tools, there are a number of different forms that come to mind. Firearms, handcuffs, mace and a notebook may be the big ones that are seen in every police television show and movie, and one of them is on the way out.

According to a CITEworld article, a number of police departments are starting to turn to iPads and iPhones. The piece highlighted this plan by profiling how the Redlands Police Department in southern California has adopted the technology. Back in 2009, the department was forced to layoff 19 officers and needed to find a way to save money and increase efficiency.

One of the biggest differences has been the removal of stacks of paperwork thanks to mobile applications and document scanning.

"A simple thing is we don't even carry around those map books anymore," Lt. Travis Martinez, of the department's Community Policing Bureau, told the news source. "Now we have access to anywhere in the U.S. at our fingertips. We just plug in the address and the location on an iPad or iPhone and we go."

The department has also developed an application which allows officers to conduct field interviews with suspects that have yet to be arrested but are a person of interest. Using the app, all information that is collected can easily be accessed at a later time during the investigation.

On top of that, the department has encouraged officers to present other ways to use the technology. One of those was to scan the traditional incident report, convert it to PDF form and place it on every device. This makes it more efficient and easily shareable.

The increase in mobile devices in the workplace are making the use of document scanning and sharing practices more important.

Dentist office goes paperless to attract new customers

When one thinks about a paperless office, a typically business setting is the first company that springs to mind. However, the benefits go far beyond tossing out the stacks of paper and streamlining communication. Any organization, with some creative thinking, can reap the benefits of a paperless environment – even a dentist.

Smiles by Rosie, a new dentist's office that has opened in Somerville, Massachusetts, is doing things a bit differently. In a Somerville Beat article, Dr. Rosie Wagner – the woman behind the new dentist practice – was interviewed about why she decided to make the changes she did.

Her new office is in a building that once housed taxis and ambulances, has cheerfully painted walls that display local art, a special children's room and a Zen corner. She is accepting new patients, and targeting those that have not seen a dentist in some time nor have special needs.

The paperless environment has allowed her staff to become comfortable with other tools like mobile applications. Because of this they are able to send information to patients that may be blind or deaf in a way that is more accessible.

"I learned in my residency service that a lot of dentists don't focus on those types of patients," Wagner said. "Behavior management is a key part of dentistry. No one wants to be here. I wanted those patients to be a part of a comprehensive, flexible office."

Going paperless offers more than just a way to free up some space or share information more easily. In the case of Smiles by Rosie, it is helping more customers have access to a healthy mouth. With some creative thinking and the help of document scanning technology, any businesses can move further into a digital world.

Paperless offices increases impact of business intelligence solutions

Business intelligence solutions are starting to take the corporate world by storm. As more information is created digitally, the ability to harness that data and use it in the decision-making process is crucial. This is easy to understand when you consider that today’s big data system work in real-time.

Last week the Bob McDonald, the CEO of Procter & Gamble, held a conference at the company’s Cincinnati, Ohio headquarters with the IT leaders from several organizations like Boeing, BP, Disney and Goldman Sachs. According to an InformationWeek article, during his talk, McDonald stressed the importance of using BI solutions.

“We have to move business intelligence from the periphery of operations to the center of how business gets done,” McDonald said.

However, these type systems require electronic information to work properly. That is why aside from business intelligence solutions, McDonald also laid out a plan to make all company processes within P&G paperless. By digitizing these procedures, it creates more internal raw data that can be analyzed. With this form of information, a BI system can break it down in real time to help find business trends.

Records that are stored on paper cannot be incorporated into any of these solutions without someone taking the time to manual input every pertinent piece. However, by implementing a document scanning system, a company will be able to more easily transfer all of their existing files to a digital format.

A paperless office offers more than just a better way to organize, store and retrieve data. Having documents in a digital medium allows business intelligence software to better recognize and analyze the information.

Illinois school district continues ‘paperless’ education

Since being introduced in 2010, the iPad has altered the way several industries handle their daily operations. From business information sharing to photographer portfolios, the growing tablet market is reducing the use of paper, cutting costs and improving productivity. One field that has jumped on the “paperless” bandwagon is educational institutes.

According to a recent report in – the Illinois town’s local newspaper – School District 97 has taken another step towards creating a paperless classroom. In the system’s eight elementary schools, each class has received iPads that are worked into the curriculum. Superintendent Albert Roberts, who has retooled the use of technology for education since taking over in 2010, said that so far 200 iPads have been bought for the kindergartners.

“The real goal is to help them become excellent communicators and very literate; to be productive in the work that they do. We know kids are not going to be working everyday and every hour with technology, but to use it in a way that makes them engaged and to work collaboratively,” Roberts said.

The “paperless” model extends far beyond the classroom. The school system has set up a “digital backpack” which is a web-based feature on the districts website that houses links and PDFs with information that formerly would have been sent home with students in a big bundle of fliers and notices. Each teacher also has a web page with assignment information that can be accessed from anywhere.

The school board is onboard too. They have replaced their bulky board packets with an electronic “board book” that contains the agendas, minutes and links to reports for every meeting.

With the use of document scanning, the school system is able to transform the stacks of paper into a much easier-to-access digital form which ensures everyone is able to stay in the loop.

The benefits of going paperless

Offices of all sizes are starting to see the benefits of adopting a paperless solution. As mobile devices increase in functionality and applications turn tablets and smartphones into any number of different tools, it is easy to see why a digital presence is becoming more highly sought after.

But what do companies actually gain from throwing out the paper and picking up a digital medium?

A recent article from Business 2 Community answered this question in a recent article. According to Melisa Cammack, the author of the piece, reducing the paper filing saves money and increases productivity, among many other advantages.

“With traditional methods, accessing information can take ages. Digging through file cabinets and mountains of documents can prove to be quite a challenge,” wrote Cammack. “All files can be stored inside of a single location, and with the click of a mouse, these files can be accessed instantly. Once a business goes paperless, they gain the ability to?? access important information and documents instantly. Vital information is stored in a single, secure location that is accessible from almost anywhere.”

Cammack also brings up incentive programs that many vendors offer paperless companies, better security, improved disaster recovery and more organized financial records in the case of an IRS audit. Companies can go even further and create mobile applications to handle certain processes and further streamline daily operations without paper.

For all of this to work, however, companies need to transfer all of their existing documents into the digital format. With the use of document scanning and business process software, an organization can easily convert their stacks of paper into an easily readable version for a tablet or computer.

The VA takes steps towards paperless claims

There is nothing worse for administrators than a backlog of paperwork, especially if they are in an industry that has a new influx of papers everyday. This has been the problem for the Department of Veterans Affair (VA) for some time as a backlog of disability claims currently exists. However, that may be coming to an end with the help of a paperless approach.

Back in November, the Hartford, Connecticut regional office was the first to officially process a paperless case. It was the beginning of what the VA hopes to be a system wide switch in the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS). The new solution is available in 18 locations and will be rolled out to all 56 offices in the country by the end of the year.

“It feels so good to be part of the 21st century, when it comes to technology,” Diana Rubens, VA deputy undersecretary for field operations, told The Washington Post.

The system cuts the average VBMS processing time from 240 days to 119. While it may not completely eliminate the backlog, it is considered the first and most crucial step in an effort to transform the system.

While the paperless process is the future the VA is still dealing with a mountain of paper. The department is encouraging veterans to file online, but they understand that many older ones are going to continue to use the older physical forms. Also, the claims that have been submitted in paper form will need to be scanned and converted into a digital format. With so many advantages to going  digital, including streamlining workflow and increase organization, more organizations, like the VA,  are turning to paperless solutions.