Written by Jim Altig
MEDI is one of the most technically sophisticated document conversion companies in the Mid-Atlantic region. This high degree of technical acumen and scope is a direct result of MEDI being a leading system integrator for a variety of document imaging systems. This translates into an ability to handle all types of documents, all varieties of deliverables, data merges, and uploads to existing imaging systems as well as extensive experience with business process outsourcing or BPO.
MEDI is able to convert approximately one to two million images per month, from virtually any media to any media. Performing these services since 1985, knowledge of applications and regulatory compliance requirements is MEDI’s stock in trade and we share our expertise with our very diverse client base. Document Management is the sole core competency for MEDI with 100% of our revenue coming from it.
With document conversion, there are two very necessary conversations: security and process.
MEDI is dedicated to providing a secure environment for the conversion of customers’ documents and data. Some of the steps taken to secure MEDI infrastructure, physical office, and client records in order to comply with industry standards are as follows:
- MEDI hires only US citizens.
- MEDI conducts a background check on all prospective employees before hiring.
- MEDI will not hire anyone with a criminal background.
- MEDI uses a closed network for all conversion projects.
- MEDI maintains a Secure FTP server for use when the customer cannot provide one.
- When the MEDI SFTP server is used:
1. A username and PW will be provided to the customer.
2. Contact will be made prior to a scheduled transfer.
3. Contact will be made when the transfer is complete.
4. MEDI will immediately download and remove the data from the SFTP site.
- Symantec anti-virus software is required on all MEDI workstations.
- Anti-virus software is updated daily.
- All external Instant Messaging has been disabled on all MEDI workstations.
- Firewalls are active 24/7 and monitored.
- MS Active Directory is integrated and access is tightly controlled. Audit logs are reviewed.
- MEDI passwords are required to have a set of complexity rules e.g. non-dictionary, lower, upper, numbers, and special characters.
- Foreign Media: any media that originated outside of MEDI or has been brought into MEDI is considered foreign and must be fully virus-scanned before being introduced into the service bureau.
- All external devices or computers are considered foreign media; no external network connection is possible, without administrator intervention.
Physical Security of the Premises
- MEDI lab facilities are equipped with intrusion, fire alarm, and over-temperature systems which are monitored 24/7.
- MEDI labs external doors are locked and access is granted for employees via visual recognition.
- Document storage security – in our facility all documents are caged.
- MEDI practices a “clean desk” policy. No employee will leave their workspace with corporate or client information visible unless their office has a lock on the door and the lock is engaged prior to leaving their office.
MEDI has instituted an internal quality assurance process in order to be compliant with industry standards set forth by organizations such as AIIM and ARMA to ensure the highest quality in our conversion process.
MEDI Process Controls Begin With The “Chain Of Custody” In The Transportation Of Your Documents
- MEDI personnel are used for all regional client pick-ups; unless otherwise requested by the client.
- MEDI delivery vehicles are locked at all times.
- MEDI drivers are insured and required to carry a picture ID.
- All pick-ups and deliveries include MEDI transmittal forms either created by Bar Code or a manual manifest. This begins the “Chain of Custody” for the documents.
Once In-House, the MEDI Process Controls the Client Records through MEDI’s Production Tracking System
- MEDI has developed a process which audits all functions and aspects of the document conversion process.
- MEDI prepares an inventory of all documents picked up at the customer’s site. When boxes arrive at a MEDI conversion center the inventory list is entered and tracked in our production process.
- Each box is labelled with a unique label for tracking. As the box is moved from one conversion step to next, the label is updated at each processing step. Our process tracks individual boxes in each phase of the conversion. This ensures the security and tracking of each box of documents.
- For project uniformity and adherence to specifications, our production managers create written instructions for all phases of the project; preparation, indexing, scanning, quality control, and deliverable.
- Our production managers identify and track each and every employee who touches a client record and project, be it document preparation, scanning, indexing, or Quality Control inspection.
MEDI Process For Emergency Retrievals
When a file is requested by the client, while in MEDI’s possession during the scanning process, the request is fulfilled and returned as an encrypted, password protected PDF file via email. This allows retrievals to occur typically within four hours of the request, negating the need for a physical “rush” transport back to requestor by vehicle.
Before files are scanned or indexed, the pages within them must be organized into logical documents. This is a critical process as frequently bar codes or “break sheet” dividers are inserted in the prep phase which later controls file and index structure.
MEDI typically defines the document preparation requirements as one of the following:
Light Preparation is the quickest method of preparing documents for scanning and indexing. The pages are considered to be in good shape, uniform size, and quality. Light Preparation does not consist of removing staples, paper clips or binder clips, and mending bent corners. It assumes documents will be sent to MEDI in a scanner ready state, requiring only barcode or break sheets are entered by MEDI to separate files. The Prep Clerk will not read the document to determine if all necessary index points exist. The pages could consist of a letter, report, and spreadsheet but all would still be imaged as a single record.
Using a standard preparation method, pages within a file folder or physical binding (staple, paperclip, etc.) are considered to be a unit and will be imaged as a single database record. This file level database record contains all pages within the file or binding regardless of the type of document within that grouping. The pages could consist of a letter, report and spreadsheet but all would still be imaged as a single record.
This method is typically used when the files are not heavily retrieved or when the file or binding level creates records that have a manageable number of pages. Many times, it is cost effective to retrieve images the same way paper files were retrieved. A database search produces a file and the user pages through the images of the file to find the specific ‘document’ needed. For large backfile conversions, this type of preparation is most commonly deployed.
Here document boundary determinations are based on an obvious change in document type, date, title, author/recipient or pagination. A letter, report, and spreadsheet stapled together would become three separate database records: one for the letter, one for the report, and one for the spreadsheet.
This method is extremely useful when the end user needs to be able to pinpoint specific documents or document types. Many times it is necessary to retrieve all reports or all correspondence and this method allows those documents to be identified and reviewed without hunting through numerous files attempting to find a specific document. For a day-forward imaging or for a small back-file conversion, this approach is easy to manage.
Detailed Structured Preparation
With detailed structured preparation, the pages are organized into documents more subjectively. Many times the documents are organized into groupings, database records, by subject matter, or based on guidelines developed by document type (rules for invoices, reports, legal documents, etc.).
This method requires that the text of the documents be read in order to determine how they should be organized into database records. Preparation with this level of detail is expensive and requires a great deal of client interaction and training for the production personnel.
Paper scanning occurs on high-speed Canon scanners, typically at 300 DPI as either Group IV TIFF, JPEG or PDF images. MEDI utilizes Capture Perfect with all our scanners, which dynamically adjusts such things as brightness and contrast for poor quality documents and ensures the highest quality image and the most accurate representation of the original document.
Microfilm and microfiche scanning is performed on ScanPro 2000 series microform scanners, providing enhanced images from media. All sizes and reductions of film are accommodated, including 35mm and aperture cards.
Large format media is scanned in a variety of formats and resolutions, including B&W, grayscale and color, to meet the specific requirements of our customers.
MEDI typically defines the indexing requirements as the following:
MEDI has extensive experience indexing from a variety of sources including barcode, zone OCR, reference table imports, and others. When possible, MEDI uses a process called “Match & Merge” to populate index values and ensure accuracy and completeness of indexes relative to the documents being scanned. This is accomplished by using data from a host system and matching it with a unique index value obtained from the conversion document, saving keystrokes and therefore money. This occurs in the MEDI post-production phase.
Accuracy Standard: The measurement of accuracy for all stages of the document conversion process including indexing is calculated as follows:
Accuracy (%) = (Total Opportunities – Missed or Incorrect Opportunities) / (Total Opportunities)
Each individual indexer’s work is reviewed during the coding process to ensure that the quality standard is met. MEDI has proven QC methodologies that include tally reports on a per field basis during the objective and subjective QC coding process; automated alphabetized data lists such as vocabulary/spell checking for data normalization and automated identification of “null fields”. The first step is the review of indexed data. This step involves a QC team member comparing the indexed data to the document to verify that the information coded is accurate and complete. During the initial phase of a project, the percentage of the document population reviewed is very high. This ensures that the indexing guidelines are understood and that the quality standards meet the expectation of the contract. When accuracy levels are consistently met, this task is performed on a sampling of each indexer’s completed work. If the sampling does not meet the agreed-to accuracy standard, then another sample will be taken; errors are corrected and so on until the indexing standard is achieved.
Data/Image Transfer QC
The technical team is utilized at the beginning of each new conversion project for the delivery or uploading utilities be it actual media or FTP (File Transfer Protocol) These utilities are used to verify that the export file is in the correct data and image format for the client’s destination software, and also to provide one last programmatic check of the data. After each phase of the conversion, the page and database record counts are verified to ensure that information is not lost. The export/delivery phase is no exception.