Recently, a hospital in a major metropolitan area revealed that more than 300,000 records containing protected health information were missing from a document management area. In fact, the records had been missing for at least two months. Now, an investigation is pending while the hospital works to protect the patients’ identities and credit. Imagine if that same hospital could’ve completed a virtual audit, accounting for each file with over 99.9% accuracy?
With today’s technology, that’s now possible and will soon be expected, if not required. In the records management industry, the growth of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is revolutionizing how companies conduct audits. RFID uses new technology to tag information with a unique code that can be read from a distance. It can be completed instantly and there’s no need to physically handle the record, even if is hidden behind other records.
New legislation (such as Sarbanes-Oxley Act and HIPAA) combined with internal security and governance demands, put additional focus on controlling, auditing, and safeguarding your records—paper or digital. Consider the manual audit: It would take a worker five years to complete a full scan of – a typical information center (IC) with one million cartons of records and data. Even with teams of workers and an established audit process, it would be costly and time consuming.
Today’s industries are built on real-time information. New technologies allow us to quickly communicate and conduct business with anyone, anywhere. That same focus on immediate response time is now possible in records management. Consider how much information passes through each company, department, and individual a day. Now, as more people share information and create digital documents, there’s also an increased focus on privacy and security laws.
That focus on accuracy and reporting is making audits more critical to every organization. When RFID is employed, it can advance the audit process by confirming the contents of information cartons as they arrive at an IC, and by allowing records managers to produce an active file audit. Records managers can pull details on specific files immediately. The RFID tagging process is advancing as well. It’s now possible to tag and audit data tapes in sealed containers and new types of tags and readers allow for more precise file identification.
A lack of inventory control can impact every part of your business—the headlines are full of examples of lost records and information security breaches. As today’s businesses advance in technology, document management must do the same. Review your processes and consider how RFID technology could enhance your efforts.