A large driver of interest in automation and electronic document management is based on document management compliance issues. These compliance issues boil down to four main themes.
- Retention – many industries are required to retain certain types of documents for a specified number of years. In many cases, there are both federal and state level requirements for each that must be met
- Retrieval – regulations involving access put responsibility on businesses to make it possible that users with authorized access can retrieve their documents
- Auditing – All types of financial records have regulatory requirements that must be complied with for auditing and review purposes
- Privacy – regulations related to confidentiality are many. A couple of examples would be HIPAA and FERPA
Many industries are affected by regulatory compliance requirements with respect to the control of their documents. These range from broad swaths of businesses – such as any entity that employs workers, to the many industry specific requirements. An example of the former would be the OSHA document retention requirements for an employer where a worker has a workplace injury. There are industries such as financial institutions that will have document compliance requirements involving multiple categories – auditing, retention, and so on.
Managing Document Compliance Requirements
A new year = more compliance requirements, or so it seems. Initially, some of these requirements may have seemed manageable. But, as there are updates, additions, changes, and so on, it starts taking up a lot of human resources to manage it all. Alternatively, as time goes on and your business scales accordingly, you may find yourself dealing with multiple categories of document management requirements. What started as a seed has turned into acreage of multiple types of regulations.
Retention requirements alone can be difficult to manage as you scale up – or are already a large organization, and you must find space for all of this. Then the location and retrieval of your documents gets complicated as a result.
Technology can automate and in turn, manage much of this process, through electronic document management. A document management solution addresses the big four (RRAP) compliance themes: Retention, Retrieval, Auditing, Privacy. It allows for secure storage of documents in electronic format. Electronic documents are retained in one (much smaller) location. At the same time, the documents can be searched for and retrieved by anyone with authorized access. It is the ultimate back up for security reasons, retention compliance purposes – while at the same time, providing quick access for retrieval requirements.