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Data Capture Uses – Identifying the Value

The uses of data capture vary across different document types and business processes, with some areas having a much greater demand. Organizations determine data capture needs based on the cost of doing business with certain document types. Below is a list of the top seven uses of data capture. This list does not take into account the number of installations for each type of use, only the need to use data capture.

Accounts Payable (AP) Automation

The most common document type found in AP automation is commercial invoices. AP processing also includes checks, purchase orders, remittance stubs, and occasionally bills of lading. The ability to automate these documents means not only a reduction in their manual entry cost, but also two other major benefits: speed of entry and employee time optimization. Now that organizations can enter these documents faster, they can reduce the time it takes to process them, and in many cases can reduce penalties or be able to take advantage of net discounts. Since the operators who typically enter these documents are not data entry clerks but employees at a higher pay scale, automation allows them to spend more time on critical thinking tasks.

Medical Billing

The most common document types in medical billing are Explanation of Benefits (EOB), Health Care Financing Administration Forms (HCFA), and Universal Billing Forms (UB). EOBs are sent by payers and processed by billers, whereas HCFA and UB documents are sent by billers and processed by payers. These documents represent the two directions of the billing process within the health care industry. Automating EOBs allows billers to retrieve the money owed to them more quickly. EOBs are classified as the most complex document type to automate, and because of their complexity, they also have the highest premium cost for entry. Hospitals and pharmacies regularly receive multi-patient EOBs which are commonly hundreds of pages long. Automating HCFA and UB documents allows payers to enter the procedures that are associated with their customers’ claims into their systems more quickly. This allows them to access the amount owed faster, reduce operation cost, and increase margins. Occasionally, billers and payers will process both documents at the same time for purposes of reconciliation.

Survey Entry Automation

While documents requiring hand-print processing (ICR) and mark-sense processing (OMR) represent a much smaller paper volume than the majority of the documents an organization encounters, they are still a common tool for collecting feedback, testing, or surveying of specific groups. Since each field on every page is in the same location, survey automation requires fixed form processing. Because of this, organizations can adapt survey entry automation technology quickly without much additional effort. The challenge of automating these documents is in the nature of hand-printed text. Handwriting is constantly changing. It varies from one individual to another, and sometimes even for the same individual over time. Because of this, it is necessary to have a properly designed form in order to constrain the writing as much as possible. Automating these forms reduces the cost of entry even with the mandatory step of quality assurance, and is usually much more accurate than manual entry.

Handwriting is constantly changing. Because of this, it is necessary to have a properly designed form in order to constrain the writing as much as possible.

Bill Automation

While similar to AP processing, it differs in the fact that corporate bills for utilities tend to be very different from commercial invoices, and typically have their own business process, value, and method of processing. Bill processing, unlike AP automation, does not combine document types. The most popular form of bill processing is the processing of telecommunication bills, bills generated by phone utilities for phone and cellular service. For large organizations, these bills create large avoidable expenses, and can quickly get out of control. Processing telecommunication bills requires a specific setup of the data capture system. These bills usually contain multiple pages of repeating data elements. Organizations require different information depending on their business process. For most organizations, circuit level data (the highest level of detail on a telecommunication bill) is not necessary, although for some it is essential. Like other bill types, the automation of these bills is an opportunity for companies to take advantage of NET discounts, pay bills on time, and reduce entry cost. Regarding telecommunication bills, automation helps manage usage fees more closely, and increases an organization’s ability to negotiate service plans.

Mortgage Documents

The property closing process is filled with a large variety of critical documents. For banks, mortgage companies, and title insurance companies, the information contained within these documents is critical to ensuring that a loan is properly structured and complete. While these packets contain the same information for the most part, their format varies greatly, and they often include special information based on the situation or state of a loan. The primary purpose of automating mortgage documents has been to classify these pages so that they are suitable for automatic filing. For certain document types, organizations will take the additional step of getting information, usually loan or property details. Automating these documents makes the entire process of recording and monitoring loans substantially easier. Before automation was used, these documents generally were not keyed, but stored in physical storage and retrieved on an as need basis. With automation, the search and retrieval process can be instantaneous and the need for storage is reduced.

Logistics Documents Automation

The automation of delivery documents may be a part of AP automation or it may be its own distinct process. The documents in this category include bills of lading (BOL), packing slips, and packing lists. While packing slips and packing lists are sometimes identical, they can occasionally come at different stages in the shipping and receiving process, and obtain separate values. The purpose of manually checking these documents is to verify that the contents of a shipment are accurate or to inform the receiving organization’s downstream processes associated with new deliveries. Automating these documents allows staff to focus less on the details of each shipment, which increasing their ability to monitor the overall shipping process and increase efficiency. In addition, automation may allow organizations, typically manufacturers, to initiate faster downstream processes associated with part deliveries.

Human Resources

Human resource departments have a large range of document types that can be automated. The majority of the documents that a human resource department faces are one-off, new-hire documents that are too low in volume to warrant the use of technology. These documents, which consist of hire forms and resumes, are not usually automated. There are times, however, when organizations have a large volume of paper forms due to changes in employment policy, insurance plans, HR compliance, or just as a result of employee surveys. Because it is the HR staff’s responsibility to enter these documents, the entry time detracts from critical HR tasks. By automating these documents, organizations get instant value from them while saving precious staff time. In the cases of policy or insurance changes, these documents also pose a legal risk value, making time-to-entry critical.