Document Viewer Automation Tools - for the Life of Your Data

Leveraging the right tools for document processing helps throughout the Document Lifecycle

Document automation, according to Wikipedia, is the ‘design of systems and workflow that assists in the creation of electronic documents’, but what about the lifecycle of documents after they are created? The processes for revising, processing, archiving and accessing the ever-increasing volume of information (and regulations governing how this data is handled) need to be addressed as well. Leveraging the automation tools built into document viewing and image conversion offerings, as part of an electronic content management (ECM) strategy, can make handling your organization’s data a much simpler task by taking into account the lifecycle of document and image files.

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The (often mandated) Life of a Document

In the digital age, information not only has a traceable life, but for most organizations, regulations exist that ensure that data is maintained, protected and archived under strict guidelines or compliance standards. Governmental Acts passed over the last few years include HITECH (The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) for the healthcare sector to protect patient privacy. In the financial industry, acts include the Sarbanes-Oxley Act with specific mandates and requirements for financial reporting for all public companies (enacted after corporate scandals including those by Enron, Tyco and others that cost investors billions) as well as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act designed to improve accountability and transparency, introducing new fund regulation and reporting by all public companies of employee pay ratios and other compensation data.

Regulatory compliance standards exist to protect us all and level the playing field, but must of course be integrated into existing enterprises’ data handling procedures as these acts are passed and enacted. IT professionals must work diligently to keep up with the advent of ever-more complex regulatory compliance requirements. Currently, regulatory standards are in place covering the areas of data privacy, security, retention, protection and accountability all to help safeguard consumer and patient information. Checks and balances within these areas exist to preserve the information and data. And investigative processes verify the integrity of privacy, security and data protection, and audits are required to ensure accountability.

Leveraging Viewing Tools to Streamline Document Processing & Lifecycle Management

Automating the processing of documents through your organization can be a daunting task, add in compliance mandates and lifecycle tracking, and your data management can begin to seem like a herculean endeavor. So what can be done? There are several ways to address the issues. Let’s take a brief look at the steps of the document lifecycle where viewing tools can help streamline document processes:

Capture & Convert

Document viewing applications and toolkits ideally will contain high-speed conversion functionality to enable the capture and display of a wide variety of both standard and proprietary file formats – for secure universal document and image file access. Even the process of converting hard-copy documents into electronic files may be handled if the proper functions are packaged into the document viewing solution. Additionally documents captured via scanning systems may be automatically processed through viewer manipulation functions such as compress, deskew and despeckle – to expedite document scanning.

Deliver & Display

Certain universal document viewing solutions enable secure access of virtually any file, across multiple platforms - throughout an organization’s IT enterprise. Not only is data delivery speed optimized with these systems, but the content displayed may be customized based upon users’ preferences – delivering only the document pages requested to address the job at hand. Thumbnail displays can make navigating documents quick and easy, and text search capabilities enable efficient and effective file location. Properly configured systems restrict sensitive information so that access is permitted to only those authorized due to built-in document viewer permission levels (set by company administrators) for regulation-compliant data security.

Manage & Process

Document and image file handling and processing are simplified with the implementation of a document viewing system’s features. Colleagues may modify documents through a variety of annotations and redaction tools to streamline processing and enhance workflow. (Document automation tools are discussed in greater detail below.) As document modifications are saved as separate files, original documents are preserved and document audit trails track revisions. “Virtual documents’ may also be created – a combination of required pages from several files combined into one document- for greater ease-of-use and productivity.

Store & Archive

High-speed document and image conversion tools, the engine behind a document viewer, enable files of virtually any format to be quickly and easily archived, and accessed for display. Users accessing a repository via a document viewing system need not worry about the applications in which files were created; while at the same time, IT departments don’t have the support issues of making sure that every user has every application in which document or image files are potentially authored. Additionally, searching text-based content is enhanced as users may easily locate data archived via document or image conversion quickly and efficiently with results that highlight search terms.

Automated Document Processing - What Kind of Tool am I?

Streamline document processing – collaborate, annotate & redact to help process forms & claims

Many industries require that documentation be processed by several individuals during a review cycle, service claim or other document-driven process. So what are the tools and features most useful in document viewing and image conversion applications, how may they best be leveraged to streamline document processing and management, and to what gain?

Document viewers have tools for annotation and redaction that are vital for claims reviewers involved with document processing such as insurance claims, medical records and financial forms. Annotation features including rubber stamps such as ‘APPROVED’, highlighting, “sticky notes” with comments to their reviewers and watermarks like ‘CONFIDENTIAL’ enable users to better collaborate during document processing, without affecting the original document or other annotations.

Redaction capabilities provide the ability to secure sensitive data such as social security numbers, credit information and account numbers from those unauthorized to view these – preserving original content while ensuring compliance with corporate and government regulations and security standards. 

The Benefits of Automated File Conversion – via Document Viewer or by Batch Converter

In addition to the functionality that document viewers provide, batch image conversion technology has a host of built-in features, coupled with an easy-to-use interface that also delivers the capabilities needed to help streamline document and image viewing and conversion processes:

  • Automated image conversion enables the creation of searchable PDF output from any text based input
  • Documents and image files may be automatically highlighted and/or watermarked during the conversion process
  • User-specified document archives may be easily created via the file conversion process

Just some of the real-world examples of this technology:

  • Healthcare Organizations use batch converters and document viewers to display and process a wide variety of facility and patient information including medical and financial records, insurance forms, physician’s orders and prescriptions and X-rays. 
  • Banking and Financial Services Institutions rely on batch file conversion for fast and accurate document conversions into secure universally readable formats for processors that speed up the handling of loan applications, mortgage papers, checks and other financial documents 
  • The Insurance Industry has achieved expedited claims processing and enhanced customer service through the ability to handle any kind of claim form or customer correspondence comfortably and quickly. Insurers are also better equipped to meet compliance demands by maintaining document integrity as document formatting isn’t altered after legal review and originals aren’t modified as annotations are saved separately.
  • Government Agencies depend upon quick and accurate conversion for both documents created electronically and those scanned into a document management system. Documents with diverse formats and origins are securely converted, archived and viewed – both for internal use and for viewing by the public on the Web.

The vast volume of documents created, revised and archived every day by hundreds of thousands of business professionals must be carefully processed, managed and archived. Integrating document viewing and image conversion technology into document automation systems helps make these solutions more efficient, and handling processes easier to replicate and maintain via streamlined processing and workflow – helping organizations in a host of industries achieve better data tracking and information management.