DID YOU KNOW?
A recent survey revealed that 29 per cent of international organizations are now using enterprise-wide document and records management systems, compared to 15 per cent in 2005. A further 19 per cent have begun integrating document and records management projects across departments, up from 13 per cent.
(Source: IT Week)
In this issue:
Dear Records Manager:
With the increasing use of electronic records, many organizations are having to adjust their records management programs to accommodate both electronic and paper documents. Often this involves a full conversion, which is a wonderful opportunity to streamline your entire system. Preparing for a conversion is a major undertaking, and if it isn't done right, you could end up with a less efficient records management program. This month we've got a case study detailing how a major North American health care provider avoided the headache by partnering with TAB to implement an Electronic Health Record strategy.
This month we also look at one of the big Records Management issues facing organizations: retention. With the intense pressure to be fully compliant, the increase in litigation, and the cost of both onsite and offsite storage soaring, what you keep and for how long is of major importance. Our feature article outlines some best practices for designing a retention schedule that will help keep you compliant, maximize your storage capacity, and take the risk out of retention.
We are always interested in what our readers think, so if you have any feedback, please let us know!
TAB Case Study: Moving to an Electronic Health Record Strategy: Do it Once, Do it Right
For any organization thinking of going to an electronic record keeping system, the logistics and scale of the project can be intimidating. Doing it right can require a complete audit and conversion of your existing collection in order to properly accommodate both electronic and paper records. There are a number of elements involved in this process, including physical site preparation, archiving of non-critical records, modifying existing workflows, making changes to the retention schedule and standardizing records management best practices.
Most organizations simply can't afford to move resources away from their core business for the time it takes to complete projects like these. This was the case for a leading North American Regional Health Care Provider, who were implementing an Electronic Record Strategy. They knew they couldn't to take on a conversion of this magnitude and still provide the care their clients expected. They wanted to find a "one stop shop" that would partner with them for the implementation of this new strategy, and they found that in TAB.
TAB designed and executed a comprehensive plan to prepare for the adoption of electronic records. This plan included:
Now you can read the full story on how TAB successfully implemented this plan and provided this health care organization with a truly "turn key" records management system that allowed them to smoothly transition to the use of electronic records.
Download the free case study here.
Taking the Risk out of Records Retention
By Stephen O'Leary
To realize the greatest benefit from your RM program, you need to map your functional classification system to the right retention schedule. Getting this part of your RM program right is critical because it affects many aspects of your organization, from the amount of storage space you need to the effectiveness of your risk management program.
The growing use of electronic documents, records management systems, document management solutions and in particular email, has made retention a critical corporate responsibility again. Many organizations are confused about how long to keep what
What is it?
Records retention is the process of determining how long an organization needs to keep its records. It is based on operational business needs, legal, and regulatory requirements. Retention schedules specify how long and where records must be kept as they progress through the phases of their life cycle, including whether records are destroyed or archived at the at the end of their life cycle.
Retain the Benefits
A properly outlined and legally compliant retention schedule can help minimize storage and handling costs by reducing the volume of paper and electronic records an organization needs to store. It also ensures records that serve important business or legal interests are maintained and remain easy to access by staff.
A good records retention program is an effective strategy for controlling the growth of records within an organization. The economic objective of a retention program is to stabilize the growth of records by providing for the disposal of useless records at about the same time as new ones are created. Many organizations can reduce their records storage costs by up to one-third or greater by implementing a sound retention program.
By reducing and minimizing the total amount of records kept in active storage, a records retention program will facilitate and accelerate the day-to-day retrieval of active records.
From a legal perspective, a sound records retention program will assist an organization minimize the risks and liabilities that can be associated with document retention. The existence of old inactive records can potentially embarrass an organization or result in more legal difficulties. Rather than arbitrary records disposal made selectively by managers and corporate executives, established retention methods help demonstrate that disposal actions are not motivated to suppress or conceal unfavorable evidence or information, should these actions become the subject of criminal or civil proceedings.
It is critical to start by building your functional classification system. Once completed a review of applicable legislation within all jurisdictions is completed. Legal requirements are set for each classification with applicable law noted. Once legal requirements are complete organizational and operational requirements are factored in to recommend retention time periods for each class. Retention schedules must be reviewed and approved by corporate legal and obtain final sign off. Once the retention is approved, implementation is completed by identifying every record series in your organization. A final evaluation of the maximum length of time they could be of use is made. From there you should make appropriate plans for disposing, storing or transferring those records.
Remember, ALL records need to have established retention periods. The retention schedule is a legal authority that needs to include:
The criteria detailed below will help you determine what needs to be kept and for how long.
What to look for...
Records retention determination concerns examining and analyzing data collected about specific records series (typically collected through inventories, reviews of existing documentation, and interviews with pertinent individuals or groups) to determine the records series' value.
Record values used in determining records retention include the following:
The issues that must be considered when determining how long individual records series are to be retained include the following:
Your Program: Critical Elements
To ensure the success if your organizations retention program, it should contain the following components:
Provide staff with specific guidelines for documenting records. The primary purpose for record keeping is to document the actions taken by staff at each step of the process.
Records Retention Requirements
Staff should establish retention requirements by document type, identify records to be retained and research applicable legal and statutory requirements.
A determination should be made on where and how paper and electronic records will be stored. Staff should consider the need for records, which must be stored on a permanent basis or require protection from disaster or theft.
Archiving and Record Keeping
Organizations should establish a procedure for cataloging and inventorying stored records. The organization needs to be able to retrieve the file as needed as well as schedule it for destruction.
Staff should decide how the organization will destroy various documents. For example, confidential information should be shredded. Staff should also review all files before destruction to ensure that there are no reasons for retaining any file.
The organization should maintain records of all records retention activities.
Annual Program Review
Staff should review retention guidelines annually for legal or statutory changes.
We Can Help
Creating a records retention program that works for your organization is critical to the success of your RM program. However, the scale and scope of the work needed to get there can be overwhelming, and many organizations lack the resources and knowledge base to sift through their entire records collection, not to mention keeping up to date on the ever changing legal and legislative requirements. At TAB, our consultants have a deep knowledge of all aspects of records retention, and can help you with everything from determining the extent of your entire records collection to designing a retention schedule that meets all legal and regulatory requirements.
Stephen O'Leary is an Information Management Consultant at TAB. He has extensive instructional, client service, supervisory, and information management experience in both the public and private sector. Prior to joining TAB Canada, Stephen was employed as an Information Management Advisor with the Government of Alberta.
File Creation: Save On High Volume File Production with TAB's Rapid Response Color Coding
If you produce a large volume of files, then you need TAB's unique custom label service, Rapid Response Color-Coding. Only TAB has the capability to offer this service, perfect for organizations that require a high volume of files on demand. It's simple, it's easy, and it allows you to re-allocate personnel and materials currently used to produce files to more import areas of your operation.
How it works
This service is flexible and responsive, designed to fit into your unique Records Management program requirements. Your order capacity is based on your specific needs. We receive your new records' data on a daily basis, at a pre-determined time of your choice, transmitted electronically over a secure network. As soon as we receive your data, your order is routed immediately into production. The files are then produced and shipped where and when they are needed, all within three to five business days!
Rapid Response Benefits
For more information on TAB's Rapid Response Color Coding, call 1-800-466-8228 or complete our online response form.
Health Care RM Moves Out of the Stone Age
Despite billions of new dollars spent every year on Canada's public health-care system, record-keeping has remained largely rooted in the technological stone age. A majority of doctors still rely on handwritten patient files, while health-care institutions are rarely capable of communicating patient data with each other by computer. British Columbia's new system is designed so that, eventually, every health-care provider in the province will have electronic access to lab-test results, diagnostic imaging and medical records of individual patients. Read more on how e-records will improve B.C.'s healthcare.
Congress Follow Email Trail in Attorney Firing Flap
The "smoking gun" email may soon need a press agent if the headlines keep coming at this rate. This time, a copy of an email on the "Attorney Firings" sent by White House aide, using an outside account instead of his official White House account, is at the center of the storm. A congressional probe has been launched about whether the practice violates a post-Nixon law requiring that White House deliberations be documented. How these Capitol Hill shenanigans resolve themselves is anyone's guess, but one thing is certain, there will be plenty of e-discovery along the way! Read the full story here.
Poor Email Archiving Haunts Firms
When Intel recently acknowledged that it may have lost months worth of e-mails involving about 100 employees, experts wondered how a $35 billion corporation could get caught off guard. But the reality is that outside of heavily regulated industries like financial services and health care, most companies do a poor job of managing their e-mail. In case you missed it, last month we ran a piece on best practices for email archiving.
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