A document management system (DMS) is software that stores and tracks electronic documents and/or images of paper documents. It involves scanning, electronically saving, storing and retrieving documents received or created by an organisation. The term ‘document’ includes all electronic files such as Word, Excel, PDFs, emails and accounting data files, even multimedia files such as MP3s and WMV files and image files such as JPG and PNG.
A DMS makes it easy for any document to be electronically filed, centrally stored, appropriately shared, quickly found, effectively secured, simply tracked, quality controlled, efficiently dispatched and conveniently archived.
1. It is slow for electronic filing – users must browse to the correct drive and folder, often many clicks deep;
2. It makes it difficult to find a document unless you know which folder it was saved in,
3. It provides the user with too much discretion regarding creating and naming folders (directories);
4. It requires users to take time and have the discipline to apply file naming and save location decisions;
5. It allows the user to look in only one folder at a time, making searching laborious;
6. It provides no quality control mechanism for review and no approval processes;
7. It provides no audit trail regarding who has worked on a document; and
8. It does not allow the user the flexibility and convenience of searching based on the status of the document, who is preparing it, who is to review it and so on.
If your staff are using Windows Explorer (which includes opening and saving documents via Word and Excel), or they are using a ‘Documents’ tab in your Practice Management System that is simply a view into the Windows Explorer folder structure, each staff member is likely to be wasting 20 to 30 minutes of their time each day looking for documents. This does not include time spent ‘reinventing the wheel’ when staff recreate documents that they know exist, but they cannot find.
So what is a DMS then? Just click here and we’ll show you one.