Smooth transition from paper to digital improves access, speeds, processes, eliminates lost documents and saves money.
County Department of Social Services – operating with a paper-based system for benefits applications and record keeping – finds itself overwhelmed by document volumes and logistical issues.
Transition to a digital capture and workflow solution to improve productivity, accelerate interactions and approvals, gain greater oversight and security, and reduce costs.
Centralized Document Management Team, Web capture platform, and an array of Alaris scanners.
Far fewer misplaced documents, less frustration, enhanced process times, increased productivity, and substantial storage cost savings.
“There were bins and boxes everywhere, says Randy Scott, Financial Assistance Service Coordinator for the Monroe County (New York) Department of Social Services (DSS). “Every process started on paper. We had to work with all of it, add more documents, then file them, and often find many of them again. When files became too large, we had to create more volumes and send them to storage, which was costly. Then if we needed an older file, there was a retrieval charge. It was a logistically cumbersome, inefficient system.”
The DSS provides a variety of programs to Monroe County residents, including help with rent, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program}, which replaced food stamps, heating cost and utility bill assistance, daycare, and Medicaid, among others.
In 2010, the New York State Office of Temporary & Disability Assistance (OTDA), which oversees county DSS offices, implemented a document management system made possible by an Image & Enterprise Document Repository, Centralized Document Management (CDM), and Kodak Scanners. eBizDocs, an Albany, NY reseller of solutions from Kodak Alaris, won the state-wide bid and started supplying scanners to the Departments of Social Services.
“We like working with Alaris scanners. Our people can’t imagine going back to a paper-based system and giving up all the productivity, security, access, speed and savings of our digital transformation.
-Randy Scott, Financial Assistance Service Coordinator for Monroe County (New York) Department of Social Services (DSS)
eBizDocs recommended Kodak i1220 and i1420 Scanners to best meet OTDA needs. “Scanners from multiple manufacturers went through a laborious evaluation to determine the best technology for the solution, and Alaris came out on top,” said Jason Abare, Vice President of eBizDocs.
The OTDA provided scanners to the DSS, who created a Centralized Document Management Team (CDMT) to send information to various departments. eBizDocs developed a support portal, how-to videos, and supplied hands-on training to speed adoption of the new scanners. After that, scanning 24-page, two-sided applications for assistance include landlord statements, client information, receipts, bills, handwritten letters, notes, photocopies of driver’s licenses, and other important information is a breeze. The 27-person CDMT in the downtown Rochester – and 11-person team at a satellite location – receive and scan the bulk of the documents, then send an electronic notification to workers in various departments via a centralized Imaging and Enterprise Document Repository (IEDR) scanning system.
OTDA developed software and implemented a secure Web capture platform to ensure full compatibility with – and optimization of – their scanners. “The OTDA tech experts spent a week with us ensuring a smooth start-up and training,” Scott says. “And as we add new Alaris Scanners, the service and tech people do a great job of making sure everything’s compatible and any hiccups are out of the system before we go live.”
Concerned Workers Become Digital Converts
As you can imagine, the transition from paper to digital was a significant cultural change within the DSS. “Previously, an examiner had all of an applicant’s paperwork in front of them,” Scott says. “They could write notes, work with documents with an applicant, it was all hard copy… right in front of them.” The new system allows workers to access all this information via computer.
“It’s fair to say that many people were hesitant when we began,” Scott recalls. “This was new and different. Change is always a bit disconcerting.” Structured training began in the rollout stage, with individuals from various departments taking what they learned to others and sharing the knowledge. The Care Management department was first to go fully digital, followed by Medicaid. Positive word of mouth spread about easy document access, and how all the information is at their fingertips. “The buzz was good and departments, in line to come on board, were really excited about the change,” Scott says.
CDM operators enjoy the Alaris scanners’s benefits. “The Alaris S2070 Scanners have a screen that counts pages as they’re scanned,” says Patrick Woehrlen, a Clerk in the CDM. “Now we don’t have to go back and count pages on the computer monitor. It’s a great time saving feature.” Operators also cite the built-in Perfect Page technology that significantly improves image quality from poor originals, especially the ability to make faint, low-contrast documents far more legible.
Alaris Scanners – Changing the way of doing business
Scanner Features that Improve Quality and Productivity
Woehrlen also appreciates the capability of the Alaris S2000 Series Scanners to automatically adjust and optimize scan quality when capturing a batch of light and dark documents. “They can make a document that was basically unreadable into a very readable image.” Higher scan speeds also make the scanner operators’ job a lot easier. When you’re capturing over one million documents per year, the boost from 70 pages per minute (on i2620 Scanners), compared to the S2070 Scanner’s 80 pages per minute truly makes a difference.
On the client services side, workers like their cleaner desks and “digital desktop” access. In the past, one important misplaced or lost paper could impact an approval. A complete file on someone else’s desk in a different department led to delays and frustration. In some cases, the client was asked to resubmit documents. Now any file can be pulled up within seconds, and if two individuals need access at once, it’s not a problem.
Along with saving time and money, once the files are in the system, most paper documents can be destroyed after 30 days. Therefore, footprint and cost of storage is significantly reduced.
Eight years into their digital transformation, DSS is highly pleased with their Alaris scanners and service from eBizDocs. “We have a mix of S2070 and other scanner models including i1220s, i1420s, i2600s, i2620s, and i3400s ,” Scott says. “We like working with Alaris and our people can’t imagine going back to a paper-based system and giving up all the productivity, security, access, speed and savings of our digital transformation.”