What is Indexing and What Should Guide the Metadata Decisions?
When taking on a document imaging project, there are many things to consider before finalizing a complete plan of action. You must decide what needs to be scanned, prepare the records, box the records, label the boxes, and ready them for delivery, and that’s just the first step. It quickly becomes evident that undertaking such a project successfully will require expertise and careful, detailed planning. This is why many companies choose to partner with a reputable imaging vendor to ensure that their project stays on task and on time. A good vendor will ease the stress, while still leaving you in control of the most important details, such as properly setting your indexing parameters.
What is Indexing?
Document indexing refers to how you search for and find your documents after they have been scanned into digital images. Indexing makes use of metadata, which are similar to keywords, located within the text to help identify a document. The types of metadata used for each image depends on the type of document scanned. Ideally, documents would be indexed by the consistent, but differing types of information they record, which would uniquely identify each file.
Additionally, when setting indexing parameters for a scanning project, you do not have to limit yourself to one single type of metadata. In fact, most scanning vendors will be able to add as many different types of index categories as you would like. The more detailed the indexing parameters are, the more organized your files will be, saving your staff valuable time during their daily operations.
Which Metadata are the Most Important?
Often the most valuable result of an imaging project is the ability to search and retrieve a document quickly and easily. So it’s critical that you identify the right type of metadata that is appropriate for each document type. Essentially, the most important index values are the ones that you’ll find easiest to search by.
For instance, when indexing a project of patient files, it may be most effective to find the records by patient name, birth date, or MRN, meaning those are the metadata you’ll want to capture in the indexing phase. Whereas, when working with accounts payable or receivable, it would be most effective to index by invoice number or vendor name. Some other examples of suggested metadata indexing include:
- Student Records: student ID, name, date of birth, or social security number
- Insurance Claims: document number, unique claim number, or policy number
- Employee Records: employee name, social security number, or employee ID
- Work Orders & Invoices: PO number, vendor ID, invoice date, or work order number
Ultimately, choosing indexing parameters that are straightforward and specific to each client and each type of document ensures that you can find what you need when you need it.
Want to Know More?
Whether you are ready to begin an imaging project today, or simply still have questions about the process, our team can help. Contact Us for more information or to connect with a customer service representative.