What do Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches and Document Handling Have in Common?

Every good process has a starting point. In the instance of making the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich, “first you take the peanuts and you crush ‘em, you crush ‘em” view entire peanut butter and jelly sandwich process here. Whereas, the first step of a healthcare data entry process, is document handling. First you take the paper documents, and you sort ‘em, you sort ‘em. Then you take the documents and you scan ‘em, you scan em...

What exactly is document handling?

If you ask a computer this question, you will learn that document handling is “a procedure for transporting and handling paper documents for data entry and scanning”, according to YourDictionary.com. Depending on the organization you are working for, the procedures for data entry can vary, but it almost always begins with some variation of sorting and indexing. Some organizations have a full-time employee sorting and handling these documents, whereas some organizations have adapted to using technology that has been created to make their document handling process much more efficient.

How has document handling improved over time?

Document handling procedures began with a human sorting and indexing documents by hand. They would take the documents scan them in, and then figure out where to fax or email the scanned version. They also then had to organize and create a system to save the original paper document.

Beginning in about the 1980's, several vendors began developing software systems to manage these paper-based documents. These systems dealt with paper documents, which included not only printed and published documents, but also photographs and prints.

As technology was changing, along with documents that were being handled, developers saw the need to improve the process. They began to create a second type of system which could manage electronic documents, i.e., all those documents, or files, created on computers, and often stored on users' local file-systems.

Many of these systems later became known as document imaging systems, because they focused on the capture, storage, indexing and retrieval of image file formats. Electronic document management systems evolved to a point where these systems could manage any type of file format that could be stored on the network. The applications grew to encompass electronic documents, collaboration tools, security, workflow, and auditing capabilities.

These systems enabled organizations to capture faxes and forms, save copies of the documents as images, and store the image files in the repository for security and quick retrieval (retrieval made possible because the system handled the extraction of the text from the document in the process of capture, and the text-indexer function provided text-retrieval capabilities).

While many EDM systems store documents in their native file format (Microsoft Word or Excel, PDF) some systems, such as Extract, can store content in the form of html. Once content is imported to your organization's database, the software acts like a search engine so users can find what they are looking for faster.


Want to learn how you and your employees will save time searching through content entered into your database? Request a conversation with one of Extract’s solution consultants

About the Author: Tera Madigan

As a designer of experiences, Tera strives to bridge the gap between the user's needs, the physical world, and innovative technology by creating intuitive and engaging cross-channel experiences. By gaining valuable insight from people's motivations, behaviors, and attitudes, she enjoys analyzing findings to quickly iterate on ideas to help develop amazing products and experiences that meet real human needs--needs that they may never have thought about. She is an experienced Creative Leader who has a strong record of building and implementing successful branding, digital marketing, and eCommerce strategic plans. Tera has first-hand experience with starting and leading programs that have substantially increased awareness and driven large growth in eCommerce, UX, Web/App Design, and Digital Marketing for leading brands. She has a strong talent for understanding "the big picture" and leading large diversified and cross-functional teams in a large corporate setting as well as a fast paced, nimble and agile startup environment.