The Paperless Enterprise

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) for one of the largest Institutes of the National Institutes of Health required a solution to manage large volumes of protocols and related clinical files in both paper and electronic formats. An integrated solution was implemented to migrate digital files, scan paper-based files, and enable IRB staff to quickly and accurately locate specific IRB files during time-sensitive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Key business and process issues faced by this IRB included:

  • An end-of-life and unsupported application housing 5,000 scanned protocols and supporting clinical documents.
  • Cumbersome management of historical and ongoing content stored in file cabinets, shared drives, and email.
  • An extensive physical paper-based file cabinet repository that took up valuable physical real estate and was timely to search and browse manually.
  • Lack of ability for large scale scanning solution to convert paper files to digital format with appropriate metadata and full index capabilities. Cost of using external vendors for scanning was extremely expensive.
  • Lack of key enterprise content management workspace functionality such as automated version control, audit history, workflow, readily available backups, integrated scanning and enhanced search and browse functionality.

Key outcomes of the InFuture LLC efforts and solution included:

  • Content management team workspace for IRB staff to manage both historical and ongoing clinical files.
  • Technical solution to migrate 18gb (5,000 files) of historical protocols and associated clinical files from an end-of-life legacy system into OpenText Livelink.
  • End-to-end process to procure files from cabinets, conduct quality control for scan readiness, complete a “cover sheet” with structured metadata that is extracted upon scan, and execute manual processes to scan and prepare completed scanned files for offsite storage.
  • Automated workflow to leverage lower cost clerical staff for initial scanning activities; leveraging higher cost subject matter expert time for quality assurance review and final publish into the IRB team workspace.
  • Integrated technical solution incorporating various scanning devices, GlobalScan software, and Livelink ECMS to scan, convert, and store thousands of paper-based protocols into PDF files; alleviating the need for costly outside scan vendors.

InFuture worked closely with IRB staff, scanning software vendor, and outsourced clerical staff to manage the project through completion. This successful scan project was the benchmark for moving large volumes of paper-based content into the enterprise content management system for a scalable approach towards going “paperless.”