Document Management System Saves Washington State Man-Hours

Washington's largest cabinet office, the Social and Health Services Department began to use a Web-enabled document management, imaging and workflow solution that is cutting man-hours needed to process requests and search for records.

DSHS purchased the DocuPACT system from InterTech Information Management Inc. to streamline the responses to public disclosure requests. The old system required significant staff time to sift through boxes of information--some dating back six years--at the state archives.

"Our intent was to eliminate the large portion of staff time involved in that process," said Jerry Britcher, information technology administrator for the Office of the Secretary at the DSHS. "Now, some of that time is being used to scan the archives into the database."

The Secretary's Office is the primary contact for the governor's office, legislative branches and constituents and annually sends and receives thousands of documents. Those files must be accessible at all times, especially when cases are under litigation, with a turnaround time of two days or more.

The DSHS gets about two public disclosure requests per week, which require going through the approximately 7,000 files archived annually, Britcher said.

DocuPACT enables requests to be processed in a matter of minutes and allows for detailed searches of information, Britcher said. "When the items are scanned in, a number of properties are also defined. The subject, names of people involved, the region of the state, and the file's location in the paper archives...it's all part of the process."

Atlanta-based InterTech supplied training and installed the hardware and software at a cost of $52,000. Maintenance and upgrades cost about $2,500 annually, said an InterTech spokeswoman.

DSHS already is using the system for documents scanned in from 1996, the first year chosen for automation. They are scanning about 40 records each day from that year, which takes nearly 3 hours, Britcher said. "We need to speed up that process, but don't have the resources right now to do it."

InterTech's DocuPACT system also is being used in Atlanta's Criminal Justice Information System for tracking and processing traffic tickets. In Shelby County, Tenn., the system is deployed in the IT department and the County Commissioners' office to streamline the legislative process, Clarke said.

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