As the government looks for new ways to increase efficiency and decrease overall spending, more agencies are adopting paperless solutions for improved information management.
TechTarget reported that in an effort to address rising national debt, the U.S. government has been raising investments in technology that are expected to result in long-term savings. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been a key focus in these efforts with the launch of the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS), which is scheduled to be implemented nationwide sometime this year. The VBMS is expected not only to make the application for dispensing benefits an easier, faster and more accurate process, but will also allow veterans to access and download personal medical information from the VA's health data repository. This will enable healthcare providers to share health data with veterans, medical professionals, caregivers or other trusted relations of veterans. The electronic document management system delivery. will facilitate the delivery of benefits by using real-time data processing while lowering the cost of healthcare delivery. According to TechTarget, The American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC) estimated that by investing in IT for higher productivity, the federal government could save $100 billion per year.
Other agencies are adopting paperless initiatives, including the Johnston County Department of Social Services (JCDSS) in North Carolina. The News & Observer reported that the office has benefited from reducing paperwork and gaining office space due to the digital record-keeping system, which will be online state-wide by the end of March. Johnson County joined Guilford, Catawba and Carteret counties in the digitization process, which began last summer.
Digitization fuels sustainability
Earl Marett, director of the JCDSS, told The News & Observer that the new system would be cost-effective long-term since the department will no longer need to seek storage space for growing documentation and staff to handle it. Marett further explained to the news source that while it used to take 12-18 months to train employees with the traditional paper-based system, the electronic system has reduced training time to three months. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has already dedicated more than $27 million of investments to digitizing food and nutrition program records, and plans to digitize Medicaid and Child Protective services documents by 2014.
By digitizing records, these departments will continue to enhance productivity through accelerated business process automation.
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