Fujitsu PFU discuss the reduction in paper-based processes and the potential for solutions to benefit citizens – many of whom prefer paper documents.
By 2019, the UK will be home to over 17 million Millennials and they, along with their compatriots across Europe, will expect to have speedy, personalised public service solutions that are accessible across a wide range of devices. Part of the solution is to digitise documents and resources for rapid and secure processing.
The public sector is faced with demands to improve the experience of citizens across Europe and making resources accessible to the population they serve. Too often paper-based processes are seen as bottlenecks rather than seeing the potential for solutions to benefit our citizens – many of whom prefer paper documents. Whether the requirement is capturing patient records, protecting invaluable artwork, meeting educational demands for evidence of pupil performance in schools, securely taking applications for University courses or delivering solutions for Council services – paper systems can be quickly and securely digitised to provide savings of both time and money.
Below are a number of great examples where public sector institutions and their users have seen significant benefits from scanning paper-based documents into digital solutions.
Preserving cultural heritage
The Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma is one of Italy’s two national libraries with a mission to collect and preserve important Italian publications and make these available to the public. The collection is a treasure that has previously only been available to experts because of the fragility of the vellum and papers.
The collection currently includes more than 7,000,000 printed volumes, including 2,000 from the 15thCentury and 25,000 from the 16th century. The collection also includes over 10,000 drawings and 20,000 maps. These documents are all on paper and other sensitive materials that degrade and need to be preserved. PFU (EMEA) ltd, part of Fujitsu, were asked to help digitise the collection to help make the resources available to as many people as possible.
We worked closely with the archivists to select a scanner that would meet their needs to:
- Record the documents without any damage
- Rapidly digitise the collection given the size of the collection
- Help in devising the best way to provide access to the digital collection
We selected the SV600 A3 contactless scanner that does not use damaging UV light sources and automatically corrects scans for curvature of the medium. The scanner automatically records new spreads as the text is turned to the next page speeding the document capture process. In addition, the software provided allowed the scanned collection to be searched using optical character recognition software included with the SV600.
By adopting Fujitsu contactless scanner solutions, the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma has been able to protect their invaluable archive for future generations. In addition to protecting the collection, they have brought an incredible resource into the public arena allowing academic research and its use in education throughout the world. Much of the archive was rarely exhibited because of their age and fragility – some of the collection had not been seen for many years.
“Increasing the number of readers is our goal. The National Library has now started several digitisation projects to preserve Italian literature and make it available to the public. The collaboration with PFU Fujitsu has been superb and we are very satisfied with the scanned results,” said Dr Osvaldo Avallone, Director of the National Central Library of Rome.
NHS – linking 500 GP practices with hospital consultants
Controlling paper with document scanning solutions
Providing front line health services to more than 260,000 patients, the North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups’ (NWLCCGs) IT systems provide a vital link between GPs and hospital consultants. Systems and processes need to be seamless to ensure notes are easily captured, stored, shared and accessed across the Collaboration’s 500 GP practices and hospitals.
Dealing with hundreds of thousands of paper notes a year, the NWLCCG’s 500 GP practices generate, access and capture a great deal of clinical information which is vital to providing effective care to more than 260,000 local residents. Effective data capture relies on administrators being able to quickly and accurately capture GP and consultant correspondence for patient records.
The volume of content which needs to be captured – everything from consultant referral letters and consultation outcome updates – means a workload per GP practice of hundreds of scans a week. As part of the workflow, each letter received needs to be scanned to create a digital copy with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) for information retrieval before being stored with each patient’s file. Speed and scan quality are essential for the work, particularly given the compliance, audit and care regulations governing GPs’ work.
“We were finding that for the volume of correspondence, our old system was far too slow,” said Raj Kawa, Senior Desktop Engineer for the NWLCCGs. “We were getting a lot of complaints and were spending a lot of time maintaining lots of different scanners from many manufacturers.”
As the amount of information GP practice administrators had to capture on a daily basis continued to rise, the NWLCCGs realised it was time for a new solution. The arrival of the Collaboration’s new hosted clinical document management system provided the ideal opportunity to look again at its input systems and to standardise its solution across practices for better training and fleet management.
When specifying its new capture solution, the NWLCCG’s purchasing criteria focused on capture speed, as well as how well the solution integrated with existing systems and services. It also included end user-focused criteria like ease-of-use to minimise training and tests to assure that each scanner would require limited ongoing maintenance.
In addition to user benefits, the Fujitsu fi-7160 selected by the Collaboraton provides superior scan quality thanks to its PaperStream IP driver and image enhancement software. Its advanced black and white and colour processing means a range of documents can be automatically and easily converted into image data suitable for complex post capture processing for highly accurate OCR results. It is able to optimise scans automatically without the user needing to define scanner settings in advance of single sheet or batch scans.
“Fujitsu scanners performed better than any other solution against our selection criteria and we now have a scanner which is fast, easy to use and easy to manage”
Raj Kawa, Senior Desktop Engineer, North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups
Improving University service levels
With tuition fees increasing, a University approached PFU to find better, more responsive ways to prove they were responding to students’ feedback. The University had had poor response rates from electronic surveys and wanted to find a solution.
The University decided that they needed to give a much better service to their students by combining simple multiple choice forms at the end of lectures with online surveys into a hybrid system to dramatically improve the response rates.
The hybrid system used the Fujitsu fi-6670A high speed scanner to rapidly and accurately assimilate high-quality scans of multiple choice forms with the Electronic Paper data-management system.
The hybrid system successfully trebled response rates and was able to easily handle the volume of 30,000 module evaluation forms per semester. The new system, using document scanners, has not only provided the University with student feedback on modules but saved time and money. Perhaps most importantly the speed of processing now means that departments are able to get insight from students in no more than 3 weeks compared to months before. Having actionable intelligence from students in weeks has meant that the faculties have been able to make changes to improve the experience of students during a semester rather than leaving this to the end of the academic year.
The hybrid system has now allowed the University to adopt similar approaches to other departments and areas of administration that traditionally were complex and time consuming.
“Fujitsu scanners and the Electric Paper data management system was the only solution in the running with the functionality to provide a flexible hybrid solution to raise survey response rates”
Dawn Hopper, Performance Improvement Manager, Anglia Ruskin University
PFU Fujitsu were asked to help The Architectural Association School of Architecture (known as the AA) make their library of image heavy journals available to their 600 undergraduates and postgraduates. Previously students had used older technology which struggled to optimise books and journals with deep curvature and time consuming processes to scan a number of pages. The resulting scans were dark and hard to read and students often could not read content near the spine.
We worked with the University to adopt the SV600 which allowed students access to an intuitive one button press solution that captures journals and books up to A3 to be scanned directly to searchable file formats. The overhead design ensured delicate materials were not damaged.
“The SV600 is so much quicker at scanning multiple pages with one-button operation. It couldn’t be easier for students to use. Its small footprint saves so much room on a desk and its page turn detection is fabulous when scanning full journals.”
“Scanning delicate or fragile documents was not previously permitted with the flat-bed scanners with students previously taking photographs. With the SV600 this is no longer an issue.”
Eleanor Gawne, Librarian at the AA
Capturing School Resources
Teachers in the arts departments of many schools are faced with bottlenecks caused by the need to accurately photograph pupils’ art work to evidence the student’s progress. Several schools and local education authorities have worked with PFU to rapidly digitise artwork for the student’s electronic portfolios.
Many schools have now adopted the SV600 to record the artwork and rapidly build the electronic portfolios, thus saving time, money and space in schools. The additional benefits of optical character recognition has had the benefit of allowing labels to be added to art to help teaching staff locate the work of any student without having to resort to thumbing through piles of paintings.
Insight, knowledge and understanding are at the core of all digital transformation projects. Wherever information needs to be gathered and understood, document scanners and the latest software provide a proven solution.