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What Is Automated Document Processing?

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Worker typing on a keyboard as his company’s automated document processing system accelerates document processing speed

Order forms, receipts, patient records, financial portfolios, legal transcripts—whatever form they take, documents are often a crucial part of a business’s operations. For any business that deals with large volumes of documents and records and manual data entry, automated document processing is a valuable option. This technology-driven solution introduces new levels of efficiency, organization, and accuracy for businesses that embrace it. 

 

What Is Automated Document Processing?

Automated document processing leverages software to convert analog documents and records into a structured digital format, allowing the data they contain to be used seamlessly in business processes and applications. 

Another term you might hear for this approach is intelligent document processing. This emphasizes the role of artificial intelligence (AI) to not only convert text into a digital format but also to perform additional steps humans would ordinarily do, such as categorizing and organizing documents or identifying the most relevant data points they contain, which is called intelligent data extraction.

The intelligent document processing market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 29.7 percent from 2022-2030 and is projected to reach a value of $11.6 billion by 2030. More and more businesses are discovering the valuable return they get when they convert from paper documents, scanned PDFs, and manual data entry to a fully digitized approach.

 

The Technology Behind Automated Document Processing

Let’s break it down a bit more by looking at the technologies that enable automated document processing. Each proprietary solution you’ll find on the market is a bit different, but generally, some of the technologies involved include:

  • Optical character recognition (OCR): OCR is an automation technology that can “read” the text on a scanned document and convert that text into a digital text format. With OCR, you can perform functions that would be impossible with a paper document or scanned image, such as keyword search and copy/paste.
  • Computer vision: Similarly, computer vision, or image recognition, mimics the way humans are able to interpret and categorize pictures. When it comes to automated document processing, this can allow the system to recognize formats such as tables and standardized forms and classify them appropriately. 
  • AI: AI is a broad term that encompasses many other technologies. Overall, AI goes beyond simple automation to make judgments and perform tasks that would ordinarily be reserved for humans. 
  • Machine learning (ML): When AI software learns from experience, refining the process and achieving higher levels of accuracy over time, this is known as machine learning. ML can make intelligent document automation require less and less human intervention as the system works.
  • Natural language processing (NLP): Another relevant subset of AI is NLP. Computers can use NLP capabilities to analyze the language in documents like a human could. For example, it may be able to identify the most important parts of a document and create indexing tags based on those highlights.

 

Discover How Intelligent Data Extraction Can Help Cut Labor Costs.

 

The Benefits of Automated Document Processing: How Does It Compare to Manual Processing?

Compared to traditional manual processes, which involve transcribing data by hand from paper documents or scanned PDFs, automated document processing is faster, cheaper, more scalable, and more accurate.

  • Time: Extracting and entering data and organizing files manually is extremely time-consuming. Automated document processing saves human workers countless hours of work, freeing up their time to be more productive in more valuable ways.
  • Cost: There is an initial cost associated with adopting an automated document processing solution. In the long run, though, this approach can save you money. Considering the time and labor involved, manual document processing is an expensive solution, whether you handle it in-house or outsource it to a third party.
  • Scalability: As market conditions or your business fluctuates, the volume of documents you need to process may increase or decrease. At these times, you could suddenly find yourself under or overstaffed. Document processing software, on the other hand, can easily scale up and down with you to meet your current needs.
  • Accuracy: You may think entrusting humans with document processing is safer in terms of accuracy. In reality, the most sophisticated automated document processing solutions, such as our proprietary solution, are more accurate than manual data extraction and entry.

 

Examples of Automated Document Processing

A variety of industries can benefit from automated document processing. Let’s look at just a few business functions that deal with large volumes of documents that require processing in order to utilize the data they contain and systematically manage records. 

 

Facilitating Medical Equipment Orders

When it comes to medical equipment sales, a lot of documents and data can enter the picture. Medical practices often send patient health histories and medical test results via fax. Durable medical equipment suppliers must digitize this information and share it with insurance providers to preauthorize coverage. Then, there are all the other documents involved in shipping, billing, and managing inventory. 

With automated document processing, you can minimize the complexity and streamline your operations. Whether you’re starting with a fax, an email, or a paper form, the system can digitize the text, identify the most relevant data points, highlight these points, and make it easy to locate records in the future. 

 

Read more about the current state of the Medical Equipment Industry.

 

Managing Records in Accounts Receivable

Accounts receivable departments manage a variety of documents to ensure clients properly compensate your company. Invoices, purchase orders, proof of delivery forms, checks, credit memos, and more must all be carefully analyzed and cross-referenced by your accounting team. While you can originate some of these documents and do so in a digital format, the records you receive from customers, logistics providers, and other partners may come to you in a variety of formats. 

Automated document processing ensures that you have digital access to all of these records for your own convenience and for easy audit compliance. You can even feed data from these records straight into your accounting systems with no need for manual data entry.

 

Digitizing and Storing Legal Records 

Law firms maintain vast libraries of legal records and a wealth of data on each of their clients in order to properly understand a case and provide the best counsel possible. In addition to documents such as court transcripts or case notes, attorneys must also process a variety of documents given to them in a variety of formats by clients. 

For example, this might include paper copies of wills, deeds, and contracts or handwritten letters between the client and a defendant. Digitizing all this information would be an extremely time-consuming process, whereas automated processing and intelligent data extraction can handle it automatically and even find and pull out the most important pieces of information for easy reference.

 

Embrace Automated Document Processing 

If you want to start benefiting from automated document processing, consider partnering with Notable Systems. Our proprietary solution for intelligent document processing allows you to implement the level of automation that works for you to simplify your approach to document processing and data extraction. 


Want to learn more? Schedule a consultation!

 

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