Nearly every company has something in common: documents. From one-page digital receipts to 100-page paper case files and everything in between, documents and data come in all shapes and sizes; you need a system in place to keep them all orderly and accessible. Indexing is an important means of organizing documents and ensuring you can always find the information you need when you need it.
What Is Document Indexing?
Document indexing brings more structure to your digital documents by adding tags or markers to the files denoting the information they contain.
This tactic can be applied in two ways:
- Indexing within a document: If you’ve ever consulted the index in a book, then you have an idea of how this type of indexing works. Keywords from a document are identified and included on a page attached to the document. These keywords may be hyperlinked or may list the page number(s) where they can be found for quick reference.
- Indexing whole documents: Documents can also be indexed for organization purposes and to make them easy to find with a quick keyword search. With this type of indexing, the metadata for a file includes tags identifying important aspects of the document or keywords it contains. A document often contains multiple tags, allowing you to find it in multiple ways.
What sort of information in a document can be used for indexing? The possibilities are endless. For example, you can index documents based on fields such as:
- Document classification
- Client or vendor name
- Account number
- Invoice or order number
- Medical diagnosis
- Case number
The tags that make sense for you will depend on your industry, the types of documents you deal with, and—most importantly—the information that’s most useful to you.
Why Is Document Indexing Important?
Document indexing offers some practical benefits for any company dealing with documents. It can enhance efficiency, productivity, consistency, and profits.
Without indexing, employees can spend excessive time searching for a document or for the information they need within a document. McKinsey found that high-skill knowledge workers sink 19 percent of their workweek into searching for information. That adds up to nearly one whole workday every week! Don’t settle for this level of inefficiency. With indexing, employees can follow an orderly and intelligently-crafted system to reach their desired document or data.
Less time wasted on menial tasks means your team now has more time to dedicate to value-added pursuits. Instead of wasting time searching through a clumsy electronic health record interface for a patient record, a healthcare provider can spend that saved time treating the patient or checking in on them. With quick and easy access to the information they need, employees can reach new levels of productivity.
Things can easily fall through the cracks when you’re not well organized. Document indexing can help you become more consistent in your operations so you can minimize oversights. You may even be able to eliminate data redundancy, which research shows can negatively impact medical data integrity. With document indexing, the precise data you need is right there at your fingertips. This also makes it easier to comply with audits as it empowers you to provide records and information quickly and accurately.
Better efficiency, productivity, and consistency add up to significantly improved internal business operations and even improved customer service. That means you can expect document indexing to have a positive effect on your bottom line.
How Can You Index Documents?
To index documents, you should start by determining which fields serve as the most relevant tags. Ask yourself, what keywords will help you find the files you’re looking for? What information do you want to be able to quickly pull from a document?
There are two approaches to actually creating those tags or index sheets.
One method is to read through every document and identify the most important pieces of information it contains. Then you can create tags for the document based on those fields and add those tags to the file’s metadata. You could also highlight keywords in the document or manually create an indexed cover page.
When indexing documents, accuracy is paramount. The gold standard for ensuring accuracy is the double- (or even triple-) key method of data entry, also called two-pass verification. Multiple people will perform the same tasks above, and any differences that arise are flagged. This method helps prevent errors in indexing, but it is extremely time-consuming.
You can also use optical character recognition (OCR) and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to extract relevant keywords from a document—even a scanned paper one. Indexing software can automatically create tags and generate indexed cover sheets. All you have to do in this instance is to tell the software what to look for; the technology does all the heavy lifting.
Automation makes indexing take far less time, helping you truly capitalize on the potential benefits of efficiency and productivity. Notable System’s solution is more accurate than human review, so you can trust the technology to correctly index and record information. It can even find elements in documents or draw conclusions about documents in ways that humans can’t effectively replicate.
Make Your Documents Work for You with Automated Document Indexing
Indexing can empower your approach to document management, allowing you to effortlessly find the documents you need and the relevant information they contain. Want to learn how Notable Systems can empower your company through document indexing services? Schedule a consultation!