The Veterans Affairs (VA) office has found itself in hot water a few times recently as the agency works to bring its years-long backlog down. Currently, the agency works with all paper documents, which has prevented the VA from helping process claims as quickly as possible, and some veterans have been waiting years to receive treatment due to the outdated system. Though it is in the process of moving the a digital system, the agency is still having difficulty processing all information.
According to an article in the Daily News, the VA office for Buffalo and Batavia, New York misplaced and mismanaged "thousands of patient records," as medical technicians that worked at the office said the agency's record management system was not up to par. Documents were often filed randomly, instead of with any system.
"As a result of the lack of a record keeping system, when a veteran's record was requested, Health Information Management clerks deemed the record 'unavailable' rather than initiate a search for documentation," Carolyn Lerner of the U.S. Office for Special Counsel wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama, with information from four whistle-blowers.
The four whistle-blowers also said that there were about 240 boxes of files that were contaminated by mold. The VA Secretary has since investigated the issue, and has made recommendations for a new records management system.
For government agencies or other offices, this example shows the potential issues that can often accompany paper-based systems. With poor records management, employees often spend extra time looking and organizing files, as well as dealing with extra space needed to store files. Instead, digital files can help businesses avoid these problems and create a stronger records management system.
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