What do I need to consider when moving to an electronic filing system?
Electronic communication and recordkeeping is a great way to save space and allow quick access to files. But it takes some effort to get the systems set up properly and to convert paper to e-files. In considering what type of system will work best for your organization, there are many items that must be kept in mind during the transition. The following pre-implementation checklist will help to reduce potential risks associated with electronic recordkeeping systems.
- Validation – Recordkeeping system must be validated to ensure that the documents are truly valid (i.e. accurate, reliable, non-altered documents).
- Readability – Must be able to print an accurate, legible, readable copy of the record.
- Access – Must take measures to protect items from unauthorized access.
- Protection/Confidentiality – Must contain legally acceptable means to protect records.
- Retrievable – Must provide a means for easily accessible files and retrieval.
- Audit Trail – Must use secure, computer-generated, time-stamped audit trails to independently record the date and time of operator entries to assist with validation.
- Back Ups – Provide a process for the electronic storage including procedures for labeling of electronically maintained records and a secure storage environment, including an off-site storage location.
- Quality Assurance Program – Regular review of the electronic recordkeeping system, including periodic checks of the records.
- Disposal of Originals – Properly dispose of the originals after they are transferred to an electronic recordkeeping system. Documents which have legal significance or inherent value as original records (i.e. notarized documents, sealed documents) should be maintained as originals.
- Record Retention – “Cleaning house” presents new challenges for electronic recordkeeping if your files are not stored accurately or with enough detail to evaluate destroy dates. One consideration when storing files would be to store records via functional area, similar to how you store files today. Also, pull potential audit or legislative issues in a separate file for frequent evaluation.
With some forethought and planning moving from paper-based to electronic files will reward you greatly with time, and ultimately cost, savings.
Recordkeeping is one of the more mundane tasks associated with Human Resources, but is extremely important and can get you into hot water if not done properly. Keeping the right files easily accessible and up-to-date is vital. We have years of experience maintaining HR documentation and knowing what to keep and what to pitch. Need some help? Visit our Recordkeeping page to learn more.