Paper filing system information online is scarce in todays digital world. Because of my years of experience working with paper filing systems I thought it would be helpful to create a forum designed to provide paper filing system information along with a venue to vent.
Categories of filing system help are listed on the right.
My website is a great place to purchase filing system related products.
What would you like to discuss?
Pressboard/Classification folders are stocked in multiple configurations and are available for quick shipment. BUY HERE
Here is a simple guide to determining which stock folder best matches your filing system needs.
Match height of your paper to the width of folder. Match depth of shelving system to width of folder
Letter Size Paper is 8-1/2″ wide x 11″ high
Top Tab Folder- 11-3/4″ wide x 10″ high- End Tab Folder- 12-1/4″ wide x 9-1/2″ high
Legal Size Paper is 8-1/2″ wide x 14″ high
Top Tab Folder- 14-3/4″ wide x 10″ high- End Tab Folder- 15-1/4″ wide x 9-1/2″ high
The next consideration is the type of shelving used to store the folders.
End (side tab)- Designed for use on open shelving
Top tab- designed for drawer style file cabinets
A folder with the incorrect tab location may not fit on your shelving or into your filing cabinet.
0 dividers (two filing sections)
1 divider (four filing sections)
2 dividers (six filing sections)
3 dividers (eight filing sections)
25pt Pressboard, 25% Post-Consumer Waste
2/5 (ROC-Right of Center on the Top Tab folders
Full cut side tab on Side Tab Folders
2″ Tyvek expansion on folders with zero, one, and two inner dividers
3″ Tyvek expansion on folders with four inner dividers
1″ Dual Prong clips on inner dividers
Inner dividers are 17pt Kraft
Inner dividers are 1/3rd cut
Custom pressboard folders are available in many additional configurations but usually require a minimum purchase and may be more costly, especially for small quantities.
I received an email today that contained the announcement that STS Filing Products is purchasing Star Filing. My company Efficiency Solutions currently uses STS Filing Products as one of our manufactures of file folders that we sell to our customers.
We are excited that STS will now be a great resource for expansion filing pockets. Efficiency Solutions is always looking for ways to improve our filing system product selection for our customers.
Here is the text of the email:
Star Filing and STS Filing Products are excited to announce the approval of sale by the United States Bankruptcy Court. On November 21, 2011, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia approved the sale of substantially all of the assets of Star Acquisitions, LLC to STS Filing Products, Inc. STS is an industry leader in processed paper products for hospital, medical clinic, court system, insurance and governmental market use, and looks forward to stabilizing and enhancing current business operations. Star Filing and STS are working with deliberate speed to close this transaction by December 15, 2011.
Star Filing will remain operational during the closing process and our contact information will remain the same. We are excited to partner with STS Filing Products to enhance our operations and product offerings. We would like to take this opportunity to ask for your quotations and orders in anticipation of returning to the service levels for which we were renowned. Please contact us with any questions. Thank you for your support during this difficult time. We value our relationship with you and appreciate your business.
Vice President Sales
Visit Efficiency Solutions for a great source of filing system products.
Some reasons you want to convert may include: cost of purchasing additional filing cabinets, size of existing filing system is increasing, want to improve visibility and accessibility of records, losing space for your existing records, etc.. You may just need more space!
Where do you start?
1) The first task is to figure out how much filing capacity you currently have by measuring existing used filing inches. Take a measuring tape and measure from the beginning to the end of the folders in one drawer. If all the drawers are similarly filled and the same size you can then multiply this measurement by the number of drawers. Different size drawers will need to be measured individually. Add everything up and you know how many filing inches you are using for you files.
2)The next step is to figure out how much capacity you need for the open shelving. If you are increasing the size of your system take the percentage of increase and add it to your existing filing inches. This will give you how many filing inches you need in the open shelving.
Open shelving filing inches are easy to determine. The width of each shelve tells you how many filing inches this shelf can hold. For example: a 36” wide, 7 shelve high unit has a capacity of 252 filing inches.
3)Now look at what type of folders are currently in the file drawers. If your folders are side tab folders they can usually be used easily on open shelving. But top tab folders are another matter. The top tab is hard to see on open shelving and can sometimes be too high to fit in the space between two shelves (cutting off the top tab is a way to avoid purchasing all new folders).
4)Move the records from the drawers to your new open shelving.
A-Transfer the records into a side tab folder (this is a good time to add any planned color-coding)
B-Attach a 2-1/2” x 8” label to the side of the top tab folder to create a side tab (the top tab can be cut off if causes the folder to not fit on the shelf).
C-Move all the existing folders onto the new shelving and convert the records as they are accessed.
After making this change my guess is you will wonder why you did not make this change a long time ago!
Do you have some ideas to add?
Need folders for your new open shelving system? Efficiency Solutions carries a great side tab folder.
Another incidence of personal information from 4 million patients at a medical facility has been reported stolen in an article published in the November 16 edition of The Washington Post with Bloomberg.
I don’t know about you but this really scares me! I realize having store shopping cards means what we buy at the grocery store can be accessed by marketers and “bad guys”. But can you just imagine what the criminals can do with all the information found on this stolen lap top?
When the decision was made in this country to force medical facilities to convert to electronic records I do not believe enough time was spent ensuring the safety of our personal information. Just imagine the magnitude of someone trying to steal 4 million paper based medical records. The chances are pretty small that this will happen.
HIPPA has made multiple rules and regulations regarding our privacy. I wonder how many facilities have been penalized for not securing patient information?
So I stay on my soapbox about forgetting electronic records until our private information is protected!
What do you think!
For those still using paper records visit my web site Efficiency Solutions.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requires that all prescribing practitioner’s verbal orders be authenticated within 48 hours.
MedLaw.com’s article explains the details. Joint Commission required compliance to this rule March 11, 2009 with a change in their regulations. Additional information regarding the Joint Commission’s rule can be found here.
Since all records waiting to be scanned or filed into folders do not involve verbal orders, compliance can be tricky. How do you make sure this rule is followed?
One way to assure that records requiring this information are not processed before authentication is to use a bright, fluorescent label. This label is designed to be placed on the record where the relevant practitioner needs to sign and requests all the required information.
Here is one example of a verbal order compliance label. This label has a line identifying which doctor needs to authenticate their verbal order and the text “Please Sign and Date and Time Below”. This reminds the doctor to date and time their signature to prove compliance.
This label will scan which is very important for departments scanning their records after completion.
Size: 2-1/2” x 1”
Note! Some label colors will not show up when scanned.
Advantages of using CMS compliance labels
>Improves quality of care
>Saves time for record staff and practitioners
>Demonstrates Compliance to CMS Verbal Order Rule
>Saves money on administrative costs associated with record completion
Health care facilitates have many rules and regulations. Taking advantage of help simplifying the processes just makes sense!
To purchase these labels go to Efficiency Solutions.
Do you have additional ideas to help with the 48 CMS rule?
COLOR-CODING WITH TERMINAL DIGIT FILING
-Color-coding is very effective with terminal digit filing. Using the number 87 34 71 you would
-If you have a file room with 10,000 records and color-code the last two digits you will have 100 records in the file room filed beside each other with the same two colors. It is easy to see if someone puts a record into the wrong section since the color scheme would be broken.
-You only need to search through 100 files for a missing folder instead of 10,000 (since you know the color of the last two digits).
-Still using the example 87 34 71 if you decide to color-code the 1,000 digit also (3) in our example, that would reduce the amount of records with the same three colors to 10 records.
I recommend color-coding the 1,000 digit when the file room contains 30,000 or more records (means 30 records with the same 3 colors as opposed to 300 when coding 2 colors).
I would not recommend color-coding all the digits of the number because of the rainbow effect makes spotting misfiles difficult (too many colors) Also, why spend unnecessary money?
Read my article “Analysis of Terminal Digit” Filing for information about terminal digit filing.
Need folders or labels? Go to Efficiency Solutions for a great selection of filing products.
>What suggestions can you add to color coding terminal digit filing?
Today I read another example of the security/privacy risk of electronic records.
An article titled “Mislaid hospital data another cause for unease” written by Edward Moyer and published on cnet.com describes a very serious breach.
To summarize: medical information for 20,000 patients ended up on a public web site.
If we are going to be forced into electronic medical records by the government I think serious attention must also be paid to security.
Tell me what you think.
Need HIPAA related filing supplies? Efficiency Solutions carries a wide range of HIPAA products!
Color-coded year bands provide an economical way to distinguish time of activity of individual folders located in a filing system. A year band can be used to tell when a record was created or when the record was last accessed.
Each year is printed on the label and assigned a different color. For example, 2010 may be red while 2011 is blue. The label wraps around the side or top tab of the folder so it is visible from both sides of the folder.
What Sizes Are Available for Year Codes?
Side tab label sizes are: 3/4” high x 1-1/2” wide (most common size),
1/2” high x 1-1/8” wide, 1-7/8” x 1-7/8”.
Top tab label size is: 1” high x 1/2” wide.
What Type of Filing System Commonly Uses Year Codes?
Year codes are more commonly used in a side tab filing system (this is when folders are filed on open shelving as apposed to drawers) because these systems are often very large. Also, with open shelving you can see the colors on the labels by standing in front of the shelving.
Finding information based on the year is much quicker. If you do not put it on the front of the folder you have to go into each chart to find the year.
Another use of colored year bands is when all records from one year are filed together. If someone tries to put a record with the wrong year’s folders the color band will be different than the others in the section
When is Knowing Folder Activity Important?
Knowing folder activity is valuable in a number of instances:
If you purge based on activity.
When a study is conducted and you want to access all records from a certain year.
If you are looking for a certain record and know the year the search is quicker.
You need to follow-up on a record in a specific time period.
What if You Have too Many Records in One Year?
When one year is too long a time period (too many records) you can use two or more colors for the same year to break up the year. Or, month codes are available to distinguish each month of activity.
Benefits of Year Codes!
Using year codes saves time and after all “time is money”. Since approximately 75% of every dollar spent in filing areas is people time, using color-coded year bands will pay big dividends!
Share your ideas about using year codes.
Need year codes or folders? Efficiency Solutions is a great place to purchase both!
The order to file alphabetically by name is: last name, first name or initial, then middle name or initial.
1) To get started first determine how many records will be put into the system. This will determine how much shelving you need.
(Read my article “Questions to Ask Before Choosing Shelving for Your Files”) for help determining what type of shelving to buy.
2) Then, divide your shelving into 26 sections. Studies have determined the percentage of how many people have a last name starting with each letter of the alphabet. By using the results of these studies, you can estimate what percentage of the file room each letter will use.
File Room Alpha Breakdown
(A=3.2%) (B=9.7%) (C=8.0%) (D=4.9%) (E=2.2%) (F=3.8%)
(G=4.9%) (H=7.8%) (I=0.4%) (J=2.6%) (K=3.6%) (L=4.5%)
(M=9.3%) (N=1/7%) (O=1.3%) (P=4.5%) (Q=0.2%) (R=4.8%)
(S=10.2%) (T=3.4%) (U=0.4%) (V=1.0%) (W=6.8%) (X=0.1%)
Each section will reflect the information provided above. An easy way to designate each section is to write each letter on a piece of white tape or a blank white label. You can stick this lettered label at the start of each section.
3) Put the files in the correct section based on the first letter of the person’s last name.
(Here is a handy tool that will automatically alphabetize lists.)
4) Next, go the second letter of the surname, then the third letter, etc..
Some additional rules are:
-Surnames with prefixes (Mac, Mc., etc.), are filed as if they were one word.
-How about if the two last names are the same? Then go to the first letter of the first name.
-When someone has a title, put the title at the end of their name.
-Any abbreviations in a name should be alphabetized as
if they were spelled out (St. – saint)
-Ignore hyphens and file compound names as one unit.
For maximum efficiency-color code your alpha system.
Please share any alphabetic filing stories you might have!
Here is a great place to find supplies for your alpha filing system.
Before creating a numeric filing system for your records, it is important to decide what filing number to use.
Here are some questions along with some ideas to help you decide:
Taking the time to think through all the current and future aspects of your filing needs will help to save you time and trouble as the system grows. Nothing is worse than having thousands of records filed only to have to re-do the system because of factors not considered at the beginning.
1) How many total records are anticipated for this system?
If the system is very small what number to use is not as important. In fact, you might want to consider alphabetical filing since this may reduce the need to cross reference in order to find the record’s number.
For large filing systems a shorter number is easier to handle.
2) What numbers already exist that may be used?
Maybe a billing number, medical record number etc? If you decide to use an existing number accessibility of the number is very important. Using a computer system that contains the filing number is the most commonly used method.
3) Will you be color-coding the records?
If you decide to color-code the records a shorter number is easier to work with.
4) Where do you intend to designate the number on the folder?
Make sure the number is not so long all the numbers cannot be viewed on the folders.
5) Will sub-folders be created that need to be numbered?
If sub-folders are used another decision has to be made about how to designate the sub-folders. Using the date the sub-folder is created is a common designation method.
6) Will regular purging of the files occur?
If a sequential filing number is used purging will create holes at the beginning of the filing system which means the records must be shifted to make space for the new numbers (newer numbers will be filed at the end of the system).
7) Is confidentiality an issue with the number being considered for the record?
8) Will drawers or open shelving be used for the system?
When records are filed in drawers it is harder to see the number. A shorter number could help.
When records are filed in drawers it is harder to see the number. A shorter number could help. Also remember that filing drawer cabinets are very inefficient use of floor space.
Considering all the factors listed above will aid you when designing a numeric filing system.
Do you have any additional ideas regarding numbering folders?
Need to purchase folders or labels? Check out Efficiency Solutions for all your filing system needs.