Finding files

Finding files

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Feb 01, 2007

Our client folders are arranged by last name, but approximately one-third of them are in the wrong place. Is it most efficient to file customer folders by name, or is there a better way?


Sheila Grosdidier
"It's so frustrating to be unable to find a medical record," says Sheila Grosdidier, RVT, a consultant with VMC Inc. in Evergreen, Colo. "Many practices find that a numeric filing system is effective and efficient."

Numeric or alphanumeric filing involves placing numbered documents in sequential order. Grosdidier says it's the most practical system for a large number of files and recommends it when your file volume tops 5,000.

Unlike large alphabetic filing systems, there's no duplication of color coding in numeric filing. Each file is unique, which enhances file confidentiality. "While it sounds complicated, it's actually very easy and much more likely to ensure that the files are replaced correctly," Grosdidier says. "Straight numeric filing is a simple system to use because numbers are easier to put in order than letters."

In addition, color coding the files decreases the amount of time a team member spends filing, retrieving, and looking for records. "Approximately 75 cents of each dollar spent in filing areas is staff time," Grosdidier says. "Color coding can save at least 33 percent of that money."

If you want to replace a record easily in the future, Grosdidier recommends buying bright-colored plastic folders and using them as placeholders. The folders mark where files have been pulled. "Then, when you're ready to refile the record, the bright placeholder will make it easy to find the proper location," she says.

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