Healthcare and Fax Automation: Prior Authorizations

Healthcare scanning and capture

Automating Fax Processing in Healthcare

We recently built out a whole set of Healthcare Capture and Scanning Solutions for our partners.  Below is my contribution, and I focused on automating the Prior Authorization fax problem.


In the coming weeks I will post more of these capture, scanning and OCR solutions here.  Subscribe to get notified.





Invoice Scanning and Capture Software

Invoice Scanning Software

Using OCR Invoice Scanning Software

There are typically 3 types of invoice scanning software solutions that companies implement.  If you need a quick primer before you read on, see our terminology page here: Invoice Scanning Software.   Below are the 3 types of solutions:

  1.  Scan Invoices and Extract the Vendor and Total with OCR – As a baby-step solution, many Accounts Payable departments look to start with a minimal impact solution to add some level of automation and efficiency.  They scan their invoices with a copier or scanner, and pass it through an application like Ephesoft Transact for AP Invoices.   Users can either point and click in the interface to populate fields, manually type in information, use ERP or Accounting system lookups for their vendors, and output their scanned invoices to structured folders, an accounting Microsoft SharePoint Library, or another content management system like Alfresco.
  2. Capture All Invoice Header Information – the next step is usually to capture (with document analytics + OCR), all the scanned invoice header information.  Here is the typical information:
    1.  Invoice Number
    2. Invoice Date
    3. Invoice Vendor Name
    4. Invoice Total

This information can be extracted automatically through data extraction, and modern solutions use an analytics algorithm to improve accuracy and reduce end-user interaction with the invoice scanning process.   Once again, all accounts payable invoice information is sent to an end resting place, and typically in this level of solution, the information is sent to an accounting system automatically.

3.  Scan to Capture Invoice Header and Line Item Data – Top tier invoice scanning applications provide the ability to extract all the information on the invoice automatically.  They do all of the above, and also provide line item/table extraction of invoice data.  This extracted information can be used to compare the invoice to the purchase order, and provide line item matching capability.  In addition, all OCR invoice data can be routed to an ERP or accounting system for update.

There are tools, like Ephesoft Transact, that can provide all 3 invoice scanning solutions without the need to add additional modules or components.


Machine Learning and Distributed Document Capture and Scanning

Machine Learning for Copier Scanning

Using Copiers to Machine Learn Documents

I have been working with several of our MFP/Copier partners, and wanted to put together a video demo on how to use copiers to train Ephesoft when it comes to our machine learning engine.  This demo shows how you can use our document analytics engine and train HR documents.



Microsoft Flow, Document Classification and Machine Learning

OCR for Microsoft Flow

Using Ephesoft Web Services with Microsoft Flow

This is part 2 of my video series on how to add intelligent capture automation to Microsoft Technologies with Ephesoft Transact.  The first video (Scanning to Microsoft SharePoint Online and Microsoft Flow) provides a way to front-end processes through web-based scanning for SharePoint.   This demo video below uses Ephesoft’s Web Services to auto-classify documents and add intelligence to workflow.


Scanning to SharePoint Online and Microsoft Flow

SharePoint Scanning Scanner

SharePoint Web Scanning and Microsoft Flow

So, I thought I would share some of the capabilities around scanning to SharePoint Online and using Ephesoft Transact as a front-end web scanning tool for Microsoft Flow.  In my post about the 3 areas of integration with BPM and workflow tools (BPM and Intelligent Document Capture) , I talk about using intelligent capture as an onramp for workflow tools, and using machine learning and classification to add an additional intelligence layer.  The video below shows this concept, and uses extracted data and information to make Microsoft tech “smarter”.


More to come on this topic.

Appian and Intelligent Capture: Onramping to Workflow

OCR and Extraction for BPM

OCR, Classification and Extraction for Appian

I spent this week at the AppianWorld Conference with one of our great partners, GxP Partners.  GxP has done some really cool things with Ephesoft Transact, through leveragingCapture and OCR for Appian our open capture platform and OCR & Extraction web services to create ApnCapture.   The solution is tightly tied to a previous article I wrote Document Capture+BPM, and below
is a quick summary of the value of using intelligent document capture with any workflow tool:

With the rise of Document Capture as a Platform (CaaP), there is an enormous opportunity for organizations to leverage the power of capture as an intelligent document automation component to any business process or workflow solution.  Here are the core use areas of document capture and automation with any Business Process Management System (BPMS):

  1. The “Pre” – The logical fit is to use document capture software to “feed the beast”, or in other terms, as a front-end processor for inbound documents destined for workflows.  You might ask, “Why?  My BPM/Workflow solution has the capability to import documents.”  Modern capture platforms add another dimension of automation through the use of several features like separation, document classification and automatic data extraction.  Imagine a mortgage banking process where a PDF document is sent inbound that houses  12 different document types in a single PDF file.  The power of capture is to auto-split the PDF, classify each document, extract information and then pass all of that in a neatly formatted packages to the workflow engine.   Now, the workflow has a second dimension of intelligence, and it can use that to branch, route and execute.  Platforms like Ephesoft Enterprise have the ability to ingest documents from email, folders, legacy document management systems, fax and also legacy capture (like Kofax and Captiva).

2.  Mid-stream –  What about activities during the workflow?  Ones that are necessary mid-process?  This is where the true power of a “platform” comes into play, and it requires a web services API (See other requirements of a Capture Platform in this article: 6 Key Components of a Document Capture Platform).   Some examples of activities that can be accomplished through a capture platform API in workflow:

  • Value Extraction – pass the engine a document and return extracted information.
  • Read Barcodes – pass the engine an image, and read and return the value of a barcode.
  • Classify a Document – pass a document and identify what it is
  • Create OCR – pass a non-searchable PDF and return a searchable file.

As you can imagine, this can provide extreme customization in any process that requires document automation, and can reduce end-user input, create added efficiency, and once again add that second dimension of intelligence after the workflow has begun.  You can see an extensive list of API operations here: Document Capture API Guide

3.  The “Post” – Depending on the process and requirements, a “post-process” capture may be in order.  Most capture platforms have extensive integrations with 3rd party ECM systems like SharePoint, Filebound and Onbase, and can be leveraged as an integration point to these systems.  In addition, there is a new wave in the big data and analytics world, with a focus on data contained within documents.   Routing documents and data to analytics repositories can help organizations glean important insight into their operations.   If you choose a capture platform with a tied-in document analytics component, this can be accomplished automatically.

ApnCapture: Capture and OCR for Appian

So, how did GxP implement ApnCapture and integrate with Appian?  Below is a series of screen shots as an overview from start to finish:

The capture process is initiated from any document source Ephesoft supports:

  • Web-browser scanning
  • Copiers/MFPs
  • Network folders
  • Email + Attachments
  • Mobile (Through our mobile client SnapDoc: Mobile OCR and Capture)
  • CMIS Based Repositories
  • Custom Code

Those documents are processed, and if there are no confidence issues, they pass right through the process.  If there are issues that require end-user correction or validation, users can access document batches through the ApnCapture Batch Report.

Appian Document Data Extraction and Classification OCR
Document Batches Are Queued for End User Review

Clicking any line in the Appian produced form interacts with Ephesoft Web Services to open a validation and review screen.

Appian Capture and OCR Review Screen
Documents Can Be Reviewed Through the ApnCapture Web Interface

Extracted data is then sent into Appian and can be used for all types of purposes: adding intelligence to workflows, enhancing business rules with data, and leveraging documents for approval and review.

AP Invoice Solution with OCR for Appian
Extracted Invoice Data is Presented in Appian for Approval

Finally, all the extracted data can provide a deeper view of any process that is capture enabled.

Accounts Payable Process in Appian Dashboards
Captured Invoice Data is Presented for a Deeper Look Into the AP Process

To find out more about Intelligent Capture and OCR for Appian, contact GxP Partners.


CIO Insight: How to Anticipate Your Digital Transformation Roadblocks

Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation (DX) Roadblocks: The Survey

This past week I was at Alfresco’s Sales Kickoff Event in Chicago, and there were some great presentations that tied into my recent theme of Digital Transformation.  In my recent post, CIO’s Digital Transformation Playbook, I outlined the 6 keys to a successful digital transformation.  We all know that road is plagued with pitfalls and detours.  Wouldn’t it be nice to tackle and plan for those roadblocks prior to starting your DX journey?   Here are the top pain points in order (as outlined by Alfresco/Forbes Survey):

  1. Technology (legacy issues/lack of integration) – As CIO’s prepare their vision for DX, they have to figure out their legacy impediments.  Are existing systems cloud ready and cloud adaptive?  How do you replace the laggard technology to enable transformation?
  2. Talent/capabilities/skills gaps – the lack of quality IT talent on the street is a definite issue when it comes to transforming business.  How do you find that Azure or AWS expert?  If you decide to move from an on-prem ERP, can you find an experienced project manager to move to your chosen SaaS vendor?
  3. Lack of collaboration between IT and LoB – ah, the same old story, the struggle between IT and the Business Users.  Cant we all just get along?  DX can be a painful and scary trip for the business, and moving to new technology or a new system can wreak havoc on operations.  Collaboration between tech and business can slow down the move, and may even bring it to a halt.
  4. Organizational Silos – digital transformation is broad and all-inclusive, and breaking down silos to enable a true digital “flow” between departments can be a heavy challenge.  This ties into #3, and now IT becomes a facilitator between departments internally.
  5. Disjointed processes across departments – recreating broken processes in the digital realm is a recipe for failure and challenges.  Process improvement efforts during DX can add layers of complexity, and also slow down efforts.
  6. Company Culture – I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a CEO in my past, we were discussing paperless technology, and he said, “I can see all the benefits and the cost savings, but my employees will never go for that.”  What?!?!  Company culture and attitudes can be a massive inhibitor when it comes to transformative technology.

Alfresco has some great posts on Digital Transformation here:

Digital Transformation: It’s all about the flow

Digital Transformation Isn’t a Goal.  It’s A Journey.

CIO Playbook: 6 Keys to Digital Transformation Success

Digital Transformation Paperless

6 Core Keys for Digital Transformation Journey Success

I finally built out my Digital Transformation presentation deck, and recorded the video overview below.   This is an extension of my initial post:  BofA and Digital Transformation


GDPR and Compliance: Are Documents the Enterprise Minefield?

What is your privacy strategy for documents and content repositories?

The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is set to replace the older Data Protection Directive in the EU on May 25, 2018.  This new roll out of privacy protections for EU nations has broad and expansive implications for any company within the realm of the EU, or those that process EU citizen information and data.   Here is a summary of the major changes:

  • GDPR jurisdiction now applies to all organizations that process EU subject personal data, regardless of the
    Data Protection finesorganizations location.
  • Breach of GDPR can be fined up to 4% of global turnover or 20M Euros (whichever is larger)
  • Consent when providing personal information must be clear and easy to understand.

There are a set of core subject rights that apply, and below is a quick summary:

  • Breach Notification – any data breach requires notification within 72 hours.
  • Right to Access – subjects can request an electronic copy of all private data at any time.
  • Right to be Forgotten – aka Data Erasure, a subject at any time can request to have all private data removed from a controlling organizations systems.
  • Data Portability – subjects can request to have their information transferred to another organization at any time.  This will go hand in hand with the “right to be forgotten”.
  • Privacy by Design – now a legal requirement, organizations must show proof of “…appropriate technical and organizational measures…” within any system or process.
  • Data Protection Officers (DPOs) – organizations will now require DPOs.  This individual will be responsible for interfacing with EU nations and authorities, and will carry the heavy burden of responsibility for all data protection efforts.

So, with that quick outline, imagine the implications of  millions of application documents with personal information that are breached.    What about the accidental scan of medical records to an insecure document sync folder?  Or the directory of millions of scanned documents that have a few documents with private information?

Organizations need a two-pronged approach to prevent the document minefield.   So, to get this under control, and mitigate risk, there are really two types of technologies that need to work hand in hand.

GDPR Compliance Solution
GDPR Document Strategy: Transactional and Analytical

First, a document and content capture technology that works as an ingestion point for new content and existing document-centric processes.  This form of enterprise input management can be placed as an non-invasive automation layer to flag/identify suspect content and provide reporting capabilities around private information for compliance.  Once again, focused on day forward transactions.

Second, is a solution to crawl existing repositories to classify, extract and identify documents that pose a risk.  This technology can work hand in hand with the transactional layer to build machine learning profiles, and establish analytical libraries of  document and data profiles so the analytical side can become proactive and preemptive.  This can be a critical step in identifying possible legacy documents that house private information that could be subject to GDPR fines.

So, where does Ephesoft fit?  We have two products that span the transactional and analytical requirements to help organizations capture, classify, identify and visualize their documents in a broad sense, and comply with GDPR privacy rules.

GDPR Compliance for Documents
Ephesoft Provides GDPR and Privacy Solutions for Documents

For the day-to-day, we have Ephesoft Transact, and for deep analytics, we have Ephesoft Insight.   If you need further information, you can contact us here: Ephesoft GDPR Solution Information.


The Borderless Enterprise, The Cloud and Capture 2.0

Cloud Document Content and Capture

Capture is the New Intelligent Document Transport Layer


As Enterprise infrastructure gets more and more complex, especially with a move to cloud content and line of business systems, organizations struggle with creating what I will call an “Intelligent Document Transport” layer.  The ability to move documents from system to system and maintain data integrity and standardization is paramount to driving organizational efficiency.  With 72% of larger organizations having 3 or  more repositories, and 25% having 5 or more, allowing a seamless interchange of documents and data seems more like a dream than an actual reality. Cloud Capture for Content In addition, legacy, in-place capture systems just lack the modern web service oriented architecture to allow the adaptability and flexibility required to work with modern cloud infrastructure.  These “Fat” client applications are often laden with complex, host-based SDKs and legacy code, requiring extensive development cycles and specialized skill sets to extend and integrate. Here are some of the core challenges in organizations lacking this transport/integration layer:

  • Lack of Document “Intelligence” – many organizations move documents throughout their systems as a closed entity.  They may know it is  a PDF or a Word document, and that it came from accounting, but beyond that, it is a digital mystery.  They usually have limited data or information, and this usually requires human intervention or hand keying of info.
  •  Lost in Translation – As documents move from department to department, person to person and system to system, things get lost in translation.  Information may be misinterpreted, data may be lost or the interpretation may be different.
  • Lack of Standardization and Normalization – With out a standardized transport layer, problems begin to arise.  Take this simple example:  The difference in file naming.  Maybe one department calls it W4, another W_4, and yet a third W-4.  As documents flow back and forth, between systems, think of the headaches this minor difference can create in reporting, workflow and overall system operation.
  • Unified Security – the ability for users and integrations to span the on premise world and the cloud ether is reliant on complex authentication and authorization.  In this day and age, having centralized reporting and audit capability on document transactions can be critical, and a single sign on capability required.

So, what is required to eliminate these challenges and create an efficient document transport layer to connect people, departments and systems?  In my previous post about the new keys to digital transformation, companies are realizing the benefits of new age application architecture: open modular platforms, cloud adaptive technology, scale up and scale down and rapid deployment.  New age document capture and analytics platforms, like Ephesoft Transact, encompass these modern traits, and help create a smooth and efficient document transport layer through the following:

  • Bundling both the document and metadata in an intelligent “suitcase”.  When documents enter the capture layer, they are immediately classified into document types, and appropriate data is extracted.  All of this information travels with the document until it reaches its destination, and the document and data are translated into the required format.
  • Breaking down the barriers that exist between on premise cloud systems.  With a platform built for cloud adaptation, there are now no barriers between systems in corporate data centers and cloud based services.  New age capture platforms can now reside anywhere, and inter-operate with all types of repositories and applications.
cloud document flow
Document Transport Enables a “Borderless” Enterprise
  • Creation of standard processing workflows and business rules.    Creating repeatable processes that are standardized regardless of the user, device or system reduce errors and streamline operations.  Document processing becomes predictable, more efficient and agile when the need for change arises.
  • Security is enforced and an audit trail created.  With a single system that is the epicenter of document traffic, all transactions can be tracked and logged.  With authentication that spans all systems (through single sign on), access can be granted to only documents and systems that are in a users security realm.

New age capture technologies breakdown the barriers that exist, and create a “borderless” Enterprise, and allow the exchange of documents and their associated data to enable improved efficiency and productivity.  Thoughts?