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Locking Up Document Inefficiency

3 Jul, 2006 By: DocuWare DocuWare imageSource

Locking Up Document Inefficiency

Valley Juvenile Detention Center’s new integrated document management solution
automates the creation,  retrieval and access of every form, saves nearly
7,000 man-hours annually and gives staff the tools to better provide secure
custody and care of juveniles in a safe, healthy environment.

Meeting state documentation requirements is essential. Instant access to this
critical information has improved relationships between the staff and detainees
and allows the center to better respond to parental questions. With an ROI of
only eight months, the center continues to realize a savings of thousands of
man-hours annually.

Roanoke Valley Juvenile Detention Center (RVJDC) is an 81-bed, secure
detention facility serving five localities in Virginia’s Roanoke Valley. The
center provides care, education and counseling services for juveniles who are
awaiting final disposition in court or who are sentenced to the center as an
alternative to a juvenile correctional center.

Document Lockdown

The center’s key document is known as the Face Sheet, a lengthy required state
form containing detainee and parent(s) demographic information, including the
detainee’s charges. RVJDC also documents the use of physical restraints,
discipline issues, serious incidents, and stores appointment and temporary
release forms, as well as activity logs, along with other information. The
center’s records are governed by two sets of standards: inter-departmental
standards that apply to any juvenile care facility in the state, and the Board
of Juvenile Justice standards for secure facilities.

In 2000, the center started operating under a direct supervision model,
housing detainees in six small (10-20 bed) housing units or pods. The change
improved relations between the staff and kids, but complicated the retrieval of

Records were stored in a separate area requiring the staff to cover for each
other while trips to the records room were made. If a detainee left the building
for an appointment, their entire file would go with them making their parental
contact and other information unavailable until their return.

Additionally, the staff spent a lot of time filling out various state
mandated forms which required information repetition. The process was slow and
illegible handwriting was often an issue. Manually filling-out forms, lengthy
retrieval times and complicated record purging were compounding and eating up
valuable time, prompting the administration to automate their document

The administration wanted to implement a system that would meet both sets of
document security standards and allow the staff to securely access information
without leaving the pod. They needed a flexible system that could archive many
types of records, provide simultaneous access to information, and operate as a
workflow tool. The center wanted to reduce the time their staff spent creating,
storing and retrieving paperwork. RVJDC also wanted to find a system that could
be implemented and supported by a local provider and that would streamline their
documentation practices without changing basic processes. The system needed to
be easy to learn and easy to use for staff members resistant to change.

Breaking Free

Old Dominion Data Systems, Inc., the local Authorized DocuWare Partner,
implemented the center’s solution by pairing a forms filler program with
DocuWare. Now when a youth is admitted, their name and state assigned juvenile
number are entered onto the face sheet, producing an automatic query of the
index information already stored in DocuWare. If they are a repeat offender,
their stored demographic information automatically populates the sheet,
reactivating their file.

For first time offenders, demographic information is typed in and
automatically stored in DocuWare. Related forms can now be pre-filled using
stored face sheet information thus reducing error and saving time across the
organization. Today, the center has digital records for over 3,000 individuals.

By automating administrative documentation, the staff has more time to focus
on those in their care. Simplifying processes and eliminating the need to verify
illegible information has lowered workplace stress and improved employee morale.

“The indexing of our face sheet is the foundation of our system. With
DocuWare, demographic information is only typed once instead of every time we
document an incident. This time savings alone is incredible,” said Colleen
French, Assistant Superintendent of RVJDC.

Admissions processing time has been reduced by half. More importantly, the
staff’s ability to instantly respond to a youth’s question about when their next
court date or treatment session is, makes the kids feel important, and has
improved their behavior and relationship with the staff.

For the nursing staff, accessing parent contact information to report health
problems and discuss insurance coverage can be accomplished with a few mouse
clicks. Before DocuWare, the medical staff made multiple trips a day to the
records room. That time is now redirected to better serving the youth in their

Instead of allocating eight man-hours a day to look through detainee files, a
list of each day’s transportation needs, for detainees on temporary release, can
be instantly researched and easily created with the new system. Even the kitchen
staff can quickly verify if a child really has a food allergy or is just

For the administration, full-text search capabilities enable the review of
pod shift logs for references to a specific individual, a task that would have
taken hours on the paper-based system. Quick access to a detainee’s entire
history has also improved relations with detainee parents.

“As an administrator, I am now able to instantly access disciplinary
documentation stored in DocuWare and explain the situation to upset parents
without having to put them on hold or return their call. This is an aspect which
has gone a long way to improve the perception of detention and the level of
professionalism at our facility. It’s made parents more  responsive and
allows them to feel that their child is important and not falling through cracks
in the system,” said French.

DocuWare allowed the center to automate their workflow without changing any
of their processes. The records storage room is gradually being eliminated,
along with the need to spend 2-3 days a year sorting and purging truckloads of
information. French estimates the center realized a ROI in only eight months. By
implementing DocuWare, the organization saves more than 7,000 man-hours a year.

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