Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Paper storage is an increasingly annoying, expensive, and inefficient way that many schools still use for managing records of current and former students.
Having a poor records management process or system can lead to serious violations of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. These violations can lead to negative blemishes on a district’s reputation that are sometimes impossible to recover from.
Reduce Storage Space and Save Time
Digital records management is not a new concept. That said, most of the K-12 education industry is behind the other industries when it comes to record management. By implementing a digital solution, you will not only be satisfying the FERPA and HIPAA compliance regulations, but you will also save precious real estate space, up to 20 square feet of space for each file cabinet you eliminate, and the time spent digging through years of paperwork trying to find something for “John Smith” from 1999.
According to The Wharton Journal, it takes 8 times as long to file and locate paper records compared to digital records and an average of $120 in labor costs to locate a misfiled record.
Protection Against Lost Files and Natural Disasters
In addition to the simplicity, ease, and space savings, there is another seriously undervalued added benefit of digital records management — record backups. Imagine there is a fire or some sort of natural disaster, or just a simple lost file. If you’ve got a digital storage solution being backed up to another location on a regular basis, you never need to worry about losing a record again!
Backup and recovery of records can sometimes mean the difference between a compliance violation and not. If you “lose” a record, it’s obvious you don’t have tight controls and you’re going to be in violation of the FERPA and HIPAA regulations, resulting in fines, audits, and a negative reputation. Parents will not want to send their children to a facility found negligent enough about its students’ well-being to provide the privacy expected.
Reduce Your Environmental Impact
In addition to making your life of constant compliance much easier, digital school storage solutions are much more environmentally friendly. You will be saving dozens to hundreds of trees over the next 30 years by going paperless.
Access Control and Tracking Systems
Some of the side benefits of an electronic K-12 records management solution get overlooked. Digital solutions allow for documentation tracking. Moves of files will be logged so that you can review who has been looking at what files and where they’ve placed them, or whether they’ve been edited in some way. This not only complies with the government regulations, but can lead to catching something malicious before it compromises the compliance of your district.
The final piece to the successful compliance puzzle is privacy. If you’ve got your K-12 records managed in a digital solution like YellowFolder, only specified users will ever be able to access information.