Regulations continue to proliferate to the point where individuals who are not experts in an area often need to be able to address compliance. For example, grant applications to California's State Water Resources Control Board must include quality assurance project plans that comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's requirements. Compliance with records management (RM) regulations is another area in which ease of use is an important factor. Document management software products geared for small and medium-sized businesses are incorporating techniques that make compliance easier for employees who must classify documents for RM purposes. Organizations must go through the process of learning what the retention schedule is for different types of information. However, once the rules are known, having an easy-to-us software solution can take a lot of the pain out of compliance.
By Judith Lamont, KMWorld senior writer Compliance simplified egulations continue to proliferate to the point where individuals who are Flash to provide a dynamic interface. Corvid has been used to ensure compliance R not experts in an area often need to be able to address compliance. For example, grant applicants to California’s State Water Resources Control Board (swrcb.ca.gov) must include quality assurance project plans (QAPPs) with environmental laws affecting federal facilities such as Argonne National Laboratory (argonne.gov), and facilities subject to regulations by the Occupa- tional Health and Safety Administration (OSHA, osha.gov). that comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (epa.gov) require- ments. However, many grant applicants were having difficulty with providing Expediting RM such information in a way that met EPA’s specifications. The result was that Compliance with records management (RM) regulations is another area grant reviewers ended up sending the proposals back to the applicants for addi- in which ease of use is an important factor. Document management software tional work, slowing the process and increasing costs. products geared for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are incor- One of the programs that requires a QAPP is the Surface Water Ambient Mon- porating techniques that make compliance easier for employees who must itoring Program (SWAMP), an extensive program that monitors many indicators classify documents for RM purposes. of water quality, including pH, presence of metals and bacteria through labora- CNG-SAFE is a document and records management solution from CNG tory analysis. To help grant applicants meet the proposal requirements, the direc- (cabinetng.com) geared toward SMBs. “Our customers typically are small tor of the program asked Instant Reference Sources (instantref.com) to develop insurance, medical and accounting firms that want an efficient way to man- an expert system that would lead applicants through the process of writing a QAPP. age their document repositories,” says Jim True, VP of business develop- Lawrence H. Keith, Ph.D., president of Instant Reference Sources, had used ment. Examples are: Corvid, a rule-based expert system from Exsys (exsys.com) in previous devel- ✦ Rick Nay Insurance Services (ricknayinsurance.com), which provides opment efforts, and selected it for this project as well. commercial insurance for trucks, and needed to manage its documents The SWAMP Advisor leads grant applicants through a series of questions and retain them for a specified time; derived from the water monitoring requirements. The screen displays the ✦ Zangmeister Center (zangcenter.com), a cancer care center that wanted to questions and, depending on the user’s answers, presents text that can be cut consolidate and manage patient records from multiple repositories; and and pasted into the QAPP. In addition, text and audio explanations of the ✦ Kirshon & Company (kirshoncpa.com), a small CPA firm that required regulations are provided. rules-based document retention and audit capabilities. “The SWAMP Advisor provides a QAPP for the project, and offers links CNG-SAFE has four retention classes: to relevant documents, forms and Web sites,” says Keith, who is a subject ✦ Modifiable: The schedule can be set or changed by the user, who selects the matter expert in analytical chemistry. “Corvid uses if/then statements to set interval from a list of options. up a decision tree. It’s an easy-to-use development tool.” ✦ Fixed: The schedule can be set or changed only by an administrator. Compliance is a good match for expert systems, according to Dustin Hunt- ✦ Indefinite: It is used in cases for which the start point of the retention ington, CEO of Exsys. “Many regulations can be put into rule form quite period is not known at the time the record is created. readily,” he says, “and in cases where there are gray areas, working out the ✦ Permanent: This sets a retention period that cannot be changed, and inconsistencies is
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