Damage management with workflow software: damage documented sensibly and digitally 

Annoying documentation obligation for occupational accidents or damages in the company 

If an accident at work occurs in a company, a great many parties immediately become involved. The data surrounding the accident must be recorded and the employers’ liability insurance association wants to be informed. Insurance companies and the works council often play a role here as well, and the accounting and human resources departments are informed about the accident. There is a great deal of documentation involved. In the interest of the employees, there is of course an obligation to keep these records conscientiously and to store all details of the incident.  

Another example is damage that occurs in public transportation or in hospitals. That the scissors are forgotten in the patient’s abdomen during an operation is the horror scenario suggested by movies and television. But nevertheless there are more frequent incidents in clinics. Errors by the doctors, broken glasses during surgery, such losses must also be recorded and put in writing. Often the loss or damage is reimbursed by an insurance company, but there are also cases where the whole thing goes to court. In such cases, deadlines must be met. For example, for the statement of defense or similar.

The status quo: How are claims usually documented? 

It is often the case that pdfs with instructions and forms are stored in a company platform such as Confluence. These are then printed out, filled out and filed in folders. There are obvious drawbacks to this process. Searching, printing and filling out the form is time consuming. Filing the documents in folders is prone to loss and time-consuming searching. Furthermore, cases may have deadlines, which are then mapped in the process with excel spreadsheets or reminders through calendars. Again, the proneness to error and lack of automation. One does not like to think what is going on in the legal department when deadlines could be missed or gaps in documentation occur. In most cases, the legal department is also the initiator in the search for a software-based solution to this challenge. In some cases, they already work with databases into which the cases are entered, but this often proves cumbersome because there is no workflow behind it. 

How can the claims management process be mapped digitally? 

Of course, you could say you store the pdfs digitally in cloud storage or on your own drive. However, this is not audit-proof and prone to man-made errors. That’s why you should turn to software here.  

Step 1: Implement a document management system 

More precisely, a document management system (DMS for short), in which documents are stored in an audit-proof manner and the exact access to the system can be set by assigning roles and rights. Here, uploaded and stored documents are assigned a version. If, for example, a damage sheet is edited, it is created as a new version so that it is possible to track exactly who added, deleted or changed what in the document and when. Furthermore, the documents are indexed so that they can be easily searched for. 

Step 2: Connecting the DMS to a digital workflow 

Of course, it’s good to have your documents stored digitally as a first step. However, there is much more potential here. Users can also enter the data that needs to be recorded for the case directly into the software via a web form and save it as a case, so that the data is available at all times. And here, too, the rights are adjusted according to the company’s structure and information regulations. This simplifies and speeds up searches, and data such as deadlines can be stored. These processes can be digitally handed over – like a case file – to colleagues following a workflow and rules. This can be setup by a workflow configurator. 

Step 3: Automation as the key to even more time savings  

If you already have all this data in one system, you can use it to make your work even easier. In hospitals, when a patient files a claim against the facility and the whole thing goes to court, there is often a need for correspondence. And usually the types of letters or documents are the same in all cases. A response or objection could be automatically created and emailed via document creation workflow software. This is done by entering the modifiable data into the system (or it is already entered), which then populates a template with this modifiable so-called metadata. Another example of automation that saves legal departments a great deal of time and, more importantly, grief is valid deadline management. For each case, one or more deadlines are stored and a date on which one wants to be reminded of the case for whatever reason. The case then remains in the background until the date entered is matched by the system and the process is placed on the digital “desk”. This way, you can immediately see which case you need to take care of. At best, one can also be reminded immediately by commenting on the incident. This is already a part of a Legal Tech Software. 

Do you have any questions about such a solution customized for you?

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